RASPBERRIES

Is It Time to End National Coming Out Day?

October 11, 2017 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF

Is it Time to End National Coming Out Day?

National Coming Out Day (October 11) is a day to recognize and celebrate LGBTQ people and the individual journeys they take in declaring their true selves. This year marks the 29th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, and the first under the Trump administration. On the same day, The Washington Post published the opinion piece, “It’s time to end National Coming Out Day.”

Not only is this headline click bait at its worst, the entire article is self-serving, irresponsible, and dangerous. Summed up, it’s the gay version of “All Lives Matter.”
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Photo Card Companies & LGBT Families: Happy Holidays or Bah Humbug?

November 30, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, LGBT STUFF

Where are LGBT families in Holiday photo card catalogs?

Two years ago I examined how major photo card companies failed to represent LGBT families even once in their holiday photo cards. I issued a challenge to the four companies profiled, pledging to employ the services of whichever company made the change first to be inclusive of same-sex couples/parents.

The companies I profiled were Tinyprints, Shutterfly, Minted, and Snapfish. I chose these four because they all sent me catalogs, and because they all ranked among the top photo card companies, according to Top Ten Reviews. In the two years since, I’ve received three and then two catalogs, respectively, and have indicated that in the data below. As in 2013, when reviewing each company’s online offerings, I looked at the first couple of pages of Holiday and/or Christmas cards. This generally included between 150-200 cards.

The results are a mixed bag of naughty and nice…

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What to Do When Your Child Says “I Hate You”…or Worse

October 6, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED

WHEN YOUR CHILD SAYS "I HATE YOU"

I don’t take my son with me to Target anymore. It doesn’t matter how much groundwork I lay or how often I repeat, “We are not going to buy toys. We are not going to buy toys.” While he might show signs of understanding initially, the moment we cross the store’s threshold, the begging and negotiations ensue. And it just goes downhill from there.

Perhaps I could be a stronger parent, or more patient, or more something else I’m not. But sometimes I need a break from the kiddo — and if I have the option (I don’t always), I do my shopping alone.

Sunday afternoon I had finished some blissfully solo retail therapy, and was headed to the front of the store. I passed the elevator bay and noticed a girl of 6 or 7 whining to her father about something her Mom (who wasn’t there) had said or done differently than Dad — I couldn’t hear it all that well.

But as I passed to the other side of the elevator, I clearly heard the daughter exclaim — rather loudly,
“Dad, you’re worthless!”

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The 11 Most Annoying Bedtime Books of All Time

April 8, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, THINGS MY KID DIGS

Most Annoying Bedtime Books

You’re the parent of a young child, nearing the end of another grueling day. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s…what? A pint (or two) of Ben & Jerry’s? Some TV that doesn’t star singing animals? An adult beverage (or two)? Collapsing into bed and/or your Ben & Jerry’s?

You’ve fed, bathed, pajama’ed and toothbrushed your cherubs. You’re so close to freedom you can taste it. All that remains is story time — then you can enjoy a few precious childless minutes before you pass out and things start all over again the next day. Just. One. Book… You can do this!

But then your little one pulls their selection from the bookshelf, shuffles over and plops it in your lap. That book you hate. The one you thought you’d hidden, or donated to the school, or accidentally tossed in a dumpster. Or you’d meant to the last time it was up from rotation — but of course you were so exhausted and relieved when it was finished that it slipped your beleaguered mind. That book you hate because it’s horrible and you’re weary – and now the final few moments until sweet relief will be sheer torture.

These are those books. Read them and weep.

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Similac’s Formula to End the Mommy Wars Falls a Bit Flat

January 26, 2015 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, POP CULTURE

A new video from Similac does a near-flawless job of illustrating — and then defusing — the so-called “Mommy Wars.” Yet by excluding half of all parents from the name of their campaign, they undo much of the goodwill built up during the ad.

Take a look, and be sure and watch all the way to the end.

Founded in human nature and fueled by the Internet, the Mommy Wars have been raging in full force for quite a few years. Mothers, physicians, psychologists, educators and all manner of experts and amateurs weigh in on all manner of parenting-related topics: circumcision, vaccinations, diet, working or homemaking, spanking or time-outs, “cry it out” or co-sleeping, attachment parenting, Tiger Moms, helicopter parents, etc., ad nauseam, ad infinitum. Often perched atop the list: breastfeeding vs. formula.

Similac, a primary purveyor of formula, tackles this titular issue (and several others from the list above) in their new spot, set within an initially humorous gang war between multiple parent posses. In addition to the bottle- vs. breast-feeders, you see baby carriers & stroller-pushers, stay-at-home-moms & corporate office moms, disposable & cloth diaperers – all posturing on the playground. A bunch of dads can even be found rocking baby carriers and (natch) manning the grill.

SIMILAC - MOMMY WARS - DADS

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Nobody’s Hero

October 15, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

I was coming off a four-day stint of flying solo while Papa was away at a conference, and not feeling too confident about my parenting skills. In fact, I was feeling downright shitty about them. Wallowing in self-doubt, self-pity, and other self-related things that suck, I walked by a drawing Jon had done earlier in the day.

The forecast for Saturday had been for a day full of rain, so we had a couple of preschool classmates and their dad over for the afternoon. Sometime in-between watching videos and the MMA match that signaled the end of the play date, the kids had pulled out the crayons and a Star Wars notepad I’d gotten Jon from the dollar bin at Target, and were cranking out quite a few masterpieces.

As I noticed the drawing again that evening, I added to the mental list of my shortcomings, “kid can’t draw.” I wasn’t upset with him or the quality of his artwork. Instead, I took it as evidence of an inability to transfer my skill set to my son. And I was jealous that the other boy that was here was a better artist, and that this was something Jon and I didn’t have that in common. All this landed atop the pile of misery I’d already put on my tired, beaten-down shoulders.

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Two and a Half Men Gay Plot: A Good Laugh or Just Laughable?

July 18, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LGBT STUFF, POP CULTURE

Two and a Half Men Gay Marry and Adopt

It was reported yesterday that network TV’s longest-running sitcom, Two and a Half Men, will work a “gay” marriage and adoption story into it’s final season. Why the big “gay” quote marks? According to CBS entertainment chairman Nina Tassler, Ashton Kutcher’s character Walden experiences a health scare that causes him to reexamine his playboy lifestyle. This results in him wanting to adopt a child. So far, not so bad.

Here’s where the quote marks come in handy… The adoption process proves too difficult for Walden as a single, straight dude, so he does the only logical thing —  propose to his hetero housemate, Alan (Jon Cryer). This way they can “gay” adopt a child together.

Two and a Half Men is hardly a critical darling — or on the Mensa required watch list — so perhaps this gimmicky plot isn’t too unexpected.

But then Tassler kept talking. When asked if the network was worried about possible backlash from the LGBT community, she replied,

“I think it’s a very positive statement that, you know what, I am going to adopt a child as a gay couple and the reality is, he can do that. And in a universe where at one point you couldn’t do that and now you can do that, I think that’s a much more positive statement that he’s making.”

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Not only is the storyline a rip-off of the poorly-conceived and -received I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, the justification of it is just plain offensive. Tassler and the shows writers and producers seem too ensconced in their Hollywood bubble to understand the reality of “gay adoption” in America. There are still 28 states where same-sex adoption is either unclearly defined or flat-out illegal. And only 16 countries in the entire world allow joint same-sex adoption — fewer than those allowing same-sex marriage.

While the number and acceptance of LGBT parents in the US continues to grow, there is still widespread prejudice towards queer parents in the US and around the world. Whether it’s questions regarding our ability to raise a child without both genders, or our agenda to influence and recruit a new generation of gays, or the ignorance that equates pedophilia with homosexuality, there is still work to be done.

Even if LGBT adoption were completely legal in all 50 states, the premise of Two and a Half Men‘s last grab for ratings is, at best, juvenile. At worst, akin to blackface. To use another Hollywood production for comparison — while some college students of color do benefit from affirmative action, it doesn’t mean it’s funny (or in good taste) to see a white guy pretend to be black in order to get into Harvard.

If Two and a Half Men show runners want to continue with this ridiculous shtick, I’m not going to waste more time and energy protesting (other than continuing to not watch) — so knock yourself out. Perhaps being exploited by a top-ranking TV show is a sign acceptance of “gay adoption” is on the rise. But don’t kid yourself that this is in any way celebrating LGBT adoption or making any kind of positive statement. Other than that it’s positively insulting.

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Honey Maid Combats Trash Talk with #WholesomeQuotes

May 12, 2014 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

The Internet isn’t known for its wholesomeness. Sure, there are bright spots here and there — but it’s also ground zero for crazy people to hurl their unfiltered opinions. These come in all flavors, with the most popular being racism, homophobia, misogyny and the always-popular hatred.

Recently I praised Honey Maid’s “This Is Wholesome” campaign for including same-sex parents in their TV ad. While I had many positive comments, I also received more negative, hateful and idiotic responses than any other time prior. Who knew graham crackers were such a hot button issue?

Here are just a few of the “greatest hits”…

honeymaid - comments - homophobia

honeymaid - comments - homophobia

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The Redemptive Power of Story Time

April 2, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

story-time

I’ve been going through quite a lot of shit lately. I won’t bore you with the details because we’ve all got details and they’re equally uninteresting to others yet end-of-the-world urgent and/or life-altering to us. And for any of us who are parents, our children are often the primary recipients of said shit run-off. And for any of us who are parents, our children have gained valuable insight (regardless of their age) as to how and where and when to push all our buttons. However I’ve read official research that age 4-1/2 is the worst. True fact.

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A Gay Man’s Tribute to Fred Phelps

March 21, 2014 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

PHELPS2

My original idea for this illustration included a rough line drawing of an oft-seen photo of Fred Phelps. The intent was to depict the sheer evil of the man in pen and ink, superimposed over a collage of the disparate groups of people his hatred targeted. I scanned my drawing and began layering in images on the computer: Matthew Shepard and the iconic fence he was tied to; a scene from a production of The Laramie Project; the casket of an Iraq War veteran, draped in the American flag; paper angels representing the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the interlocked bikers that protected their funerals; symbols representing Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Mormons and Catholics.

As I fine-tuned the design, I hid the layer that included Phelps’ face. I looked at all of these otherwise unconnected people and realized I’d been going about this all wrong.

Phelps is gone…and what is left behind?

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