BJ Shea

 BJ Shea
Posts from June 2014

BJ'S BLOG 06/30/14 "Happy August 2nd?"
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:

Happy Independence Day! Happy August 2nd! Huh? What happened to July 4th, you might ask? Let me explain with some little known (or long forgotten) facts about the 4th of July.

On July 2, 1776, John Adams wrote to his wife: “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

While we celebrate the 2nd of July on the 4th, which is the date shown on the Declaration of Independence, in fact historians are convinced that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4th, as is commonly believed.

In a remarkable coincidence, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as Presidents of the United States, both died on July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. I can’t help but wonder if maybe they really died on August 2, 1826.

Now, all the odd facts aside—and there are many more—the one fact we feel sure of is we are celebrating our independence from the kingdom of Great Britain, as it was known then. I always wonder, though, why we need a date like the 4th of July to remember what freedom means, not just to me and you but to the whole of US. Perhaps summed up best in the Declaration of Independence, I wonder why, among us “Free Americans,” there are still groups that would deny these words and try to enslave those who do not agree with our views of freedom: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Here at Rambling Harbor, we celebrate Independence Day 365-and-one-quarter days a year. Come on shore where all men and women are created equal and give a listen.
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People: John AdamsThomas Jefferson

BJ'S BLOG 06/27/14 "The KFC Kid Hoax"
Honestly, I’m just not sure if we should believe a damn thing on the internet anymore…but on the other hand, I’m relieved to hear that one particularly troubling recent “news item” has possible been debunked as a hoax.
You may have heard (or read) about the 3-year-old girl who was asked to leave a KFC because of her physical appearance. The kid in question was reportedly disfigured by a pit bull, leaving her terribly scarred. The restaurant story goes like this: the restaurant staff found her appearance too disturbing for the other customers, and asked the girl and her family to leave.
After this story broke, the good people of the world raised $135,000 on the girl’s behalf, and a Las Vegas plastic surgeon pledged to help restore the child’s appearance. The initial report said that the girl’s grandmother was the source of the story, but KFC says the claim has been thoroughly checked against receipts and security camera footage…and simply cannot be true.
Is the whole thing a hoax? That’s the latest angle on this strange, terrible story. Meanwhile, the girl’s aunt insists -- on Facebook -- that it’s NOT a hoax. Whatever the truth may be, there’s a very real child who has been made a victim twice now, and it makes me sick to think that it could EVER happen to someone, much less in the first three years of their life.
What do you think, folks?
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Topics: Human InterestLaw_Crime
Locations: Las Vegas

BJ'S BLOG 06/26/14 "Privacy"
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has chosen to boycott Seattle media, after some Seattle newspaper reporters decided to reveal the address of Sherman’s newly-purchased home. Yes, this is information of public record…if you really go looking for it. The reporters in question have practically invited people to bother a public figure – one who has proven himself to be a great supporter of Seattle on both a civic and charitable level.
I can’t blame Sherman for drawing the line. What an invasion of privacy this is! Sherman and his girlfriend are both quite unhappy about this turn of events, and they have every right to be.
Newspaper reporters are capable of some pretty low stuff, and I speak with some degree of experience here. You’d think that a dying form of media would try to turn its situation around by taking a high road, and acting with journalistic integrity. It’s a real shame that we’re seeing exactly the opposite.
Let’s hear it from you, gang: do you think Richard Sherman is justified in his decision to step away from the local press, or is this much ado about nothing?
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Locations: Seattle
People: Richard Sherman

BJ'S BLOG 06/25/14 "No Birthday Present"
Hello again, gang! It’s nice to know that you all turned up to celebrate another session of Group Therapy with us! Have some cake and punch, and you can put gifts on that table over there.  You DID bring a gift, right?
A Rock-A-Holic named Linda was really hoping for a birthday gift from her boyfriend. They’ve only been dating a couple of months, and they recently celebrated her birthday a little early, because she’s heading out of town on a business trip for a few weeks.
The boyfriend went to dinner (by invitation) with Linda and her parents, with the folks picking up the whole check. Afterwards, the happy couple went to Linda’s place. Linda says she was sort of expecting him to surprise her with a gift…but he didn’t. The night ended with a goodbye (for a few weeks, remember) but that was all. She insists that she didn’t expect anything fancy or expensive, but she is a bit disappointed that he didn’t make some kind of effort. Even making a card would have been great, according to Linda.
Sigh. Making…a…card? Really, Linda? Crayons and glitter are more of a six-month anniversary thing, if I remember correctly.
Maybe he’s going to surprise her with a nice bunch of flowers or some other delivered item on her actual birthday, while she’s out of town. Whatever the case may be, I think this is definitely a case of overstimulated expectations. Remember, this wasn’t even the actual date of her birthday, and she’s already in a tailspin over this whole situation. Maybe it’s time to step back and chill out a little. If the birthday comes and goes without something happening, there might be more support for this reaction…but not yet.
Once again, I’m left shaking my head in confusion and dismay. How do you feel about this one, good people? Have you been on either side of this situation? Sound off!
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Topics: Human Interest

BJ'S BLOG 06/23/14 "Zen and Cleaning My Refrigerator"
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders: 

The other day I had enough of world news. I was feeling very moody and depressed, totally overloaded, brain about to explode or implode. So it seemed like a good idea to clean the refrigerator. Cleaning to me is a meditation, like Gandhi cleaning in prison.

Now that I think about it, maybe that slime wasn’t Jell-O. Maybe it was morphing into a corporate CEO or politician, and possibly cleaning the refrigerator had survival purposes after all, not just for myself but for the world. A simple act of cleaning my refrigerator could have far-reaching value for the future. I was pretty much thought free and happy. I wonder if someplace in the whole time-warp continuum I am still cleaning my refrigerator, and the green slime is still there trying to get away.

As humans, we spend most of our time living in or remembering the past or generally worrying about the future. We are never here, in this moment, this exact second.

A professional football player once told me time seems to stop, hearing ceases, and even movement slows to half- or three-quarters time as he watches the laces and rotation of the ball, which is total and complete concentration on the moment. Then he gets smacked by a 300 pound linebacker. One might think it would have been better to concentrate on the 300 pounder instead of the laces on a 14- to 15-ounce football.

So, dear reader, has there been any point to this rambling caused by my refrigerator (and I don’t mean a player called “The Refrigerator” –I knew I’d find some connection between football and my refrigerator!)

Einstein might say that tomorrow and yesterday are already here, intermingling with what we call today, and all three are happening simultaneously. Of course, Einstein always said he wished he could ride a lightning bolt because that would be the only way he could go fast enough to break the time barrier. Yahoo! Wonder what Albert planned to use for a saddle?

Now, back to the point of all this, which is that there is no point. For the last few minutes we have all been caught in a moment, and in these few moments, if I distracted you even briefly from thoughts you would rather not be having while you were trying to figure out what thought I was having or simply if I were having a complete break with reality, then that was the point.

Now the Sirens at Rambling Harbor are waiting. Join me there and give a listen.

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People: Dan SandersGandhi

BJ'S BLOG 06/20/14 "Redskins' Trademark Revoked"
 The U.S. Patent Office has declared the “Redskins” name to be disparaging of Native Americans, following a country-wide campaign to change the name. As a result, the team’s logo and branding trademarks are going to be canceled.
Personally, I can’t believe it’s taken this long. It’s time to start taking a look at other teams who have lived in a comfort zone of subtle racism. Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Indians, I’m looking in your direction. Take a look at the Chief Wahoo character used by the Indians...and then imagine if he was a caricature of a black or Hispanic person. Things start getting uncomfortable pretty quickly, don’t they?
(Don’t even get me started on the Fightin’ Irish.)
The Redskins owner is unhappy with this ruling, but he probably won’t mind the massive influx of cash that’s sure to follow a re-branding and re-merchandising of the team. 
Where do you stand on this debate, gang? 
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Topics: Social Issues

BJ'S BLOG 06/19/14 "Father/Daughter Job Dilemma"
Reminder: we’re switching to a new “mandatory uniform” for Group Therapy. I hope you don’t mind seeing STP and I in short-shorts and sexy tank-tops…
Tommy is a Rock-A-Holic from Chicago who listens to us on the internet. His 19-year-old daughter has been offered a job at a place called The Tilted Kilt, and Tommy’s freaking out a little bit over that. If you haven’t been to this particular establishment, let me explain: the servers are all dressed as “sexy schoolgirls”, for lack of a better description.
Tommy’s not really comfortable with the idea of his daughter dressing provocatively for work, but she really wants the job. Tommy’s wife has told the daughter that she’ll support Tommy’s decision…but she later told Tommy (privately) that she thinks they should support the daughter’s decision.
This is where I have to be the objective person, and point out that the daughter is of legal age, and she ultimately has the right to make her own decisions. Parents – especially fathers, in my opinion – often hope to retain a sense of control over their children for as long as possible, but you have to respect them as adults eventually. Why not start now?
What say you, Rock-A-Holics? 
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Topics: Human Interest
Locations: Chicago

BJ'S BLOG 06/18/14 "Facebook to the Rescue"
Greetings and salutations, good people of the internet!
Here’s a story that might just send a chill up your spine: a 10 year-old girl recently found herself in an emergency situation when her father was caught beneath a tree during a major storm, but she couldn’t call for help because her family doesn’t have a home phone!
Rather than let the crisis get the best of her, this smart little cookie posted a video to Facebook, asking for help and directing people to her house. Emergency services showed up shortly thereafter, and her dad was rescued.
I still have a home phone, due to my chosen cable/internet package…but more and more households are letting go of that particular luxury. This story may offer some proof of the power of social media, but let’s not overlook the fact that this emergency could have been resolved a little faster if the girl could have used that classic kitchen phone.
Whatever you think about the usefulness of a home phone, I hope we can all agree that this girl deserves a major raise in her allowance for fast thinking. If you seek out this news story, I urge you to avoid reading the comments…because any faith you have in humanity will go up in flames at a high rate of speed.
Remember: Nothing in the world is heartwarming enough to avoid the wrath of those nasty internet trolls.
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Topics: Technology_Internet

BJ'S BLOG 06/14/14 "Catching Your Daughter's Boyfriend in the Act"
Thank you for being so loyal and trustworthy, my sweet Rock-A-Holics! You make this Group Therapy relationship of ours so easy!
We heard from Sarah, who was out running errands when she saw her daughter’s boyfriend in his car with another girl. To make matters worse, the girl in the car was Sarah’s daughter’s best friend…and then Sarah saw the boyfriend kiss her! The two parted ways then, and Sarah managed to break off her surveillance without being seen.
Later, Sarah asked her daughter how things were going with the boyfriend, and the daughter said that she misses him…because he’s supposed to be gone all week on a fishing trip!
Oh, man. This is not good.
I don’t know how old the daughter is, but Sarah says the romantic relationship has been going on for a year, and the daughter and her best friend have known each other for 15 years!  I’m guessing this is a late-teens relationship. That doesn’t make things any easier, but it’s far better for this kind of nonsense to happen to Sarah’s daughter while she’s still young enough to bounce back from it.
Sarah would love some advice, so I’m turning this one over to you, friends! Should Sarah tell her daughter what she saw?
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Topics: Human Interest

BJ'S BLOG 06/16/14 "Racism and Snowflakes"
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders: 

Here’s some creative thinking on racism and a story in the podcast about how it works both ways.

I have heard that no two snowflakes are alike, and on some scientific level, “they” seem to have been able to prove that. Snowflakes and snow crystals are made of ice, and pretty much nothing more. A snow crystal, as the name implies, is a single crystal of ice. “Snowflake” is a more general term. It can mean an individual snow crystal or a few snow crystals stuck together or a large agglomeration of snow crystals that form "puff-balls" that float down from the clouds. Snowflakes begin with water vapor in the air, evaporation from oceans, lakes, and rivers and transpiration from plants. Even you, every time you exhale, put water vapor into the air.

I have never heard that no two water droplets are the same, so I would think that would mean that every snowflake starts out the same and then changes as it is formed, falls to the ground, stays for a while, melts, and turns back into water and becomes one with itself again.

Part of the water vapor that started the whole process came from our breaths. I have never heard that no two breaths are alike and they probably are different, but that could lead to this question: is all air the same? Yes, it could go on forever. Let’s just say we, like snowflakes, are not the same: different skin colors, different shapes, different thoughts, needs, loves, dreams, and desires.

Maybe that also means that one day when we turn back to dirt, we are all the same again, just like water droplets before snowflakes. They are only different until they melt, meld, and turn back into the water that helped create them.

Snowflakes and people are not the only things that are different, and maybe it's time we learned to love the differences in ourselves and the earth and every living thing on it. In the end we are all really one and are dependent on each other. We are all different until, like snowflakes, we melt into one and eternity.

For more thoughts on this and other things, join me at Rambling Harbor and give a listen.
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BJs BLOG 06/13/14 "Woman Thinks A Kid Took Pictures Of Her, Goes Wild"
READ THIS, EVERYONE!  Wait, no! Look away! When I said READ THIS, what I meant was DON’T READ THIS. It’s a classic mixed message, and I’m outraged that you had to be lectured about it. OUTRAGED!

Recently, a woman came unglued in public when she believed a teenaged boy was using a remote-control aircraft to spy on women in their bikinis. The plane did have a Go Pro camera attached to it, but the teenager didn’t have any dirty intentions – the drone would fly too fast and unpredictably to give him good footage, anyway.

Unfortunately, the woman couldn’t be convinced. She launched a full-on physical assault against the young remote-control pilot, who managed to get a recording of the event. You can clearly hear the kid trying to keep the crazed woman calm, and then yelling for help when she takes things too far over the line. 

The woman was eventually arrested, and the young victim seemed willing and able to shake the whole thing off. Kudos to you for keeping your cool, my friend. I don’t think I have the energy to do anything but shake my head in the general direction of this story…but I’d love to hear your reactions!
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Topics: Human Interest

BJs BLOG 06/12/14 "My Child Learns Swear Words From My In-Laws"
It’s time for Group Therapy, folks! Please try to keep your language PG-13 for this one – you never know when young ears might be listening. Or reading. Or something. I’m not really sure anymore.

Becky is looking for some advice about her 3-year-old daughter. It seems that the little tyke is developing a bit of a potty mouth, and Becky is positive that her mother-in-law is the bad influence in this situation. According to Becky, she and her husband are very careful about what they say, and what the kid watches and listens to. 

Becky confronted her mother-in-law, who insists that she isn’t the source of the problem…but mom-in-law also said that it’s no big deal if she was. When Becky brought the problem to her husband, he said she was overreacting, and he doesn’t support Becky’s insistence that the mother-in-law should no longer watch her granddaughter by herself anymore. 

Words are powerful things, and we, as a society, seem to be in constant conflict over the proper and polite usage of certain words. That’s a bigger conversation for another time, so I’m going to make a separate point in this case: if you deal with children, and you are not the parent or guardian of said children, then you need to respect the wishes of those who are. I don’t care if you’re a relative or just a friend…the parents rule, period.

What do you think, Rock-A-Holics? Is Becky overreacting? Have you ever had to deal with this type of situation before, and if so – how did you handle it?
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BJs BLOG 06/11/14 "My 20-year-old neighbor washes her car in a bikini"
Greetings and salutations, Rock-A-Holics! I know some of you are a little bit shy! Rest assured: Group Therapy may occasionally be a little bit revealing, but it’s totally okay to just sit back and observe. 

We heard from Molly (not her real name), who is upset after catching her 15-year-old son in his bedroom, “watching” (her quotes here) the 20-year-old girl next door wash her car in a bikini. Molly is also irritated that the attractive neighbor girl was out washing her car in a bikini in the first place!

Her husband told her that she shouldn’t say anything to the neighbors, but Molly suspects he’s hoping to sneak a peek for himself!

I just don’t know where to start here, people. First off, shouldn’t Molly be giving her 15-year-old boy the courtesy of a knock before entering his room? We can’t be sure if the use of quotes around “watching” infers something a little more…exploratory…but the point remains that a teenage boy’s relationship with his parents, especially his mother, might benefit from some polite boundaries.

Second argument here: cars need to be cleaned frequently, and bikinis are perfectly acceptable attire for a warm day of work that involves soap and water. It’s perfectly normal…and natural…and beautiful…SO beautiful. Oh yeah. There you go. Wash that car. WASH IT.

What was I saying? 

Okay, right: Molly has a problem with all of this. I’ve got too much on my mind to offer anything else here, my friends. Let’s hear what you have to say.
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Topics: Human Interest

BJ's BLOG 06/10/14 "I Don't Want To Go To Someones Father's Day Celebration"
Welcome back, Rock-A-Holics! Today’s Group Therapy is a very special case…if you take my meaning. 

Jeff doesn’t want to spend time with his girlfriend and her family on Father’s Day. It’s nothing personal; Jeff isn’t a father himself, and his own dad died many years ago, so he just doesn’t care about being there. He wonders if it’s okay for him to tell his girlfriend that he isn’t interested in celebrating the day with them. 

I’m from the Northeast, and this question would never fly in that community. The West Coast is a hell of a lot looser when it comes to the formality of family and friendships, so I’m not completely surprised by Jeff’s thinking…but I still think this is one of those times when the boyfriend should just suck it up, and play along, before he asks his girlfriend that potentially dangerous question.

On the other hand, I’m just the kind of cranky dad who doesn’t want his Father’s Day happiness interrupted by boyfriends without tenure. Let me have a day of peace with my family! You can get back to groping my little angel on your own time, pervert.


I’m turning this one over to you, good people. Give Jeff your thoughts on his Father’s Day bailout plan.
 (1) Comments
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Topics: Human Interest
Locations: West Coast

BJ's BLOG 06/09/14 "Liberty vs. the Pursuit of Life"
Today's blog comes from one of my mentors, Dan Sanders:

Life as we know it is being chiseled away slowly by greed and self-centered me-first attitudes. That illness has been a plague on the earth since man first invented fire (I assume it was a man), as we went from throwing rocks to flaming arrows to weapons that can set the entire world on fire. And yet a single virus could kill us all.

With the tragedies of children dying in our schools and people using guns to seek revenge on society, the sadness is truly overwhelming. The anger is building, and some feel to be armed is to be safe and the bigger the gun, the better.

That’s bull, of course. We saw how well that worked after World War I and World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, and all the wars that have been fought in the last twenty years. Being armed has never stopped violence but only helps to propagate it.

Now we want armed guards in our schools, some say police, some say military. I remember as a very young boy seeing tanks roll through the streets of Little Rock, Arkansas, during the civil rights movement of the 1950’s. That image has haunted me for life. Do we want to ingrain such images into the minds of our young people? Imagine going to school and being watched over by an armed soldier or policeman. Young children might grow up to think they need a gun so they can kill you before you kill them.

Hunters don’t need an assault weapon unless they want to bring home chopped meat. If you want to hunt or must hunt, I suggest a bow and arrow. It worked for thousands of years for Native Americans. As a youth I learned to shoot a bow and arrow. I also learned to shoot a .22. Once rifles only fired a single shot with each squeeze of the trigger, but modern rifles are capable of firing many shots per trigger squeeze. I am still a good shot, and with practice I’m sure I could bring home an excellent meal without pulverizing it, and that would be my only reason for using a gun. If I could not “bring home the bacon,” I deserve to be hungry or learn to eat what the earth provides from the ground.

There are thousands of quotes on violence and nonviolence online, from such luminaries are Martin Luther King, Jr. and Albert Einstein, and they’re worth a search.

For more of what’s on my mind today, tune in to Rambling Harbor and give a listen.
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BJ's BLOG 06/06/14 "If you didn't like your spouses wardrobe, what would you do?
Welcome back to Group Therapy, you beautiful babies! Seriously, you’re all looking great today. Are you doing something different with your hair? New outfit, maybe?
Am I…uh…damn it, am I seeing imaginary people again?!  Attractive, well-groomed, and impeccably dressed imaginary people?!
Moving on…
Jackie started dating a banker a few months ago, and she says this guy is fantastic. There’s one problem, though: when they first started dating, the boyfriend was always dressed in his work clothes (button shirts, slacks, good shoes, etc.)…but as the weeks go on, she’s getting a better look at his casual attire. Despite Jackie’s insistence that her boyfriend is not a “dude-brah-bro” meathead, he dresses like one! Ed Hardy and Affliction t-shirts are his wardrobe of choice, and Jackie’s struggling with his fashion sense.
She wants to know if she should just bite her tongue and leave him alone, or take this opportunity and improve his wardrobe.
It’s a tale as old as time, in my opinion: two people decide to make a life together because they like everything about each other, but after a few months, someone usually starts looking at an “improvement plan” for the other person.
Let’s hear it from the men AND the women today! Should Jackie start making changes to her boyfriend’s wardrobe, or is she stepping over the line?
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BJ's BLOG 06/05/14 "Would a One-Time Free Pass Make Up For Infidelity?"
We’re talking about loyalty today, folks. It is Group Therapy time for Jake, who recently went to visit another couple along with his girlfriend. A few drinks later, they learned that the woman in this couple cheated on her husband a couple of years back, but made up for it by letting him sleep with someone else.
Jake tells us that his own wife cheated, three years ago. He says they’ve worked it out, but it occasionally rears its ugly head and brings some hurt feelings along when it does. After hearing the example described by the other couple, Jake is starting to think that he should ask his wife for a “free pass” to help him sort out his problems with the infidelity.
I wouldn’t touch this one with a ten-foot pole. It’s up to you, Rock-A-Holics! If you’ve been in this kind of situation, or just want to make your opinions known…we want to hear from you!
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Topics: Human Interest

BJ's BLOG 06/04/14 "Is There Anything Wrong with a Male Childcare Provider?"
We do not discriminate here in Group Therapy. Everyone is welcome to join in, regardless of race, creed, color, or sexual orientation…as long as you don’t double-dip at snack time. Seriously, that’s just unacceptable.

Today’s session has to do with sexism. Natalie and her husband are full-time professionals with a kid, and they need to hire someone to help out with the childcare; Natalie has been given full discretion over the screening and hiring, and she has narrowed down her search to three candidates, all of whom are extremely qualified and come well-recommended.

Here’s the problem: Natalie’s husband doesn’t like one of the candidates, because the candidate happens to be male. The husband thinks it’s a strange career for a man to pursue, and he’s really uncomfortable with the idea. 

I think most people would agree that men don’t typically pursue these jobs, so I guess I can at least understand how the husband might struggle with this concept. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with a male “nanny,” however. Unfortunately, the husband’s position on this is patently sexist, so it’s pretty hard to get behind his viewpoint.

I don’t really know what to say about this one. Maybe the best way to end this argument is to make some life changes that leave you with enough time to raise your child without hiring a stranger to do it for you…but if that’s not going to happen, then the obvious decision is for these folks to make the decision that’s best for their child’s daily care. Make qualifications the criteria, not gender.

Talk to me, Rock-A-Holics! Do you have any advice? Are you a male childcare provider, or a really smart baby who can type? Let’s hear your thoughts!
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People: Natalie


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