Random Family Observations on Family and Gender

Mrs S was backing her Camry out of her coveted spot in a Synagogues High Holidays parking lot. During the holidays any parking spot within in a mile of the shul is coveted.

It was my job to alert her if she was going to hit something. But, shock of all shocks, I found myself distracted. I was trying to calculate the delta between the value of my wife’s car and the new BMW she was about to back into. Strangely fascinating for some reason, and probably a significant gap in value, I’m guessing somewhere in the neighborhood of $73.5, $75K for the Beemer $1.5K for her 1997 Toyota Camry. That includes the $.5k for the new snow tires and rims that we just bought for it. BTW new lock tight, easy change rims that when asked at dinner last night by a friend “what are they for?” I answered “they’re a way for tire stores to build margin and sales dollars when housewives come in and ask about snow tires.”

Funny what distracts me, right after I said that I was distracted by Mrs S calling me something bad. Good thing we were with friends, or as I liked to think of them last night “witnesses”. “Have another glass of wine pumpkin”.

Good news is she didn’t hit the car, she saw it, no thanks to me mind you, and was able to avoid the collision. What a great way to kick off the new year with the family, ignoring my wife’s requests.

Speaking of rims, it’s never too early to start thinking about swapping out snow tires. Said the guy sitting on the porch writing this piece when it’s 82 degrees the Twin Cities. I think we might have a couple weeks or so before we have to start thinking about winter weather around here.

I had planned to go to the lake this weekend. This is the time of year when I make lots of plans to go to the lake but actually cash in on almost none of them. I feel like I haven’t been home in a while and since I had to come back early anyway for a friend’s wedding party tomorrow meh…

Mrs S was asking what we should get the 50 something year old newlyweds who have been living together for 5 years or so, and whom were married previously. [Not to each other, just to be obvious] I’m a great gift giver, Mrs S not so much. She takes too long to pull the trigger on gifts. Analysis paralysis. I’m a pick and go kinda guy.

“So what should we get them?”

“Lets gett’m a fantasy basket from Fantasy Gifts (allegedly the local “marital aids” store). I think gett’m some oils and gels and a few small appliances would be a great gift that they wouldn’t buy for themselves.”

Silence.

More silence punctuated by indignation. Feigned indignation mind you, the very best kind.

First of all I am not a pig, I’m a normal 51 year old dude who is not quite dead yet. Close but not room temperature.

And what she might ask, and did ask, would I do if I got a gift like that from friends? Well I’d laugh, I’d pretend to be embarrassed, I’d close the box as soon as I opened it and remark how funny and clever everyone was and move on. And I’d put the box aside ignore it while my guests were around. BUT and this is a big but, I guaran-damn-tee-ya my heart of hearts would be high fiving my personal libido button about right then. Just thinking about trying out that massage oil that bursts into flames when you blow on it.. man, I’ve read about stuff like that and now here it is.

Homecoming at the Casa Del Sank-A-Ray this weekend. The daughter is going. I was not consulted, or conciliated. I guess that had I been consulted I would have to have been conciliated because I would have said “Nyet”. Hate dances, hate big teen events, hate socializing. Waste of time and money. Unfortunately my frugal relationship burning ways did not get passed on to the girl. And there’s this issue that Mrs S is down to her very last couple chances to get a kid all spit shined and polished up for pictures and an event. Boys never went to a dance. Hell they never went on a date that I know off. Fact is one’s 23 and ones 20 and as far as I know, the streak remains intact.

This homecoming thing has already cost me in hair appointments, which Mrs S assures me are like $12.00. Probably less since I’m told that’s the amount she tells me her monthly cut and color costs. Girl don’t need no coloring. Great Clips is like $10.00 last time I checked. Last haircut I paid for BTW… $8.00 in 1992. I digress. Dress came from Kohls so I know it was cheap. In every way mind you.

“Hey Dad want to see my outfit for the dance?”

“Sure” I never get included in anything around here.

She came down and showed it to me.

“What do you think Dad?”

“Uh, where’s the rest of it?”

Eye roll, the female exhale of indignation, blah blah blah..

The disembodied voice from Mrs S up in her room on the feinting couch.. ’cause if she don’t get her chill time in, it’s hell for all.

“Why did you bother to ask him?”

“‘Cause he things we don’t include him in anything.”

“He’s whining”

Blah blah blah

But you know, I hadda make a point “I can HEAR YOU GUYS”.

Which apparently is really funny to Mrs S because I can’t hear anything else she says.

Which is why I have a man cave, where it looks like I’ll be hiding out this weekend.

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Weekend Update

Lake weekend. Not the best lake weekend I’ve had in a while. Motor problems.

New battery? Apparently not the answer, motor wouldn’t even click. @!#@T#%

Rider Mower.. started fine, I ran over something on the lawn and… dead.

As they say, deader’n shit.

All told the stupid thing is 12 years old. 12 years with narry an oil change and never a new spark plug to speak of, so you get what’s coming to you I suppose. Let’s face facts shall we, I don’t know shit about motors. I don’t want to start throwing ethnic stereotypes out there but they are they what they are. When my people have issues with small engines, big engines, siding or anything else, well… we pick up the phone and call someone. In rural Polk County, I’m just not sure who to call, help is a little sketchy.

Weather wasn’t conducive to boating and fishing, too windy. It was conducive to drinking beer on the deck as the temps were nice, and the fall colors are just starting. Another week 10 days or so and we’ll be in the full glory of Minnesota fall, glorious. We’re planning a few trips with dear friends to take in the fall colors, look for some update on this very site.

On the more spiritual side, this weekend is Slichot on Jewish calendar. The Shabbat that kicks off the Days of Awe aka the High Holidays. On Wednesday night and Thursday Morning we’ll be at the Shul for the Rosh Hashanah.

Rosh Hashanah, in Hebrew “The Head of the Year” aka the Jewish New Year. This is the first day of the seventh month, which according Actually there technically 4 new years observances in the Jewish calendar, but this is the biggie. Like the secular new year, Rosh Hashanah is a time for reflection and resolutions. According to tradition Rosh Hashanah is the day when G-d opens the Sefer Chaim, the Book of Life and decides the fate of all Jews for the coming year. Who will have a good year, or a bad one, who will live and who… will not. The tradition continues that during the 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur it’s possible to temper G-ds decision through prayer and repentance. My personal favorite teaching around this time, repentance from G-d is easy. Pray and ask for forgiveness. Repentance from people whom you’ve wronged or mistreated, for that you have to go to those people and ask forgiveness. That’s a lot tougher than praying, believe me.

And following the High Holidays we have the Jewish Thanksgiving, Sukkot and a few other minor holidays and then back to normal.

Speaking of Sukkot, I’m thinking I need to bring back the building of the sukkah tradition here the Casa Del Sankary. We lapsed on this after the kids got older and went off to school. The Oldest in Israel has a spiffy new pad in Haifa with a small yard, he’ll be building one, as will literally every one of his neighbors. I however, will need some help. I have no kids to assist with the design and construction. So, I’m trowing this out to my local blog friends- we’re doing to do this Amish style. If you’re local and interested in making a MItzvhah or like to drink Three Buck Chuck- respond here. Sukkah raising and meet the blogger = wine provided on Sunday Oct 5th. BTW Designs welcome.

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Trouble at Home

Mrs S is up in arms at the moment. For all my ranting and raving about the NFL these days, she’s about 10X as upset. She’s entirely focused on one thing; the abuse issues. We were watching some TV on Saturday and ad featuring and NFL player came on. I don’t remember what the ad was for, but it featured the guy working out, strength training etc in order to become big and strong so.. and this is where the voice next to me muttered “I can go home and beat up my girlfriend.”

If Mrs S is even a little bit close to the general opinion of women in this country, the NFL has a problem.

And timing being everything yesterday afternoon, having a shitload of freetime on Sundays now as I observe my NFL Boycott I sat down to watch a movie: “Kadosh”. Kadosh is an Israeli film about two sisters who are part of an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect living in Jerusalem. When we were there this summer we happened to take a bus that took us through Mea Sharim, where the folks who put the “Ultra” in Ultra live. And like any religious fanatics they basically have no tolerance for anyone outside of their circle who doesn’t share their exact beliefs. Think Mullah in Iran.

The story is about how these two women relate to their surroundings. The older sister has been married to son of the sects Rabbi for 10 years. In these Hassidic groups the Rabbi is all sense a dictator who’s word is law for the group. What he says goes. And in this case the couple are deeply in love but childless. And the dudes father is more or less ordering his son to divorce his wife. Reason? Because “a daughter of Israel has one role, to have children, to raise them, to cook for her husband and free up his time in order that he may follow G-d’s commandments and study Torah.” Not to mention the comment that “A childless woman is neither dead nor alive” and finally “a woman’s only joy comes from raising her children it’s all G-d has made for her.” You get the picture. For his part the husband, tries talking his father out of his decree, mentioning that Sarah was barren and Abraham didn’t abandon her, citing verse after verse about a man clinging to his wife, to no avail.

Never once a mention that the cause of infertility could be either or.

The gal, Rivkah, goes to the doctor, for what we think is the first time, and learns that according to all the tests, you guessed it, she’s fully capable of getting pregnant. The next step in process if for her husband to submit a sample because, as the doctor explains “it takes two”. And as she’s saying this the doctor looks at the woman and remarks that “which is never going to happen since your husband wouldn’t dream of participating, not to mention you could be in trouble just for being here..” Anyways about this point in the movie Mrs S had come downstairs as was watching, I was watching and doing some translating, which is hard when I’m not that good at it, the subtitles were unreadable and my audience was getting more and more angry as the scene unfolded. “WHAT’D SHE SAY WHAT’D SHE SAY..” Can you picture it yet?

Cheryl had commented when were in Jerusalem just how downtrodden and sad the women wearing headscarves and crappy wigs looked on the street, wearing head to toe coverings in 90 degree weather stringing 7 kids at time along with them. “You know these gals are in the same boat as the hajib wearing honeys”.

I new it was coming but at some point the “Men” word came out and it wasn’t in the most flattering way.

Well, to seal the deal the other sister is in love with a secular guy, but is being forced into marriage with a man she doesn’t love, the price of that relationship is having contact with all of her friends and family by staying in the sect. Her other is martial happiness but being outcast, shunned if you will, Amish style from the sect. She chooses marriage and we get to watch her wedding, she walks around her husband 7 times proclaiming her fidelity, obedience and her happiness and being at his feet, all the while she’s sobbing away while the men dance in their corner of the shul. We see her cutting her hair, Hassidic women are not allowed to show their hair after they’re married, except to their husbands. Something about being to sensual blah blah. So many women shave their heads and wear a wig. Typically a bad wig BTW. Or they wear a scarf or head cover that completely covers every strand on their heads. There’s the wedding night scene which is basically a sanctioned rape and a scene where she tries to talk to her husband about her sister and is totally ignored.

In the end Rivka leaves her husband as asked and takes a small room somewhere, the other sister steps out on her husband with her original love and winds up being beaten with a belt when she gets home and goes to live with her sister and this little uplifting tale comes to a close. Actually it’s a really really good movie, I think it won a Palm D’Or at Cannes. Sad to say it’s a pretty accurate view into the cloistered world of Hassidism.

But on a more practical matter it also caused a palpable sense of doom to enter into my quiet little household. Mrs S was fuming. About all she’d say was “men” and “you’re one”. Between the NFL and Hassidic Jewish lifestyles I thing she went on overload. Anti-man overload.

And then she set the bait- “you need to be a better example to your brethren dude”.

Which I took by saying “I’m a great example”. And boom it was game on. No one like to hear that that things are good when they’re in the middle of complaining about how they aren’t. My faults were; my NFL boycott hasn’t caught on meaning all my make friends are scum and I used too much garlic in the babagaounsh I made Sunday. Luckily her anger only lasted through a glass of Two Buck Chuck but still to be indicted with an entire gender, does that seem fair? “You want to see what an uncaring husband looks like? I’m going to watch another episode of the League on Netfllix and I’m not going to give a rats ass if you’re down here in front of the TV or not. HAH”. “You wouldn’t dare.” “Watch me!”

The problem with play fighting I used to tell the kids is someone always winds up crying. And this time it was me. Again.

But in hindsight if this is the worst of our issues, I’ll think we’ll be OK.

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The Latest Minnesota Sports Hero Fail

I had a conversation this weekend about Adrian Peterson with a good friend of mine. He made a very profound comment that Adrian Peterson has to have some sort of flaw in his character somewhere. He’s one of the NFL’s leading stars and yet he has no endorsement deals to speak off. Conjecture is he either has something in his past that we don’t know about but would be embarrassing for sponsors or he’s not very bright. Personally I’m leaning towards the latter.

I’ve heard from more than few friends who have made some comments about how Adrian Peterson was just doing what their parents were doing when they were kids. No big deal after all. One friend made the comment that his Dad would have been arrested a few times over after raising four boys.

I have to assume that my friends aren’t privy to the details of this case. Adrian Peterson beat his kid with a switch, and beat him like dog. He left open wounds on the kid’s thighs and buttocks. There were burses on the kids back, damage to his scrotum. There were also defensive wounds on the child’s hands. The damages to the child’s legs were consistent with the “switch” whipping around the child’s leg and causing damage on the other side of his leg. Evidence says this ripped professional athlete chose to whip on a 4 year old boy repeatedly. This isn’t child rearing, this either straight up abuse or a parent who is too lazy and to try to engage in real child rearing. Spanking is lazy parenting. Beating a 4 year old with stick, something else entirely. This is 2014. Any adult who needs a switch to “get through” to a 4 year old, is either stupid or an abusive psychopath. I’m thinking Peterson is the former, which gives him the benefit of the doubt.

Did I mention that the boy is 4 years old?

FOUR.

I would also point out that the child refers to Adrian as “daddy Peterson”. Leads me to believe that the boy doesn’t have much more than a biological connection to the kid. Daddy Peterson apparently has a more than few kids around the country, this event took place in Texas at Peterson’s home in Houston. The newspaper made it sound like the kid had been arguing with other kids at the house. How many kids does he have? Even Adrian Peterson may not know exactly.  Peterson’s kids were in the news in 2013 when one of them was killed in South Dakota by the abusive boyfriend of one of his kid’s mom’s. Peterson didn’t know about or meet the kid until he was in the hospital dying. When asked on ESPN how many kids he had, Peterson refused to answer. Not exactly a star father.

This whole situation really lends itself to the issue with the NFL that I’ve been railing against for the last year. I’m sorry to say, it’s the fans. The fans who are willing to look past any player indiscretion for their teams have helped enable the NFL to look past these issues. Remember despite the economic power of the league, it’s the fans who watch the games, pay for tickets, play fantasy football, and vote for referendums and politicians who use their tax dollars to pay for their palaces.

I draw the line on the AP case. This guy took a stick to a 4 hour year and wailed on him repeatedly, and then acted like this was supposed to be normal child rearing, just like little corrective swat on the butt.

Thankfully the Vikings did the right and disqualified him from Sunday’s game. Peterson could well wind up in jail, and given the NFL’s recent black eye with the Ray Rice case, I don’t see them doing much to protect Adrian.

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I am DONE with the NFL

Deja vu… A few years ago I wrote a piece about being a Penn State and specifically a Joe Paterno fan. And how after years of being the “good guy” in college sports, Joe I could not longer support him and his looking away while his assistant coach was raping kids in the football showers.

And here I am again, with similar feelings about the same sport, with a few different circumstance.

This time, its the NFL.

Let me go on the record as saying I am, without question a huge fan of football. I have been an NFL fan since I was 8 years old. I remember being in the 3rd grade at good old Tully C Knoles Elementary school in Stockton California and getting my very first piece of official NFL licensed apparel, a beautifully knit black and silver (silverish aka grey since silver isn’t really a color that you can pull off in yarn) Oakland Raiders hat. A few years later I had an Oakland Raiders jacket, a few years after that I attended my very first NFL game with Dad. Seats were $7.00, that would be about $25 today. You couldn’t touch a ticket to Jerry’s Palace in Dallas for less than $150.00, not to mention the $100 in parking.

That day we saw Kenny Stabler and Oakland Raiders at the Oakland Coliseum, they were playing the Miami Dolphins. My heroes back then were Freddy Biletnikoff, The Snake, Pete Banaszak, Dave Casper and Ray Guy, arguably the best punter in the history of the game.

When the Raiders moved to LA I was heartbroken, thankfully the 49ers were there to take their place and keep the Super Bowl rings coming the Bay Area. In Minnesota I’ve watched the Vikings on and off over the years, although frankly they’re a little frustrating between the off field antics (boat ride anyone) and crappy play.

However as of this year, I’m done.

Finis.

I’m going to make every attempt to not watch one minute of NFL football intentionally.

Why?

I was pissed when old Roger Goodell and the NFL Hype Machine rolled into Minnesota and leveraged to extort $500M from the taxpayers of Minnesota to pay for a new stadium. Threatned to leave town. Our politicians caved like kids, forget that we had no way to pay for it..

Then we learned that the $400M that Ziggy WIlf, Vikings owner was “investing” from his own personal wealth was in fact being entirely paid for and more in naming rights, seat licenses etc, to the tune of $477M. That’s why Ziggy’s rich and I’m not, he things strategically.

I just wish he would be honest and come clean about building a business on public subsidies and hometown fans pocketbooks.

Frankly it would have been more honest if the NFL and the WIlfs would have taken the entire stadium costs and made their fans and TV viewers pay for it instead of spreading the bill across the entire state.

I was even more pissed when the Star Tribute broke the story on the NFL’s deal with the Minneapolis, the deal that “won” us the Superbowl. In case you missed it:

  • $10M in tax rebates
  • Free police escorts for all NFL Owners and their entourages.
  • Free presidential suites in local hotels, for the same bunch of poor owners who can’t afford their own hotel bills.
  • A requirement for “NFL-preferred ATMs” throughout the venue and in a 1 mile radius. (with the NFL cashing in on transaction fees)
  • Free billboards promoting the game around the Twin Cities.
  • New Cell Phone towers incase signals are strong enough around the hotels and venues.
  • 35,000 free parking spaces.. (holy shit the NFL has a lot of friends)
  • Hotels that want to house the teams are required to televise the NFL Network for one year prior to the game at no cost to the League.

Blah blah blah….

I’m not sure how this is a win for the City of Minneapolis in anyway shape or form. More like a dry prison rape if you ask me.

Then I was furious when Roger Goodell and the NFL attempted to justify the NFL’s tax exemption status by claiming that they are a “non-profit”. Now we’re talking arrogance on par with medieval Popes and Kings.

At that point I was done with the NFL and started my one man boycott.

There were a few other things also-

The concussions,

And the substance abuse.

And the punks- who can forget when another Baltimore Ravens Ray, I’m referring to legend Ray Lewis, was charged with murder in the stabbing deaths of two people in Atlanta in 2007. Charges were dropped when he agreed to testify against this accomplices. Ray won SuperBowl MVP the next year bless his heart.

Or how about New England Patriots serial killer Aaron Hernandez.

Steroids fueled anger? Who knows.

The list goes on and on.

And then when the Ray Rice issue broke and Roger Goodell basically tried to ignore it until the release of a video forced him to change his tune.. Really Roger?  Frankly it looked to me like he was more upset that the video came out than to be aghast at one of his players knocking a woman out cold… By then I had no more anger, I honest had to laugh, this league is one huge bad joke.

Just to put this in perspective, remember William Aramony, the disgraced chairman of the NFL’s biggest charity partner the United Way? He had some indiscretions with a 22 year old, misuse of funds etc. Small potatoes compared to the NFL issues. He was fired and he went to prison. As he should have.

If Target or Wells Fargo or any other company in the Twin Cities was accused of running a floating bordello on Lake Minnetonka, heads would roll and public outrage would be vitriolic.

But this is the NFL. This is football. We Americans are willing to look the other way when the occasional indiscretion is publicized or our hero’s behave badly. We like watching football, we’re passionate about our games. And for our loyalty and devotion how are rewarded?

With more indiscretions, more egregious violations of decency and good behavior, and we are asked to pay more and more of our own hard earned dollars to subsidize the massive billion dollar buildings these billionaire owners want to have so they can entertain their friends and associates.

And until we as a public, take a stand and stop supporting this league with our dollars, our eyeballs, and our attention nothing will change. 

Fans are the only people who this league will listen too, and their the people the politicians will listen too. Make yourself heard folks.

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Evidence of my Imminent Decline

Nice long walk with Mrs S around Pike Island at Fort Snelling State Park. Pike Island is where the not so mighty Mississippi and Minnesota rivers come together. Nice spot for a walk. My day sort of went to hell, mostly thanks to my own incompetence. 

Since I’m traveling next week I wanted to put some food away in the fridge for the family to eat while I’m gone. If I don’t do that they get in the trash and start knowing on garbage. Bad scene. 

So like a good steward of the family meals I make a few things before I go, put them in the fridgey and hope for the best. 

The plan was to cook some dinners, should have taken about an hour or so, go up to the St. Paul’s north side for a book signing, then a walk with Mrs S. 

Problem, to cook to meals took 5 trips to the store. 

4 gawd damned trips to pick up stuff I forgot. 

No list this week. Part of the problem. 

Called an audible on one of the meals, that was the problem. Can’t be changing ideas when I’m in the store, I will forget stuff. In this case I forgot lots of stuff, or rather assumed that I had it home. 

The thing that sucks ass about grocery shopping- getting interviewed about every item I bought duplicates off. Triplicate, I’m ok with getting feedback, duplicates… 

Made me so paranoid I stopped buy stuff if I had any thought that I might have one at home. Which is how I came home today sans onions, garlic powder and enchilada sauce. Sad thing is, the way I assemble the dish I punted on, there’s some gap between adding each of these ingredients which means, I could still be pretty comfortable thinking I had some enchilada sauce as I was back at the store picking up onions. 

Which means by the time I got to the last ingredient cheese, which I also thought I had a ton of but in fact had none… I was feeling some frustration in my heart.

And for the record why doesn’t that daughter of mine drive yet, she’s 17 years old. By the time her broski’s were 17 they were running tons of little errands for me to the local coop and grocery store. Shit I cudda used some kid servants today. 

Next week I’m back in Redlands California enjoying 80’s and 90’s. While Mrs S here in Minnesota gets to enjoy fall. 

Ug…

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Rochester MN

Greetings from Southern Minnesota.

Rare Saturday post here, typically I don’t much work on Saturday, but who said this was work?

Well, I have to be honest, I may have said it a few times to justify not writing much here….

In my constant search for “places I could” live Rochester it at the very very top of my list. By my way of thinking it’s the perfect small town for me.

  1. It’s relatively small, 100K now.
  2. It’s loaded with smart people, between the massive Mayo clinic that has taken over the entire downtown and the IBM facility here… there’s a lot of people who are whole lot smarter than I am.

    Sankary Axiom #1 “Surround yourself with people smarter than you are, makes you smarter.”

  3. Nice downtown
  4. Lots of coffee shops.
  5. HyVee markets.

We’re here to attend a wedding. Wedding was list night, rare Friday afternoon wedding of some dear friends of our daughters. It was a lovely lovely affair. Made me think.. wow we’re on the cusp of going to a lot of these things, we have a bunch of friends with kids who are getting to this age. More ties. That kinda sucks. My next has recovered from 26 years of tie wearing at Target. Glad that I’m not doing that anymore. Last wedding I went to I wore shorts. I asked about wearing shorts this time. Set the weekend of on a bit of sour note. Mrs S can be so inflexible.

The reception was out a country club in town. Really swell affair… started thing more about kids and weddings and had the epiphany that I have kids who might be getting married in the next few years.

Caused me to break out in a cold sweat. Holy shit I can’t even imagine how much organization and planning Mrs S will have to go through to get something like this pulled off. You should see how much planning goes into one of her little burger parties. Planning one of these events could take years. YEARS of estrogen driven planning and organizational craziness.

Sankary kids, the elopement bribe went up $25K. We’ll talk.

Have to leave with this joke, I don’t typically share jokes, but I have to as this one was so funny.

“What did one saggy boob say to the other saggy boob?”

“We better straighten up or they’re going to thing we’re nuts”.

Ba-dum dum..

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