Two Girls Are Best

My last post for Man of the House is about a study that said the family configuration that results in the "happiest" family was two girls. As this happens to be the configuration of my own happy family, I had some thoughts of my own.

My editor changed what I originally wrote a bit, replacing my final paragraph with another. I still like mine better, so I thought I'd include it here:

I can't say what it's like to have more than two kids and I definitely don't know what it's like to be the father of a boy, but having two girls is pretty great. Before we had our second daughter I used to say to people that we had the first child for us, and the second child for our first. And while there is some truth to that, the older they get I'm realizing that it's the dynamic between the two that makes everything in our family more fun. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Are Two Daughters the Key to a Happy Family?  [manofthehouse.com]

The Best Diaper Bags for Dads - An Update


One of the more popular topics on Modern Day Dad has been diaper bags for Dads. There are a lot of Dads (or Dads-to-be) that want to find a diaper bag that does the job while still looking like it belonged on a man. Actually it was one of the reasons I started writing about being a Dad in the first place. But even though my kids are beyond diapers now (thankfully), I realized I haven't done an update in a while so I wrote one up for Man of the House.

Unfortunately, the bag I used for years and still love the "Dad Field Bag" from Jack Spade is no longer being made. However I was able to find some good alternatives, from the venerable Diaper Dude, to the innovative Dad Gear to the still-awesome Skip Hop. I also found a beautiful leather option from Petunia Pickle Bottom (or "PPB" as they say when taking about men's bags). Just don't try to right-click an image on their site however, because that's been "disabled to protect brand integrity."


Cool Diaper Bags for Dads, [Man of the House]

The 3 Biggest Disappointments of CES 2011

via manofthehouse.com

I went to the Consumer Electronics Show last month, and I've bitched about written already about some of the stuff I saw, but today on Man of the House I've written about my top three disappointments. Including in this is my open post to George Lucas:

Dear Mr Lucas, enough already. I bought your movies when they were on VHS. And then I bought them again on VHS when you "updated" them. Then you made brand new movies that kind of sucked but I went (and even waited in line) to see those. And then I bought the good movies when they came out on DVD. And then I bought...

The 3 Biggest Disappointments of CES 2011 [Man of the House]

New Nintendo 3DS Not Safe For Kids Under Six. Really Nintendo?

via manofthehouse.com

Nintendo says their new gaming system the 3DS might hurt the eyes of children under six, but eye doctors are saying that's not necessarily true. Aren't the big bad companies supposed to be putting our kids at risk (for a profit) while doctors are supposed to warn us against this kind of stuff?

It's an interesting swap of expectations, and the subject of my latest post on Man of the House.

New Nintendo 3DS Not Safe For Kids Under Six. Really Nintendo? [Man of the House.com]

Bond on the Brain - The Music and the Fashion


You may or may not have heard about the recent death of film composer John Barry, but he was the person most famous for composing eleven James Bond soundtracks, most notably the James Bond theme at the beginning of every movie. He also wrote the theme songs for Goldfinger and Thunderball.

Even if you set aside one of the most iconic themes in all of film music, he'd be tops in my book just for Goldfinger. Who can deny the awesomeness of Shirley Bassey's Goldfinger?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MagCoUYvIXE&w=480&h=390]

In fact, if you want to check out a really great interview of John Barry before he passed away, check out his interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air on NPR

The Suits of James Bond
And then last night I was reading one of the blogs that I regularly check out - Put This On (it's a blog that kind of aims to encourage men to dress like adults) and they linked to an amazing website called "The Suits of James Bond." And while I am rarely what anyone objective might call "well dressed," I stayed up way too late last night reading it.

The Suits of James Bond is a website written by a person who has (what appears to me at least) an expert-level knowledge of mens clothing, who can parse exactly what type of suit James Bond is wearing, how it is made, and often what brand it is. It covers all phases of James Bond, from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig. And sprinkled inbetween the minutiae is how the fashion relates and inter-relates to the rest of the James Bond universe. To wit:

Roger Moore always wore slip-ons with his suits, as practised by the literary James Bond. Slip-ons are traditionally too casual to wear with a city suit, though it was popular to wear them in that fashion in the 1980s. Moore left behind the bit loafers in the 1970s and for the 1980s wore a more conservative style.

Read it long enough, and you start to realize you're getting tips about dressing yourself too (for instance, shiny neckties are more appropriately worn in the evenings and for more formal occasions). It sounds nerdy (and believe me it is) but it is really awesome.

The Suits of James Bond via Put This On.

UPDATE: For those shopping on a budget, check out Affordable Bond via my friend (and 007 enthusiast) David.

iPhone App of the Week: Momento for iPhone


Let's assume that you're a person in 2011 with a smart phone and a Facebook account (or Twitter, or a blog etc.). You may not know it yet, but you're creating a diary. Walking around, taking pictures of your kids, updating your status, "checking in" to the park or restaurants - all of these things create a digital time-trail of where you've been and what you did. Momento for the iPhone is an ingenious little app that takes all of that stuff and aggregates it into a diary - automatically.

I've never kept a diary, and although a few years ago I tried tweeting all the stuff I did each day (I was inspired by the Twitter account of John Quincy Adams). It lasted all of a day or two. But I do create Facebook status updates fairly regularly, as well as post pictures, check in to Foursquare and blog. Momento takes all of those things and then puts them into a calendar so I can see what I was up to.

Once you give it your information, it will go back and grab as much as each service will provide, in many cases going back and getting months or years worth of stuff. It's really fun to go back and see what you were complaining thinking about a few months ago, or what your kids were up to, or what you thought was important at the time. You can also enter diary entries ("new moments") directly into Momento for those moments you want to keep but don't necessarily want to share with the rest of the world.

Though it will import from nine different services plus RSS/Atom feeds, there are a few other services I'd like to see. I'd love it to aggregate content from my Instagram feed for instance - or go back in time and find my TextAmerica Moblog images. (Is it even possible for anyone get those back?) It's also not optimized for iPad, which is unfortunate because I think it would be really cool optimized for an iPad - especially for viewing photos. An even better feature would be the ability to purchase a printed diary of what you did for an entire year (or other specific time frame). A skeuomorphic "virtual" diary transformed back into a real paper diary would be awesome.

I love this app, not only for what it does but for the possibiilities of what it could deliver in the future. Momento is made by d3i Ltd. and is available for $2.99 in the iOS App Store.

No One Needs Permission to Be Awesome [43 Folders]

"No one wants to die, even people who want to go to Heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be. Because death is very likely the single best invention of life." - Steve Jobs

via www.43folders.com

As people (especially "pundits" on TV) are talking about Steve Jobs' leave of absence from Apple and how it might affect the company, stock price and the phone you keep in your pocket, Merlin Mann keeps it all in perspective.

It's not about whether or not we're going to die (we all are), it's about living our lives knowing that we are.

Check out the 15 minute Stanford Commencement Address from Steve Jobs (at the beginning of the post) and then read what Merlin has to say.

And ignore everyone else.

Thanks Dad - For the 10 Extra Years of Prostate Screenings

via manofthehouse.com

I was asked by Man of the House to write a piece in a series they're running called "Thanks Dad." And instead of writing something simple about how awesome my Dad is, I decided to write about something serious he's going through right now.

I'm pretty proud of how it turned out, but I'm more proud of my Dad.

Read Thanks Dad - For the 10 Extra Years of Prostrate Screenings on Man of the House.com

Hanging Solo with the Kids - New Post on Man of the House

This Veterans Day my kids had no school and their Mom was at work, leaving the three of us alone to our own devices all day. Trying to come up with something fun to do with the kids can sometimes be a challenge, and leaving them alone with the television all day isn't really a good option.

via manofthehouse.com

Here are some suggestions for things to do with the kids - without their Mom. Included is my super (not so secret) go-to place when you can't think of anything else.

Oh, and that picture they put up clearly isn't my kids and I. (We're way better looking).

Back Up Your Digital Life - New Post on Man of the House

Try to think about everything on your computer right now. Think about the pictures of the kids when they were babies, think about all of the music you've amassed over the years, think about the home videos you've taken. Think about all of the documents you've created - like your tax information, important presentations for work and household finance information.

Now think about this. ALL HARD DRIVES FAIL.

via manofthehouse.com

My most recent post on Man of the House is also my diatribe on backing up your data. If I've cornered you at a party and given you this speech while drunk on wine, I apologize in advance.

Father and Son Send A Camera Into Outer Space

This might be the coolest father/son project I've ever seen in my life. A Dad and his son in Brooklyn decided that they were going to take a video camera, attach it to a helium balloon and send it into outer space. As you can see from the video, they put a lot of thought and planning into it and achieved some amazing success. So if you're looking for something to demonstrate to your kids that hard work can pay off, check this out.

(Oh. And they're not done. You can support their next project at Brooklyn Space Program.)

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/15091562 w=560&h=315]

via vimeo.com

New Blog Posts Up at ManOfTheHouse.com

I've  recently started writing for a website for fathers called Man of the House. Unlike the product stuff I was writing about at Babble, at the new site I'll be writing more about my experiences, tips and other stuff I can share with fathers. It's a really great site with a lot of really thoughtful men writing thoughtful posts, so you should definitely check it out.

I'll still be writing here periodically too, but it will likely be more for more short-form blog stuff as well as more personal junk I used to put over at my Posterous account.

The first two Man of the House posts are:

5 Cool New Baby Products for Dads
This one is a recap of the five best things I saw at the ABC Expo (the baby and children's product convention)  in Las Vegas.

Being a Stay-At-Home Dad is Good For the Brain
A conversation I had with a friend of mine got me thinking about whether staying at home was "intellectually stimulating" or not.

So leave a comment if you want and let me know what you think.

People Who Bought Jon & Kate Plus Ei8ht Also Bought...

via www.pbh2.com

This can't be real, can it? Considering Amazon probably doesn't sell a "Noose" for $19.99 I have to figure it's fake. But goddamn if it didn't make me laugh every time I thought about it today.

[Note: It might be fake, but now on my Amazon page Amazon thinks I'm interested in this DVD, and it's showing me more similar items - one of which is a baby onesie with a picture of a noose on it. Which I'm pretty sure will be the subject of a future blog post...]

Blogging at ABC 2009 - The All Baby & Child Product Expo

ABC Show Floor. This image only shows about a quarter of everything at the show.

2009 is year-two for me at the ABC Expo, and even though the economy is not what it was last year, you'd hardly know it from attending the show. There seems to be just as many booths and products as last year, and once again I'm trying to blog about all of them.

Well, not all of them exactly. Just the products and companies that have something new or interesting to show. And even then there's absolutely no way I'm going to be able to get to everything. So if you're interested in what I'm writing about, go over to this page at Babble.com's gear blog Droolicious (where I blog about products for parents and children).

And fair warning to companies showing stuff at the show

- if your product has "Mom" or "Mommy" in it's name and it isn't something that ONLY someone female could use, then chances are I'm going to pass you by.

The highlights so far:

A fairly big write up of the new Orbit G2 stroller.
The Bugaboo & (RED) promotion and brand new (RED) Cameleon in black denim.
Jennifer Garner's favorite stroller, the Maclaren Grand LX Custom.
New Paul Frank designs for Clek Olli car booster seats.
An awesome infant bath tub called the Puj Tub.
A genius camera accessory designed to get infants to look up at the camera - the Shutter Buddy.