Top 5 Father’s Day Gift Ideas

I’m writing this post as I sit comfortably on my Acela train on the way to Philadelphia listening to the Warriors vs. Cavs game (booked especially for you Deepak) getting texts from my wife about the trials and tribulations of her evening which consisted of a never ending game of whose bed is this anyway.  So, given this context, it’s quite possible and understandable that none of these top 5 will come to fruition.  Remember, these are just one man’s musings about his ideal Father’s Day experience(s).  Perhaps your man is more mature than me, or has better fashion sense, or doesn’t struggle with the same insecurities I have about his athletic prowess as a 5’8 Jewish kid who kept waiting for puberty to add the extra six inches I felt I needed to get that baseball scholarship to Stanford.  But I digress, here is my top 5!

Wardrobe labeling system:

I’m pretty sure that if I was a superhero, my moniker would be Captain Clash, capable of blinding you into submission with a lethal combination of brights and stripes.  I have a decent selection of ties, shirts of all iterations, but every single fucking time I try and figure out what to wear for a meeting, I invariably have to ask Emily, whether it matches.  You think I know that patterns on stripes can work, but when you have a pinstriped suit, your options are limited unless you’re going solid on either shirt or tie (or both).   Fuck me.  I only recently learned that black wasn’t a color but rather a shade.  Is my request too much to ask?  I need you to explicitly identify which shirts go with which ties, and with what pants because I’m flummoxed.  Truly, make a grid, label it, take pictures of various outfits with either approve or a big x through it.  I don’t care what the system is, just can I have one.  It’ll be the gift that keeps on giving for both you and me.

Tickets to an annual sporting event:

Look, I’m going top shelf on some of these.  So, Celtics vs. Knicks at MSG would be killer as would regular season Pats or Sox tickets (and if you can somehow convince the boys to come with me to a game, that’s a bonus).  But, I’m about to go to the NBA Draft next Thursday, an event which is three years in the making, ever since the Celts pulled off the coup that was the KG and Paul Pierce trade with the Nets.  Like many Celts fans I know, game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals was more important to me as Lottery Night, and my heart was a bit crushed when we only got the 3rd pick, but in Danny we Trust.  So, what’s next?  Well, I’ve never been to an All Star game in any sport.  Ditto to the Final Four. My buddy is currently at the Warriors potential close out game with his wife (update: they lost), now that’s what I’m talking about.  I never said these were all realistic ones, but hey, a man can dream can’t he?

Tickets to a music festival:

I think it was 2005 that we went to Bonnaroo for an epic music experience.  Friends from philly and from college all gathered to party for 3 days and listen to music.  Interestingly, the highlights from that weekend were hearing John Mayer shred on guitar with Herbie Hancock as part of the Headhunters and the fact that they had a batting cage set up at the festival.  Yeah, David Ellowitch, you go make your drum, I’ll be right here at the cages reliving my childhood at Fox Point, Route 44, and the Classical High baseball team.  The lineup was insane and included the likes of Government Mule, Trey, Bela Fleck, Jurassic 5, and the list goes on and on.  Now, 3 kids later the festival ship has sailed, but maybe, just for a day, we can retreat to acting like 25 year olds again.  I actually saw that the Roots have a festival in NYC but the dates don’t jive with our schedules.  I mean seriously, is there a cooler mother f’er than Questlove.  Since that can’t happen, what about me, my lady, and the Real Slim Shady?

Beer festival:

I think this was given to me for Father’s Day two years ago.  The actual festival was 1-5, but the limo ride was a clutch touch.  And if you think we came home to help with bedtime, you don’t know how I roll.  Just chalk this up to a day minus your husband because the day can’t end with milky, bathtub wars, or the previously documented songs to get your kid to go the F to sleep.  And really, this could be a brewery tour, a winery tour, or whatever you fancy?  Are you a toy bank collector, a picture of nectar?  Do you crochet or play croquet?   The list is practically endless.   The point is, this was a day where we could hang out with dudes, all other dads in the times I’ve gone, and not talk about kids.  Truly, it’s refreshing as I’m sure ladies’ nights are when you’re not talking about kids, but secretly we hope that you’re talking about how dead sexy your men are, which you’re not, but we wait up for you anyway because hey, it could happen.

Field Day . . .  but for us:

Truth be told, I didn’t attend Miles’ field day this year, but he loved it.  I kind of heard it was a little lame because the games were a bit soft, but make no mistake, a day like this for me would be legendary.  Back at Schechter we celebrated Lag BaOmer, which is a holiday that celebrates fire, bows and arrows, and the Kabbalah.  Now, let me clarify something about our version.  We didn’t build a bonfire from what I recall nor shoot a bow and arrow, and come to think of it, I’m not sure we studied the Kabbalah on that day, but we had Field Day, and that shit got real.  So, would I be looking to relive my youth at one of these?  Damn straight.  Bring the women, bring the kids, and let us get some testosterone out with various athletic pursuits, and then 5 minutes in quit because injuries have put us on the 15 day dl, so then we just grill out and chill out.  But man, that would be a glorious day.

Top five beers for chillin like a villain

I don’t always drink beer . . . shit, yes I do.  Dammit, I need to find a different way to approach this post.  How about the fact that I’m writing this post at just shy of 8 am, having been up since 5 (courtesy of kid #3).  I’m currently listening to the incessant bickering of kids #1 and #2. Fighting topics range from wanting alone time, to Lego battles that will invariably end with something smashed to pieces, to sword fights with wooden train tracks that they’ve now made into weapons (everything becomes a weapon somehow).  In about 5 minutes, there will no doubt be hitting, courtesy of middle child, then tattle tailing courtesy of the oldest one (which is now so rampant that instead of a swear jar we’ve instituted a tattle jar).  And after this battle subsides, I have to mentally prepare to coach pre-k soccer today, which is less soccer than it is red rover crossed with a rugby scrum.  But after that is over, I will partake in my weekly ritual which is to crack open a beer outside.  Then, hope that the baby has fallen asleep on the drive home so I can “monitor him” outside from a lounge chair.  And when I do get to taste the sweet victory of surviving this brutal experience, I plan to enjoy one of these 5 brews.

Rogue Dead Guy Ale

dead guy ale

Our first family vacation was when son #1 was six months old and my sister got married in Mt. Shasta, well not so much the town of Mt. Shasta as the mountain beside it which featured a 45 minute death drive with no guard rail and snowcapped summits in June . . . where we were camping . . . with a fucking baby.  Needless to say, the scenery and location were ideal . . .

After the wedding, we headed up the coast to Oregon, and my only requirement was that we visit the Rogue brewery and distillery because I needed some sweet dead guy ale and other brews straight from the source.  And when the bartender came over to ask what I wanted, I went Pulp Fiction on his ass and said “give me a mother fucking dead guy ale”. It’s almost always in stock in my beer fridge.  If not, I know I can just drive to my brother-in-law Tom’s house who always keeps some on hand for me.

Lagunitas IPA

lagunitas ipa

I believe it’s called an approachable IPA.  I mean seriously, is there a brewery that consistently churns out quality beers (that I can readily get) like Lagunitas does.  This is the beer that started my hopsploration and before there was an actual beer called All Day IPA from a different brewery, this was the one for me.  Not that I would recommend downing many of these in rapid succession, which is why breweries created session IPAs.  But on taste alone, I could devour this.  And just when I thought this beer couldn’t rank any higher, it started showing up at Costco.  Dear Lord.  Now we just need Costco to add beer tasting to the wondrous experience that is their sample heaven.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

sierra nevada

I was in a frat in college.  SigEp represent.  Each family within our frat had a beer and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was my families’ brew of choice.  At the time, when you’re drinking Natty Ice or the Beast or whatever other shit beer was on sale at Schnucks, Sierra Nevada was as craft as craft could get.  Fast forward 15 years later and I read an article about the top 10 beers (see, I like lists) that combine ABV punch with calorie sensibility and what ranks as #1, that’s right, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.  So in a sense, it’s almost like a beach body beer.

Bell’s Oberon

bells oberon

We lived in Philadelphia in an area called Manayunk- chairs marked your parking spot all winter if you dug your car out after a snowstorm, while summer was spent porch patrolling to people peep . .  . or maybe you prefer doing that via train (looking at you Liz McLearn).  On one such day, my neighbor, who hailed from Michigan, cracked open an Oberon for me and I sipped perfection in a bottle.  Maybe it’s the label which is reminiscent of the artistic stylings of my sister in law Stacy, or the decent ABV at 5.8%, or just the amazingly refreshing taste that had me hooked, but pretty much that’s all I drank during that summer.  Then we moved to Long Island where porch partying transitioned to beach boozing and Bell’s came with.  By that time Oberon was available in 16 ounce cans.  To paraphrase Snoop, I was rolling down the (beach) . . .  sipping on cans of brews.




Wait, didn’t I just say top 5 beers and I’m putting a whole brewery on this?  Cop out? Sure.  But I have so many good memories of Hershey, from my annual pilgrimage there for Pete and C, to family vacations with our good friends the Melvins.  Shit, our kid’s nickname is baby Hershey so there’s that.  Moving on.  At the epicenter of the Hershey experience is Troegs. Whether it’s hosting a dinner and my team getting busted for drinking wine in the bathroom or kicking off a conference in style with my homeboys Sean and Mark doing some light recon work, Troegs has been my go to place. Then there’s my favorite memory, which is the let’s leave the women and children at the hotel after a six hour drive to ostensibly provide food for everyone, only to return an hour later multiple beers deep with no food visit to Troegs (not recommended).  Sipping on any beer from Troegs, from the Hopback Amber to the Nugget Nectar (best name ever) to my wife’s favorite, the Belgian Tripel LaGrave, is like taking a stroll down memory lane.  So head to Hershey yourself where beer + chocolate + theme park = the whole family passed out by 9 after a perfect day.