Archive for July, 2012

I should preface this by saying I’ve never met Romano, but it’s times like this that I feel caught up in the action of the moment so much that the guy must be family.

I support an organization called Make Way Partners. They are devout Christians, but not the type you would expect. They are not spending their lives evangelizing door-to-door passing out tracts and worrying about the best tablecloth for the church bake sale. The star of the organization is Kimberly Smith. She, along with her husband (Giant Manhood) have dedicated their lives to setting up and maintaining orphanages in Africa, primarily in Sudan. They provide food, shelter, and education for hundreds of children, many who have been orphaned by the numerous conflicts and highly oppressive regime in Khartoum. They minister by working to save lives in the worst parts of the world. Including Romania, but that’s a completely different story.

Now, one of the administrators of those orphanages is a gent named Romano.

So, Romano, in addition to caring for the needs of his own family, has dedicated his life to victims of the various conflicts in Sudan. Now, I can’t tell you a whole lot about Romano’s background, other than he is the administrator at Hope For Sudan, MWP’s orphanage.

Last week, he was driving from the orphanage to the Kenya/Sudan border to pick up a construction manager for the new school MWP is building on the grounds of the Hope For Sudan orphanage. The road he was traveling. The 25 KM (that’s how the rest of the world measures overland distance, but its about 15 miles for us American folk) stretch between the towns of Nadepal and Loki is Pirate’s Alley – and not the cool, Johnny Depp-style pirate. These guys are usually armed with AK-47s or SKS’s (the Chinese version of same) and just open up on anyone driving by. They kill and they loot like a video game. Except its real lives they affect.

So, at a river crossing, Romano is driving himself and several other people who didn’t have transportation (because real men serve others) when the vehicle ran into an ambush. Four gunmen in front, two gunmen in back. Now, Romano had hired security because almost no one travels on business without a security guard in that part of Sudan, or really, any other part of Sudan. Romano had a choice to make.

Like a boss, he gunned it and drove straight into the ambush. Recently, I spent a couple of weeks with a Ranger teaching basic combat tactics in a camp. One of the things we talked about was how to break an ambush. Short of having a whole platoon of Rangers at your back, the best defense is to crush the ambush and put them on the defensive. He did exactly that. His security guard, whom we’ll call Old Yeller on account of the fact that he was a complete coward, dropped his gun and tried to hide in the vehicle under the dash. Luckily, one of the other passengers (another guy with Giant Manhood) picked up Old Yeller’s gun and began returning fire. The ambushers ran and Romano and his party were on their way.

But this time, it was to an airfield. Romano was shot through the back, liver and other vital organs and was losing blood fast. With the help of the people in the truck, another orphanage director and a cast of several dedicated individuals, Romano was flown to Tenwek Airport (or really, a field near there, but that’s the closest landmark) and to a hospital. Romano, also “Like a boss,” held out and didn’t die on the way. Given the rate of his blood loss, lesser men with lesser wills would have given up and died. He didn’t.

Romano made it through surgery, ICU and is stable. So, I salute your manhood, Romano, as you are a paragon of what it means to be a champion. People count on you and you don’t back down. You’ve taken in the children abandoned by the world and made them yours. There may be bigger men than you, but not greater men.

Note: If you would like to donate to MWP to help their orphans, please visit THIS HERE LINK.

I’m introducing a new feature this week. I had planned this kind of profile and have been working on a few candidates, but Glenn here rose to the top by being in the news not once, but twice in recent months for showing that his head was firmly planted up his ass. Now, you might say that it’s easy to take potshots at a man who has his dome so deeply implanted in his rectum that he won’t see them coming, but stay with me and by the end of this rant, you’ll be urging me to kick the guy so hard his inner child will cry.

So Glenn’s made it to the Senate in Wisconsin, and we have all heard how well that’s going right? But that’s another story. Sort of. In the same way that Glenn wants to make sure voters basically show up with their Wisconsin home, a birth certificate, a note from their 3rd grade teacher and two witnesses just so that they can vote, he’s decided to become the champion of children in his state. 

But before that, let me tell you a couple of things about Glenn Grothman. Glenn is a bachelor, which likely won’t surprise you. He’s never been married and he’s never had children.

Yet, with his vast experience in marital bliss and childrearing, he’s decided that women who are physically abused by their husbands should remain married and that single moms are incapable of raising children. In fact, he says that just by being a single mom is tantamount to child abuse.

Seriously. No, really. Stop laughing.

Glenn has written in the past that he believes the government (you can find these links in the above article) is actively creating social programs that deter women from getting married. I can totally agree because all of the people who I’ve run into in the last year who wanted to get married decided to call it quits because the prospect of food stamps and some WIC vouchers were so much more attractive…ok, perhaps you can taste the sarcasm, but it does give us some insight into the vast, empty cavern that is Glenn Grothman’s mind. And this guy, believe it or not, is the Assistant Majority Leader in the Wisconsin Senate.

So, all of you moms out there, because hey, he specifically mentions you even though the law would require “the Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board to emphasize nonmarital parenthood as a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.” He said that fathers are the primary preventers of abuse and neglect in the home and without a father, children are subject to a life without structure and discipline.

So, I’d like to introduce you to my mother-in-law. 

In many ways she’s just awesome. Mostly for raising my wife. As a single mom. You see, my mother in law didn’t wait for a guy to pick up her wrecked life and right it. She didn’t lose all control of her household and she didn’t ignore her child so that she was neglected and abused. In fact, her daughter has three college degrees – the last of which was a Ph.D. How many people have that degree? Less than 2 percent of the educated public.That’s right, peeps – I married well.

Were things easy for them while my wife was growing from child to adult? No, her former husband left her destitute and with a child to raise because his manhood is just about as small as it could be. However, she knew she had a responsibility to that child. It was more than love; it was duty. So she worked long hours and remained with the same company so her daughter would have stability. She suffered through debilitating diseases that often kill others and still worked her ass off to make a life for the two of them.

This situation was created, by the way, by the father who then completely neglected his daughter. So in the very first case that rose to mind, this idea that men are the only champions of dignity and family is proven false. 

I have another friend who was raised by a single mom, grew up with incredible artistic talent in Photography and has been a wedding photographer (irony, no?) whose work has won multiple awards. Now, she is mental, but that’s for completely different reasons. My point is that these young women were not neglected by their parents – they were RAISED by them. We talk of parenting, but in many ways, the concept of “raising” a child, lifting them beyond where they are now to a greater height, has often been a concept I have seen in single-parent homes. Unlike the “razing” of children Glenn assumes is taking place across America. 

In his state, more than one-third of the households contain single parents. Many of these parents have never been married. That fact seems to escape Glenn. So this is an issue that has an effect on a large number of Glenn’s constituency. He should do something about it, but rather than demonizing the men and women who are trying to raise kids on their own, perhaps he should make it easier for them to find jobs, keep a home, get a tax break or find better education for their kids. I mean, when he’s not trying to tear down education.

To be fair to Glenn, who will likely have to visit his proctologist so that he can see again, (Headfromassectomy. In German, it’s largely unpronounceable, though I hear its a popular sex practice there. In Norwegian, it’s simply referred to as an “asshat.” Norway. So uncomplicated.) he’s got a long history with children and legislation. He wants to defund Kindergarten programs because they have no intrinsic educational value and believes that sex education shouldn’t be taught in school because teachers all have a gay agenda. 

In defence of men, we CAN be champions. We can stay with women when our relationships fail, if that’s a healthy choice. Many of us just walk away instead of choosing the hard road. In many instances, if we become the champion of women, not just the ones we are seeing romantically, but all women, I think we can avoid many of these problems. But to say that without us, women are essentially incapable of raising children “except under certain circumstances” as Glenn would have us believe, is just complete and utter crap.

Amazingly, Glenn and I do agree on something. I’d love to see everyone in two-parent homes. Not only do I think it’s better for the child, I think it takes some of the stress of the parents, as well, to have a partner to live with, to share highs and lows with and to share the challenge of raising children. Because that’s not a task you take lightly. It takes great big, sparkly, mirrored golden balls the size of musk oxen to raise children. So, for you women out there doing it on your own, I salute you for having the balls Glenn Grothman is clearly without.

In my beloved South, we’d simply say “Bless your heart, Glenn.” Which, if you didn’t guess, is Southern parlance for “Sorry your head is so far up your ass, sweetheart.” 

I spent the last year and then some leading a high school devotional group. These kids were awesome, as most kids are, and truly, I was the one getting the most out of our interactions. For that couple of hours each week, someone lent me their kids and trusted me with the responsibility of being their surrogate parent. That’s totally ok. We all do that to some degree – we use babysitters, youth leaders, camps, etc – to parent our children for a short time.

But a lot of you out there have abdicated parenting altogether.

What makes a real man? Sadly, it’s not just bacon consumption, knowledge of box scores or the ability to bench press a Volkswagen. It’s using your strength without using your strength. Think I’m pulling some Zen mindfreak on you? Nope, just noting that being a man is as much about responsibility as it is grunting and repairing cars.

I know this amazing woman. We’ll call her Guinevere, because, hey, I’m nothing if not literary. Anyway, Guinevere met her King Arthur and had two beautiful daughters. Then, for reasons completely between her and Arthur (I don’t think there was a Lancelot in the mix, but it would work really well with my analogy), they divided up Camelot. She got the castle and he went off to find his Grail. Now, the King gets to see his princesses on weekends. It’s not the greatest arrangement, sure, but its an arrangement. Problem is, the King is busy looking for the next Guinevere. Or Lancelot. Or whatever, but he rarely spends the whole weekend with his girls.

And we wonder why the women we date have “Daddy” issues.

Now, this is not to say that Guinevere is not the greatest mom ever, because I think she’s doing a damn fine job. Also, the fact that she’s wonderful, gorgeous, and …why the hell doesn’t she have a boyfriend? Because most of you are too blind to see the incredible woman since you are staring at the kids in the picture. Which is sort of ok, I guess, because if you aren’t ready to be the main man in those girls’ lives, don’t entertain the job and waste everyone’s time.

But back to Arthur – he’s an idiot. Now, I am sure that Guin would tell me he’s great and fine and all, but I just don’t care. I’ve already pre-judged him because he’s not really tuning in to his daughters’ lives. And that’s going to suck for them now and him in the future when his failure to parent rises up in the relationships they attempt to have.

Women. Need. Fathers. Just like sons need us to help them develop their perspective on masculinity, little women learn from their fathers how big women should be treated. When that is absent, it’s likely going to be a point of contention when they become big women themselves.

What does it take to be a father? BALLS. The size of sea turtles.

I have another friend (Yay, friends!) who is in the process of a messy divorce that involves the wife leaving, drugs, guns, weasels and all sorts of stuff. We’ll call him Dweezil. Dweez has a daughter from this marriage and has spent the last several months trying to insure that she was taken care of throughout the divorce. She spent time with mom until it was discovered that the daughter was living in scary conditions in a scary residence. The little girl had been staying with her grandparents during the day while Dweezil worked.

Since the separation, Dweezil has been doing what he has been doing since his daughter was born – spending time with her. He works three jobs, seven days a week so that they can survive and possibly have a future. When he’s at work, the grandparents have the girl. When he comes home, he showers and spends time watching TV and drinking beer. No, just kidding – he spends as much time with his daughter as he can before she hits the sack. He’s the one that sees to her bath each night. He’s the one putting her to bed, reading her stories and telling her that he loves her. To her, there is no greater person in the world.

That’s what it means to be a man. That’s the definition of strength – that after hours at work, you come home and still can put on a smile and genuinely interact with daughter. Or son. My father was amazing. He spent a lot of time with me. He never called it “spending time with me.” He just did it. He loved me. And he was critical in shaping me as a man.

I’m not minimizing the role of the mother here, just emphasizing the role of the man.

While we temporarily give up custody of our children in the situations mentioned at the beginning of this rant, we don’t give up being a parent. And it’s not my responsibility to raise your child or deal with the issues that arise when you don’t take parenting seriously. I’m not speaking to all parents. Women, you have to get your crap together on your own. For you gents out there, wake the hell up. You can’t just walk away from your daughter when she’s five and crying in the kitchen and seriously think that the world is just going to pick up the slack. You created that kid and you should thank your lucky stars that God deemed you worthy of being a parent. I’m not saying you have to become a soccer mom, but I am saying that you have to invest time. You have to BE there. Because if you aren’t, that child will find another father. A father who might manifest as drugs, careless sex, destructive behavior or simply someone with different values than you.

I’m calling you out. Because if you are Arthur, you’re a big honkin’ moron and deserve to be driven from the kingdom while hungry ferrets gnaw on your dangly bits. That’s why my manhood, and the manhood of all men like me, will always be bigger than yours.

Stay frosty, men. Because women want you.

Apparently, this is news to us – that women have any kind of sex drive whatsoever. I know it was a huge discovery for me when I found out I was the product of sex and it really altered my view of my parents. Because if there were two people on the planet I deemed least likely to gettin’ it on, it was Mom and Dad. Luckily, my perception of their love life never bothered them, and they went right on with the lovin’ until after 38 years of marriage, Dad passed away. He was a man’s man, that man.

The fact that women are just as likely to be interested in making the beast with two backs is not news, though from the hype over book series like “50 Shades of Grey” and the male strippapalooza “Magic Mike,” we’re treating this as if women have just awoken from a 2000-year-old coma because they heard the jangling of bondage chains and g-strings.

Yet there’s not much difference between the female creature and me when I was a about 14 years old. Back then, we didn’t speak openly of thing like “Mommy Porn,” the new nomenclature for books like “50 Shades.” We just had regular porn. Most of it, at least for teen boys, was rooted in magazines like Playboy and Penthouse and 40-year-old sex manuals our fathers kept around. (Yep, believe it or not, there was tons of sex – with women, even! – during World War II). For me, the best cache of pictures of naked women (or nekkid women, for you Louis Grizzard fans) was located in my neighbor’s garage. Luckily for me, he kept his garage open and it gave me the chance to go all ninja and make off with magazines from his seemingly vast collection of “Gentlemen’s magazines.” Because, after all, only Gentlemen had the right to look at naked women and entertain the prospect of having sex with them. I entertained a lot of prospects in those formative years.

That said, I don’t think viewing such things scarred me for life. It did, however, give me unrealistic expectations when it came to making the transition to having actual sex. In some of these magazines, women were depicted in word, deed and pictorial as lust-hungry co-eds who basically spent every day seeking to serve my every desire. Yet, we know, clearly, from just about every teen movie ever made that things like that don’t happen, right? They don’t. If you get your hopes up that raiding that Sorority house will lead you to some magical land of pillow fights that end up with you and sixteen sisters getting it on, I’m here to burst that bubble. Stop sniffling, bro. Time to keep it real.

Which is what these movies and books don’t do. They depict people in situations that we desire in our fantasy lives. We can be very different people inside our minds than we are on the outside, and what stimulates us sexually in the fantasy realm does not necessarily stimulate us in the realm of reality. I’ve seen a number of good Christian women stand up and call out “Magic Mike” and “50 Shades” as trash and declare it to be nothing more than their gender’s counterpart to internet porn. While I cannot personally make that kind of mental long-distance jump, I get their point. If they are going to stand up and declare the visual degradation of women harmful to their men, they cannot turn around and take a front-row seat at a movie about male strippers and have any footing to stand on.

Most of these same women have suggested that they simply put “a little more time into their marriage,” which is admirable. You’ll never find me telling Christian women – or any women for that matter – not to spend more time sweating and moaning with their husbands. But I think it has to go far beyond that. We have to recognize that sex is not a bad thing, and we have to avoid telling our kids that it is. Sure, we don’t want little Jenny coming home preggers at 16, but we don’t want little Jenny freezing up in the bedroom when she’s 24 and married. We want her to be happy.This means we need to have rather frank conversations about sex with the young folk. Couch it however you like and interject your own morals on the issue, but there should be a huge amount of time talking about how to communicate with your lover. In the same way that we screw up marriages over a lack of communication about finances, we screw up marriages because both partners are afraid to address sexual issues at home. Which leads to Magic Mike or 50 Shades. Or affairs. Or all of the above.

Listen, I’m not implying that watching Magic Mike is going to make your wife of seven years hit the streets looking for a new Casanova with a rigid six-pack, but I am saying that if there’s a strong desire to look for desire outside of the bedroom, there may be an issue and it needs to be confronted. Now. Not later. Because later is when you and your divorce attorney are going over all the things you could have done to save the marriage.

Women are a lot like bacon, and you KNOW how much we like bacon! (Spouse: I don’t think of you as bacon, but I’m relating to men here, not chicks, so I’m working the visual angle. Love, me.) So now you’re asking, “Mark, how can I get a woman made of bacon?” You’re getting ahead, so slow down there, Turbo. There are lots of types of bacon and pretty much no one cooks it the same way. Some like it with lots of fat, some like it nice and lean. (See the metaphor evolving?) Some like Fatback, some like Center-cut, some like hickory-smoked and some like pre-cooked, wrapped bacon. At the end of the day, what type of bacon and how you cook it is irrelevant, save to you and the bacon. If you don’t keep an eye on your bacon, it burns. If you don’t keep an eye on your relationship, YOU are going to get burned. You spent a lot of time over the years cultivating your love of bacon just as you spent a fair amount of time wooing your spouse. Woo your bacon. Woo your spouse. The wooing shouldn’t stop just because you have her in the frying pan. Ok, maybe the bacon analogy has dragged on a bit far, but you hopefully see the point. You have to talk about sex with your bacon…er, your wife. And you need to be willing to trying things in the bedroom that may seem unlike what you have experienced previously. At the end of the day, your sex life belongs to you and her. It doesn’t involve anyone else (unless you are polyamorous. If so, we think you people are just plain greedy, but you probably have your issues under control.) but you and the woman. Or man, depending on your flow.

Sex increases mental agility, is a cardiovascular workout, reduces stress and makes us feel good. Ok, it makes us feel awesome, but that’s not the point. Or really, it is the point. We have done a lot in our society to make sex a bad thing. It can be, if used in an unhealthy way. We’ve all seen too many episodes of “To Catch A Predator” not to understand that sex can lead down some dark roads. But that’s a huge debate about the dark nature of humanity rather than a frank conversation about sex with your spouse. A great deal of that is the connection with your partner. Sound like BS? Trust me, that deep connection with the person you love makes for great sex. Or don’t trust me. There’s only like a thousand or so studies out there backing me up on this. Men, even we can drop our inner Neanderthal for a moment and have a deep emotional connection with our spouses. And that’s what we need to be seeking in our lives. A real relationship. How do I know? Besides being married to the same woman for 16 years? Because I totally found a page in the Chick Manual and let me tell you, it was instructive. Here’s the skinny:

1. The more you put into a relationship, the more it will benefit you by default.

2. The more time you spend with her, talking with her, relating to her, the more she will want to be around you.

3. The more she thinks you dig her, the more likely she will be in the mood for sex with you.

4. The little things you do to surprise her – like flowers on a non-holiday – or even a little note telling her she’s beautiful, go a long way in the relationship bank. The more full that bank gets, the more she will want to have sex with her husband.

5. The more time you invest into communicating with her about her desires and making her feel great in the bedroom will result in you finding that she’s doing the same.

CAMBO

Posted: 07/06/2012 in Uncategorized


I thought I would pass this along for anyone interested. Cambo is a program dedicated to helping men realize their roles as protectors of women who have been victimized. It’s an extension of Transitions Global, an internationally-focused rescue and rehabilitation organization that runs a tight, squared-away ship. Headed by a former U.S. Marine (Sniper – how badass is that?) and his lovely wife, the two have developed a program that engages men in the process of protection, service and restoration. It’s a program that’s just beginning and it’s something I’ve wanted to see for a long time. Most survivor-focused operations usually only involve women, which makes sense considering almost every one of the victims was tormented by a male. And most of that torment was sexual in nature, so its generally not something a 16-year-old girl feels like opening up about to a man. Check them out at http://www.transitionsglobal.org. Send them some spare cash.