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Dad’s Christmas List 2016

Despite my wife’s insistence that I focus on her honey-do list so I can stay off her s___list, I’m back with my annual Christmas List. However, this is no ordinary list. This year’s version will please my wife as it contains items that benefit the entire family. Additionally, Dads across the country can use this list as their own to benefit their families—and stay out of the dog house—during the holiday season.

CHRISTMAS LIST 2016

1) Lock Wallet – Though there’s virtually no money in there, it gives Dad the peace of mind his last $3 is safe. One black coffee and a banana coming up–just not at Starbucks, of course.

2) Night Vision Goggles (NVG) – Sure, this would be a cool gift for the Dad who loves to hunt. But more importantly, Dad no longer  has to turn on the lights at 3 am in order to take that fourth and final pee of the night, thus waking the entire family. Also, Dad no longer has to hear, “you managed to pee everywhere but inside the bowl, again.” Nope, not this sharp-shooting Dad. Just remember to lift the toilet seat before firing away.

Alternatives to NVGs: Though you can’t take them on a hunting trip, they make great conversation pieces. And, like Rudolph on Christmas Eve, help guide the way!

  • Motion activated Stairway Lights
  • Motion-activated Toilet Bowl Light

3) Self-Driven Car- My kids could rest comfortably in the back of the car knowing they could fight or utter smart-ass remarks without retribution. But all that goes away with the self-driven car. I can hop in the back and get right in their grills.  The added benefit is those tired phrases, “if I have to pull this car over,” and “If I have to come back there,” become a thing of the past.

4) Smart Refrigerator – Imagine watching a movie or TV show with the family and wondering if there are any drinks or snacks in the fridge. Wonder no more. The smart fridge lets you peek inside your fridge using your phone. Unfortunately, you still have to draw straws to decide who has to actually get their fat, lazy butt off the couch and get the snacks. But you can’t have everything…..unless you get  the next item in the list.

5) – Beer Bringing Bot – This robot can bring you a beer, bake cookies, and flip pancakes. One TINY catch—it costs $400,000, which makes that Lock Wallet even more valuable.

My apologies for posting this so late. The good news is you have an entire year to work up the nerve to beg (plead, cry) for that Self-Driven Tesla. Happy Holidays everyone!

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Tippy Talk Radio Interview

On December 30th, I had the pleasure of appearing on Tippy Talk radio–Books I Love . Please check it out when you have a moment: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/booksilove/2015/12/30/how-not-to-parent

Happy New Year!

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The Christmas Wish

This year I vowed I was going to get something for Christmas. Something great.

To clarify, I do get gifts for Christmas. Money. A sweater. Underwear. Socks. An electric screwdriver. Things I need and use.

But it’s the kids that get the incredible gifts—the ones they’ve stayed up countless nights dreaming about. The ones they don’t need but satisfy their every whim and desire.

This year I want something I don’t need and will only use twice before it sits in a corner collecting dust but is a conversation piece and the envy of every underwear-receiving Dad on the damn block.

“Did you hear what Brad got for Christmas?” my neighbor will say to his wife. “A home-brew kit. He can make his own beer.”

She’ll respond in a sardonic tone, “We have a refrigerator. It has beer in it. You can use that label maker that’s still sitting in the box from two Christmases ago, slap a label with your name on it and, voilà, home-brew kit.”

While my neighbor murmurs “smartass,” and frustratingly contemplates the color of his new socks and whether he’s getting Hanes or Fruit of the Loom, I’ll be whistling a different tune because I’ll be receiving one of these babies:

1) Smart key – The perfect gadget for me, the guy who always loses his keys.
2) Flir One Infrared Camera – This beauty attaches to my iPhone and takes incredible infrared pictures…of what, I have no clue.
3) Motorized tie rack – A fantastic conversation piece. “Hey, remember those achy arms and shoulders I’d get from reaching over and grabbing my OWN tie? Well, reach no more! Observe, the motorized tie rack!”
4) Garmin Fish Finder – I couldn’t catch a fish if my life depended on it. But now I can at least find a fish. I can then alert other fishermen while I untangle my fishing line and say “Ooh” as they reel it in.

In sum, I’d lose the smart key, find no practical use for an infrared camera or a motorized tie rack, and can’t fish, which, unfortunately, means it’s socks again. It’s nice to dream.

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How Not to Parent Book Trailer

Better late than never but a book trailer was done a few months back for How Not to Parent. Check it out!

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Hitting the Interview Circuit!

Recently, I had the privilege to appear on the Erskine syndicated radio show to discuss my book. To listen to the interview:
go to http://www.erskineonradio.com/archives/archives.html. Scroll down to the interview – 3/30/13

OR in ITunes, download the 3/31/13 GCN erskine overnight podcast.

I’ve also been interviewed by The Brooklyn Eagle newspaper:
http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/harried-dad’s-book-reveals-‘how-not-parent’-2013-04-02-003000

And on the Web:
http://cerullean.net/author-interview-brad-manzo/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=author-interview-brad-manzo
http://charleshenryeditingblog.com/2013/02/28/author-interview-brad-manzo/

By the way, if you’re in NYC, you can pick up How Not to Parent at The Bookmark Shoppe in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

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My Comedy Debut

A couple of years ago, I got an opportunity to be a showcase reader for the Dimestories New York kick off event in Brooklyn. I read one of my favorite pieces, “Boys Will be Boys,” which is featured in How Not to Parent. Finally, the reading is available here on the blog: BManzo_Boys_Will_Be_Boys.

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You Sunk My Sunday Night

It started innocently with a text from my brother-in-law on a Sunday morning.

“Brad, do you and CJ want to come see Battleship with us? Movie starts in an hour.”

Without thinking, I read the text aloud.

CJ’s ears perked up. “Dad, can we go see Battleship. Oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please.”

“If you want to go, you have to ask nicely,” I said sarcastically.

“C’mon, Dad,” he pleaded with me.

“Let me think about it.”

The first thing I did was read the reviews to see if the movie was any good. Heck, if I’m spending $40 it better be good.

CJ followed me around like a lost puppy until I finally acquiesced.

“Okay, we can go.”

He hugged me for five minutes straight.

The reviews weren’t bad and, as I love going to the movies, the two of us sported grins until we reached our seats.

After 37 previews, a quick nap, a few commercials, a shocked glance into an empty wallet, and half a dozen stern warnings to not use our cell phones, I was no longer feeling the love. Out of spite, I was ready to text the world.

Finally, the movie started and my smile returned. With snacks in hand, we were really enjoying ourselves.

Then, halfway through the movie, they introduced the aliens and all hell broke loose.

“I’m scared, Dad.” CJ held on to me for dear life.

He covered his eyes and I covered his ears. It passed—ttemporarily.

A few minutes later, the aliens reared their ugly, alien heads again. He peeked carefully through the fingers covering his eyes before blurting out, “I have to go to the bathroom, Dad.”

We raced to the bathroom to relieve our bladders I naively thought.

“I want to go home. I’m scared.”

“Are you sure? Your cousin is inside waiting for you to come back.”

He was torn and I was annoyed. I spent $40 on a movie and was hanging out in the men’s room. Additionally, I felt betrayed by Hasbro for marketing the movie around a kids game and making it so damn scary. What’s next—a slasher movie based on Connect Four or Old Maid, a movie based on the card game about an aging, bitter woman who seeks vengeance, Charles Bronson style, on every man who ever spurned her?

I wanted to see the end of the movie but it was his call.

“I want to go back,” he said.

I wanted to hug him and say, “I love you, man,” but chose the parental route instead. “Are you sure, CJ?”

“Yeah, I’m sure. Let’s go!” He ran back to the theater and I followed closely behind.

Thankfully, he enjoyed the rest of the movie and without covering his eyes.

On the way home, he thanked me profusely. “That was so much fun, Dad. I loved the movie.”

I smiled. The scary, alien fiasco was behind me.

Later that night, we put the kids to bed and Diane and I reflected on another enjoyable weekend. We quickly nodded off to sleep.

A few minutes later, CJ ran into our room screaming. “The aliens are coming!”

Diane comforted him. “What’s wrong, baby?”

That night he barely slept, which meant Diane and I barely slept. But I knew that would not be the end of it—not by a long shot.

The next morning, my daughter got wind of what happened.

“You should have checked to make sure it was appropriate. I think that movie’s PG-13. CJ’s only seven.”

And you’re only 10 and making way too much sense, I thought to myself.

“PG-13, not appropriate,” my wife added.

These two are going to gang up on me for the rest of my life, aren’t they?

I tried to point out that my friend brought his son, so I assumed it was age-appropriate. But my daughter would have none of it.

“If your friend jumped off a bridge, would you jump, too?” Damn she was good and had already mastered the annoying motherly clichés.

I knew I wasn’t going to win so I quickly changed tactics and admitted my mistake. “I shouldn’t have trusted my friend. I should have done my own research on the movie.”

My wife approved. “Now you’re getting it.”

I vowed it wouldn’t happen again and saw CJ and I enjoying the new Spiderman on the big screen in the near future.

“The aliens are coming!” CJ shouted as he entered the room petrified.

At that moment, I knew I’d be watching Spiderman by myself on the small screen.

My wife and daughter’s angry gazes quickly confirmed that for me.

Copyright © 2012, Brad Manzo

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