Friday, July 29, 2016

Stop Sexualizing My Daughter (My Son, Too)

My daughter is only 8 years old.

It is a great age to be! She is a wonderful athlete, articulate (when she chooses to be), and unbelievably funny!

We were recently in Los Angeles doing some shopping and hit one of our favorite stores, Ozzie Dots, where we picked up a few items. One of the items was this amazing outfit that my daughter picked out:

Pretty cool! Probably appropriating some culture, though...
Isn't it great! Fit her perfectly! She wanted to wear it for the entire rest of the time we were there - but we had shows and other things, so unfortunately, there was not a lot of opportunity for her to wear it.

However, when I sent the photos via message to the grandmothers back at their homes - the immediate reaction was from one set (of grandparents) was, "she should be covered up!" and "don't you think that is inappropriate for someone her age to wear?"

Um, no... No, we don't.

In discussion, it came down to the fact they felt her midriff should be covered so as not to give anyone the wrong idea.

We get it: sexual abuse of children is a REAL PROBLEM! There are a variety of articles available online to read. Peruse some at your leisure:
My daughter's mother and I are absolutely NOT interested in creating any sort of Lolita-esque fantasy of any kind. But we want her to be a child, and to be comfortable, and to have fun and to not spend her life worrying about what other people think!

At the same time - we want to protect her from any Chesters out there.

What? You don't know what a "chester" is? Educate yourself some, greenhorn, with my buddy Wayne Keyser's amazing information:

We have her wear shorts under her skirts. We make sure she is observant to those around her. It's only been recently we've allowed her and her brother to be wandering off by themselves at all... and THAT usually only happens when it is me watching them. Their mother isn't too keen on letting them wander off even still.

For both kids, we agonize over whether or not to post pictures of them at their swim meets on social media. Whether to mention their schools or where they are going or what they are doing until, often, they are done.

We want them protected.

At the same time, they are growing up. They need to know how to keep themselves safe! 

As parents, we cannot shield them from the horrors and risks of the real world. If we focus on doing that, we are not doing our job - which is to prepare them for the future! But still let them be kids.

BTW: She chose the wand of a villainess.

Friday, July 15, 2016

My Child Got an Instagram Account!

Oh yes! End of the world! My 11-year-old son got an Instagram account!

We may be over-reacting a bit. It is not the end of the world. It IS, however, something pretty close.

The front page of the new Instagram account. Feel free to add him.
Feel free to add him to your instagram here:

Overall, pretty innocent looking, right?? Check this out:

Wait... Your WHAT?!

His mom flipped the script after seeing that comment!!

But, wait - who are these "babes," exactly?! 

These lovely young ladies are erstwhile "fans" of the Green Monster. His mother and I let him start his own Instagram, which he controls (his appearance on America's Got Talent is what led directly to the creation of his Facebook page and Twitter account, which are controlled by me), in response to the Instagram account his friends set up. You can check it out here:

The Monster met these girls while at Lion King Camp, which his grandmother sent him to. A week-long program that was coordinated with the touring musical production of Disney's The Lion King, directed by Julie Taymor. His alleged "celebrity" at having appeared on AGT, Nickelodeon, and other shows brought him to the attention of plenty of folks. 

And that has always been nice and good. We are used to the Monster being kind of "known."

"Consent goes both ways," her comment reads.

What we are all having to deal with is that he is growing up!! He is trying to be independent. While I am the one who manages & monitors his Facebook & Twitter accounts, he is the one in control of his Instagram which he uses to converse with his friends a bit.

Not that we don't monitor that account, too. We have all the passwords and everything - not to mention he does not have his own phone... the account is on one of my phones! We haven't let him go completely...

But soon --

Pretty sure this is what his account tells him.

Monday, June 6, 2016

This Needs To Be Said (Or At Least Written Out & Shared)

I had someone specifically post on my Facebook account asking me to address this situation. I waited a few days to think about it - and am glad I did, because more came out about it that needs to be addressed, too. So here we go...

What needs to be discussed?

This waste of space right here: Brock Turner.
Brock Turner, obviously. That's the ex-Stanford swimmer charged and convicted of raping an unconscious woman in 2015 - but given a "too lenient" sentence of six (6) months for his crime. While there is three (3) years probation attached to that sentence... so what? As District Attorney Dick Rosen said, "The punishment does not fit the crime. The sentence does not factor in the true seriousness of this sexual assault, or the victim's ongoing trauma. Campus rape is no different than off-campus rape. Rape is rape." More details of the assault and sentencing are available on this article.

The facts in a nutshell: Turner was drunk twice the legal limit (underage, btw), when he was caught in the act of raping an unconscious coed behind a dumpster by two cyclists, who then had to tackle him & hold him for police when he tried to run away. He was convicted on three (3) felony counts, folks. By a jury of his peers.

But this sentence by Judge Aaron Perky (a Stanford alumni, btw), which can barely be considered a "slap on the wrist," is horrifically compounded by the letter his father, Dan Turner, wrote to ask for FURTHER leniency for his son. Especially the part where the Dan stated that why should his son be punished for "20 minutes of action," then insinuates the young woman assaulted may have had it coming through drinking and "sexual promiscuity."

On the right is this toolbag's father: Dan Turner

It has been stated - and I will restate it here - that it is in serious doubt Dan Turner would have penned such a letter about his daughter if she had been assaulted the way Brock raped his victim. While Dan might say Brock "has never been violent," I wonder how many stories will come out about him now that he actually got busted for something?

Here's another thing: this guy, Brock, is originally from the Dayton, Ohio area (Oakwood - which is the Beverly Hills of the area). The area I am originally "from" (as much as I can be "from" anywhere...). The area that my family got a house in so the kids could be closer to the grandparents. The area where the kids go to school The area where the kids are on a swim team.

  • Let me put this out there the way I put it to my own kids: IF my son were to engage in such heinous behavior, he will pay the consequences for it. Yes, of course, I will get the best lawyer I can to defend him, yada yada -- BUT he will NOT victim blame. Brock's lawyer behaving that way is a reflection of his client's beliefs and behaviors - make no mistake.
  • As for my daughter: IF she were to be assaulted in that (or any) way, her attacker better pray that they get slammed with the maximum sentence (in this case, 14 years was the max), because otherwise as soon as they get out I will do everything to them that they did to her. Or, rather, I will hold them down while SHE takes her revenge in kind!

"Hey man," I can hear some of you saying to yourselves, "that seems awfully harsh. Is that really justice?"

Yes. Yes, it is.

Do not forget that one time when being interviewed by a law school (I was working for a lawyer at the time), I responded to a question that I believed in Trial By Combat as an effective means of conflict resolution. I think they thought I was joking... but I was not. I don't believe that choking someone to death over selling loose cigarettes is justice (as Eric Garner was), any more than I believe jail time for stealing all of someone's money is (as Bernard Madoff is). But I am also not a fool enough to believe in the courts to do my job for me...

"First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers!Henry VI Part 2 / Act 4 Scene 2

Honestly, what is it that creates people like Brock & Dan? I feel like it is this area...

The SAME area where in 2012, Jesse Whitaker from (nearby) Bellbrook was 17 when he killed three (3) fellow classmates crashing the truck he was driving. Then he got busted at age 20 in another car accident - which was a DUI (still underage!). Then a couple weeks later got busted AGAIN for underage drinking at University of Dayton!! This is only one of many examples of privilege - and what brings them about talked about in this article:

And why don't the Police do anything? Or, rather, aren't I worried about the Police if I exact revenge on someone? Well - this is a Police Department still unable to find a suspect for the killing of one of their own (Officer Kevin Brame) nearly 17 years ago. And have "exhausted all leads" trying to find any suspect in the stabbing of a 2nd grader on the playground of her own school just over a month ago. One officer personally told me how the department had busted a student from nearby Wright State University with a car trunk full of drugs - obviously meant for sale - but had all charges dropped when the (white) kid's dad got him a lawyer. I'm not worried.

While I am not saying that this area is part of the problem... I am saying that this area is part of the problem. OH - and stop calling him an "ex-swimmer," or whatever. Call him what he is:  BROCK ALLAN TURNER IS A RAPIST.

This a**hole right here. Brock Tuner: Rapist.
* In this Buzzfeed article is a letter from the woman who was assaulted (which she read aloud in court):
* Help remove Judge Aaron Perky from the bench:
* Dan A & Carleen Turner (Brock's parents) no longer live at 230 Volusia Avenue in Oakwood. Here are some details about them:

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Hanging Out At the Mall

There he is... just 10-years of good-looking!
So it finally happened... my 10-year-old son was invited to hang out with some girls at the mall.

A day we have sort of been dreading a bit - not that we dislike his friends or anything, but this is a step in a new direction. Of course - at only 10-years-old - his mother will not allow him to go to the mall by himself. And she considers going with friends at his age to still be going "by himself."

One of the young ladies' mother was accompanying them - but the plans were for a five hour extravaganza of shopping, eating, more shopping and more eating... frankly, I do not have that kind of time to be following a bunch of kids around. Luckily, once we were there, the parents all put their heads together and decided the day would be significantly shorter.

Side note: my son is (still) grounded. When he brought up this idea of going to the mall with his friends we were not too happy about it. We required some above & beyond good behavior from him in order for him to get to do this.

While he did not completely deliver on acting right – it was enough that we decided to go ahead and let him go. Mostly, because he had done nothing but talk about this event and all the plans all week and we were curious to see how it would go… But he was going to be accompanied by our whole family!

The other parents involved were great – and happy enough to all leave their children in the company of the one parent. I do not know if they were happy to see that my family was tagging along as well (me in my kilt & Doc Martens, my girl all gothic out, and the little sister along as well), but it did give us the opportunity to meet with some of his friends’ parents.

I am having a great time!
I was a lot more willing to let the kids run around partially unsupervised than my son’s mother! The girl’s mother who was accompanying them was even more hands-off than I was. And, really, it was not a problem because, to their credit, the kids acted respectably. They looked through a clothing store, trying things on and looking through accessories.

Next, to the bookstore (which I was very happy to see them interested in), then to dinner, before dessert at another place, and lastly there was running around and playing open square of this outdoor mall.

Over dinner, I asked my daughter (since we were sitting at one table, the mothers at another, and the other kids at a third) if she thought that my son liked the one girl. My daughter said absolutely. I asked my daughter if she thought that the girl liked my son... and my daugher said no.

He is destined for heartbreak.

From the conversation with this girl's mother, her daughter is very dominant - something her mother says she learned from her. Strong-willed and willing to go after what she wants. This is good - I want my son to meet these kind of strong women and have them in his life.

But at the same time, this girl is only putting up with my son. He is too willing to just do whatever it is she tells him to do. A couple times while they were all running around in the square, I called him over to point out to him he needed to stop doing whatever it was that they asked (as it involved him taking a diving roll off a wall and running at full speed through the square - apparently for a Vine video or something they were shooting. Once or twice, fine - but by the seventh & eighth time he was doing it, I was like, "enough!").

My son told me that he did what they asked because he respected them - and I realized he is not at the point yet where he understands being respectful does not mean just doing whatever you are told.

A lesson he will (hopefully_ learn soon.
Dating?! Aaaauuugggghhh!!!!!!

Friday, April 22, 2016

What PRINCE Taught Me About Dating

Prince in "Purple Rain" - image from Warner Bros.
If you did not know me growing up - then you definitely do not know what an influence Prince had on my childhood. When I was a kid I learned nearly everything I know and continue to espouse about dating through Prince and his albums & movies: mostly misogyny, domestic abuse, domestic assault, sexism, and overt sexuality.

"Eat it, Reverend Tommy Gunn!" I can hear you saying. "Do NOT talk badly about Prince!!"

Before you start typing your replies to the above, indulge me and keep reading to the end.

I was introduced to Prince by some friends, and specifically by a girl who lived down the street from me. Her life was very different from my own, I thought she was gorgeous, and I was pretty enamored with her. And she loved Prince -- and, being into music, anyway,  I became pretty enamored with Prince as well. Becoming a freshman in High School in 1981-82, in a small midwest town with hardly any black families... he was something very different from the sort-of sanitized "Michael Jackson" type of thing being shoved down our throats at the time.

This girl had an older brother - and he introduced us to Prince's earlier albums: For YouPrince, Dirty Mind, and Controversy. The lyrics, full of graphic imagery and overt sexuality that I had not heard before in any of the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, or musical score albums my own parents had. I had only just gotten my first FM radio (that was MINE that I could control where it was set) the year before and it was stuck on the one local rock station -- WTUE, which played a lot of Lynard Skynard, Led Zeppelin, and the like. All the music that I still associate with the county fair. So other than those, AC/DC's Back In Black album (which I had a bootleg cassette tape of), a DEVO album I had purchased in Jr. High, and the albums I would check out of the library, my music choices were pretty sanitary and limited. Like my life.

To have someone actually sing pretty graphically about "am I black or white? am I straight or gay?," head, incest, sex, love (and the switching back and forth of the two until they were one)... it was really eye-opening. So much of me thinking while listening, "wait... you can do that?!" And I was hearing these things at the same time that my own sexuality was coming to the forefront of my life. Before this it was junior high locker room talk with no meaning. I had "girl friends" here and there, but no idea what I was supposed to do with them - so it always ended badly. So while all of this was going down - I was getting desperate to figure out what it was women wanted and how I could make them want ME!

THEN, in 1982, I got a copy of 1999 from the library once they got a copy - and I was blown away!! And so I kept checking it out and playing it until it was finally worn out - much to the chagrin of the librarians. I would say to the chagrin of my folks - but I never played it when they were around. I knew better. That album led me to checking out The Ohio Players, Parliament Funkadelic, and James Brown... but that is not important right now - we are here to discuss dating tips!

In a nutshell: I was not just fascinated by the imagery and such - I really, REALLY liked the music, too. So I was now something of a Prince fan - not just listening to his music to get in this girl's pants. In 1984, everything changed.

The movie and soundtrack for Purple Rain came out.

Prince performing in "Purple Rain" - image from Warner Bros.
From the first time I saw the video for "When Doves Cry," I was hooked. The costumes, the imagery... all coupled with the amazing music which was unlike anything else I was hearing. While I was never allowed to go see Purple Rain at a movie theater - I got to see a lot of the videos, and hear the soundtrack which my friends had. Eventually, I got my own cassette of it - and then got to watch the movie on videotape... probably Betamax.

And my life changed.

Besides the excitement of the live concert footage, combined with seeing someone I could identify with (no... not a black man from Minneapolis), an artistic, misunderstood introvert who was could hardly bring himself to talk to a girl he liked (fair enough: I was kind of dumb back then). AND so many of the girls I knew just thought Prince was SO sexy and gorgeous and... you get the idea.

Now, in the universe of Prince's Purple Rain, women are not treated very well. They are (in no particular order) slapped, punched, tricked into jumping into a lake, thrown into a dumpster, ignored, objectified, made fun of, verbally assaulted, molested, insulted, downtrodden, dehumanized, relegated to supporting roles, forced to perform simulated sexual acts (on stage), forced to wear only lingerie as clothing, and ripped off - while portrayed as alcoholic, cheating, catty, bitchy, thieving, self-centered rip-off artist damsels who need saving.

Didn't remember all that, did you?

The teenaged-brain part of me was just like, "Wow! Hot chicks in lingerie!"

Understand that because I was pretty effectively the equivalent of a giant nerd, I was not just a someone who admired Prince. I wanted to be Prince! At least, as much as an untalented, scrawny mostly-white kid living in southwestern Ohio can be a multi-talented "am I black or white? am I straight or gay" musical genius from Minneapolis with amazing artistic talent and the wherewithal to know it could be.

So, obviously, I dressed like Prince (a great combination of studded leather, lace, and velvet), I acted like Prince (or, at least, like Prince behaved as The Kid in Purple Rain), and all around tried to purport myself in a "Prince-like" manner at all times. I also wanted to "wow" audiences the way that Prince did. I wanted women to want me the way they wanted Prince.

Sure, in retrospect, it made me just another poseur - and kind of a pain in the ass to anyone who knew me that suddenly I was acting like this tiny black genius from Minneapolis as a sophomore in an Ohio High School who came from a good family with no problems, could barely play two instruments (trombone & piano... not a lot of call for that kind of thing), and whose singing was really just not that great (though in my mind it was... oh, yes).

One thing I did have an amazingly artistic father who happened to have a huge collection of cool historical costumes I could raid whenever I was sneaky enough. So, when it came right down to it - the only thing I really could do was dress like Prince dressed onstage. All the time. Not really the kind of thing you should walk into a southwestern small-town Ohio grocery store wearing on a Wednesday afternoon in 1984.

Did it get me girls? I like to think it did... Besides the girl down the street, a new girl moved into town and went to our school I also thought was beautiful - and she was into Prince, too! She ended up not really being into me - but her friend was (and that was okay with me - I am sure Prince would have approved). Plenty of other lovely young ladies were intrigued with me, as well (though I do not really know if it was because I dressed as Prince, or if they really found me interesting). So I did what I assumed were Prince-ly things and wrote them poetry, pined after them, drew crying faces in flowery notes...

Oh, man... this is kind of embarrassing to remember...

Anyway, I basically did what I really think all shy, pubescent boys do at some point: I pretended like I was a man of the world who knew what I was doing. It worked as much for me as it did for anyone. There was just so much I did not understand about women, relationships, dating, or much of anything. If I had had any idea at all, I am sure things would have gone better.

Luckily at some point early on, the voices of the women I knew - including my own mum - pointed out to me how badly the women are treated by the men in Purple Rain. And I was smart enough to realize it was true... In the movie, it is really Morris Day who treats women in an all-out dismissive fashion. But Prince treats them badly, too, in much more subversive fashion.  I resolved never to do that.

At the end of the film, though, Prince redeems himself a bit. Gives Wendy & Lisa their break - recognizing them as fellow artists. Helps his folks. Gets back together with Apollonia. All in all - not too bad, considering. Morris Day never redeems himself...

My love of performing has stayed with me. Though I finally realized I did not have the musical talent - I did manage to take my knowledge of showmanship and find another way to "wow" audiences. There may never be the audiences for what I do like there are for Prince - BUT I can say that I have influenced folks in the industry and the audience. I have traveled my own way.

And I have learned how to treat women - and how NOT to treat the, too. Thank you, Prince. God Speed.

Here is an aside: when I was growing up, I wanted to be Prince. But when you see your Reverend Tommy Gunn today, he is obviously much more influenced by Morris Day (check out those suits! and that stage banter!).

Prince - image from

Thursday, March 31, 2016

I Have Authorized My Children To Act With Extreme Prejudice

Whether through withering look or Sith lordship - we will kill all...
Whether through withering look or Sith lordship - we will kill all...
We are watching this movie on Netflix called "The Hunting Grounds," about on-campus rape.

Obviously, I am very worried about my children as they grow up and head off to college. Both of them.

So I have authorized the both of them to act with Extreme Prejudice against any attempted or would-be or successful rapist. By Extreme Prejudice, I mean I am giving them my permission for them to assault, even kill, their attacker either during the attack - or after.

This means that if they do choose to follow their college campus' rules of trying to prosecute their attacker first - and yet find their trust in the rules to be forsaken... I will assist them in taking their revenge.

"Did you say revenge?" you ask.

Um, yes... duh.

Had a talk with the kids the other day about what to do in case of an emergency at the house (or normal monthly safety meeting). These emergencies include what to do in case of home invasion (don't try it. seriously. you will be so screwed). We talked through a variety of scenarios (like you do), and during those they brought up several possible things that included a variety of attackers... more so than beyond standard B&E or home invasion. So much so, as the matter of fact, that in the end, we introduced them to the new choice:

You need to survive any attack so that you can revenge our deaths.

That's right - I told the kids to revenge our deaths. And then further, went through telling them to do it by any means possible. Going so far as to outline several ways that they could do it:
(1) Make friends with our attackers children. Gain their trust. In turn, gain their parents trust. Kill them all at a family gathering - making sure they know whose children you are before destroying all of them.
(2) Start dating one of them or their children. Make them fall totally in love with you! Then use their love to turn them against their family and the people who killed us. Make sure the one who falls in love with you takes the fall for everything and kills themselves, too.
(3) Gain political and social power. Use that power to destroy our attackers personal wealth and self-esteem. Force them into a situation where they kill themselves, or you have the chance to utterly destroy them - after revealing, of course, who you are and who your parents were.

The key point is that they must make sure their victims KNOW why this is happening to them.

So - this means that not only will this be our childrens' plans and their mode of attack - they are already for-armed against such attacks, too.

Just now Alice asked me what I was writing about and I told her - she pointed out that in this movie we are watching they talked about how a football player attacked & raped a girl, the college did nothing, she ended up killing herself after being threatened. Alice and I said - immediately - that we would make sure that football player ended up dead. And, honestly, kind of judged her father for not taking that kid out himself. ANYWAY - Alice said she would willingly go to jail for avenging our children by killing their attacker.

I pointed out to her that NEITHER of us will have to go to jail - that I will make sure someone else pays the price for it. At this point - most likely that person will be Donald Trump.

REVENGE IS A DISH BEST SERVED COLD.  - Shakespeare, bitches.

They've practiced. He can hit any spot he wants at any time... and so can she.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

And Then Everything Changed for the Monster

Everything Is About to Change...

So for my son, Grennan the Green Monster, everything has changed.

After we returned from Germany in early September, where the kids had been invited to perform on a German television show, his mother and I decided we were no longer happy with the all-boys school he has been attending the past seven years. This was not an easy decision for us - but extenuating circumstances forced us to make a move - and so we did.

For the first time, our son is attending a mix-gender school that does not require uniforms!

No, this is not the first time he has dealt with females in his life. Just because he went to an all-boys school does not mean he has not had contact with the opposite sex! With my kids' religious studies classes & swim team, along our shows and travels all over the country and world, neither of them is missing out on any human interaction.

Last year, my son even invited a couple of young ladies from his religion class to come to his big birthday/end of the school year bash at our house. I know some of you were asking how it went -- unfortunately, the ladies had soccer games and did not come. Sometimes I think soccer is what is ruining most young people's social interactions these days...

It is true that my son did tell a girl that he liked her. And she, in turn, told him that she liked him. It happened on July 4th during the fireworks display. Then after confessing their feelings for each other, they just stood side by side and watched the explosions. Kind of brought a tear to my eye...

What? Oh... yes, in case you were wondering, he and the young lady are not "dating" or "hanging out," "chilling with Netflix" or anything of that sort. They like each other - are friends - and do end up in the same place at the same time with each other... Where I keep a close eye on them!

BUT now my son was off to his first day at the new school... dressed to impress (see picture above)... and a little nervous about how it was going to go. His mother and I, plus his grandparents, all accompanied him to the new school, met with the principal, and even walked upstairs to see his classroom. Again, he was nervous, but in pretty good spirits. So were all of us!

THEN I looked into his classroom - and immediately saw her: a cute girl with green hair sitting in one of the seats.

I told his mom, I was like, "this is it." She did not notice the girl - but I sure did. And, sure enough, as soon as he arrived home and we asked how school was... Guess what? He could only talk about the green-haired girl in his class.

Oh, man.

Since the first day, it has only escalated. At one point our son proudly told us how he had been invited to join an all-girl group at recess (led by the green-haired girl). He said he was their new "Manscot." His mother was like, "I don't know what that means."

I was like, "I know EXACTLY what that means."

As the stories continued over the next week, and it was revealed that the girl had made my son her "robot protector" and had a "remote control" for his actions I finally had to pull him aside and tell him an inherent truth: "It's a slippery slope, kid. A slippery slope."

Next thing you know, you're wearing silly hats...