P.C.Pop with Pablo

Father’s Day – Hey Groupon, I Ain’t That Guy!

In father's day, fatherhood, Malavenda, Men, Pablo Malavenda, parenting on June 19, 2016 at 6:20 am

fathersdayAs Father’s Day approaches — I once again have to accept the fact that I am not a “typical” dad. And my kids are used to explaining that our family is a bit “weird.”

Thanks to “Deal of the Day” websites and e-newsletters like Groupon & Living Social — we are further reminded of the stuff and activities that dads are supposed to like.

Groupon not only has Father’s Day deals that include cigars, meat (steaks), sports equipment, watches, recliners, grills, grilling tools, chain saws, lawn mowers, car detailing, beard grooming stuff, all kinds of things to help me carry my beer and keep it cold, and yes, ties — but they also have a post entitled, The Guide to Father’s Day Gifts. Groupon wants my kids to take me boxing, race go-carts, start a wood working project, jump out of a plane (tandem sky dive), taste a bunch of beers…and go to the shooting range (yes, guns), golf course, batting cage, rock climbing wall, go-cart track, etc. Not to mention that Home Depot, Lowe’s and Menard’s keep sending me emails promoting their gift cards as great Father’s Day gifts. Really?

Now, truth be told — I do enjoy some of these things, a few of these activities, and enjoy an occasional trip to the “hardware” store — BUT is this what they really think about fathers. Is this it? To be fair, Groupon has a deal for facials but they listed it under “wildcard” father’s day gifts.

These “Deals of the Day” sites have taken it to a new level.

My frustration stems from the fact that I was raised as a progressive, Mediterranean-American male – who does NOT fit any of the stereotypes of the typical man as defined by Groupon, the greeting card industry or by any marketing that is gender-based.

Greeting cards are the worst though. In general greeting cards reinforce all of the worst negative stereotypes about men, women, and several other historically oppressed peoples. Standing in the card store in front of the rack filled with greeting cards, I momentarily feel inadequate, left out, odd, and less than a man. I don’t golf, fish, drink beer, or demand dinner when I get home from a long day in the office. I DO cook and bake well; I work around the house; I respect my life partner (and still love her a lot); I love being a dad; I do laundry, iron, and put away clothes; I fill and empty the sink and dishwasher; I dress myself; and I put the toilet seat back down. Eventually I realize that I am very, very OK with NOT being the “guy.”

1963ish1 (2)My male role models in my family were studs – but they were respectful of their partners; they were romantic; could cook and did often; and dressed very well. They hugged and kissed their kids every day, said I love you to their wives, and went shopping, did laundry, and made dinner. Of course roles in relationships were different in the 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s – but I am a combination of their great traits and the expectations of modern times. Why then do the greeting card writers and marketing gurus still perpetuate these archaic, primitive, unenlightened behaviors featuring beer loving, Neanderthals, sloths, chauvinists who can’t cook and prefer hunting and fishing and golfing more than being with their family?

So what’s up? I doubt if the only Father who doesn’t fit their mold is me. I am sure there are other Fathers, perhaps the majority of Fathers, who can’t relate to the males depicted in these greeting cards. In such a competitive, commercial, and capitalistic industry – if it didn’t sell, they wouldn’t keep making them. So, who are these guys? – And who’s buying these cards or this stuff on Groupon? Are we just so lazy that we can do nothing more than surrender to the negative stereotypes of Dads? – No matter how offensive it is to both men and women.

Or it is that I – once again – am the only one who cares? (Probably not.)

So, now I must go and bake for the church brunch, hug my wife, do the laundry, drive my son to band practice, call my mom, text my wife that “she’s beautiful and I miss her,” sew my daughter’s shirt, tutor my kids in math, go grocery shopping, and get dinner ready for the family.

This is what this Father is doing – so, call us weird — but there are NO complaints here — because I’ve got the BEST job in the entire world!

Read more stories about growing up in my family and our traditions, check out these PC Pop posts:

Why I’m Saying Goodbye and Good Riddance to the Sanders Campaign

In Uncategorized on June 19, 2016 at 4:52 am

Thoughtful post about the journey to change and the transition from Bernie to Hillary. Read it all. You might learn something — and get inspired to take action.

This wouldn't all fit in my journal

First of all, it has nothing to do with Bernie himself. I still believe with all of my heart that he is the best candidate by miles. But today, I volunteered at the Missouri Democratic Convention, and every bit of unease I had before about voting for Hillary vanished. Here is why.

Let me start by explaining how the complicated delegate system works. Initially, before any voting is done, each congressional district in the state has a certain number of pledged delegates up for grabs. At the primaries, each candidate is awarded a certain portion of those delegates based on what percentage of the vote they got. Next, those who voted in the primary can run to fill one of these pledged delegate seats from their district at their District Convention. Pledged delegates go to the national convention to represent their candidate and cannot change their vote. If you…

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Flat Stanley travels to Indiana — Again

In Books, Children, Children's Literature, Comic Books, Education, Family, History, Lafayette Indiana, Literacy Month, Malavenda, NEA, NPR, Pablo Malavenda, Purdue, Reading Across America, Story Book Leadership, WBAA on May 29, 2016 at 9:12 pm

Dear Mrs. Burt’s Second Grade Class,

Thank you for sending Flat Stanley to visit me in Indiana. Flat Stanley and I have had a great time going to many of my favorite places in my hometown of West Lafayette as well as Lafayette, Franklin & Indianapolis, Indiana.

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First, I introduced Flat Stanley to my parents — as well as my brother, Maximilian, and our dog, Bailey (see the picture below). Max is a junior in high school; and Bailey is a “double dapple” miniature dachshund.

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Flat Stanley loved Bailey — but who can blame him? I then gave Flat Stanley a tour of our neighborhood, which is called Hadley Moors. It’s named after Hadley Lake which is near our house.

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Next, I brought Flat Stanley to see one of the many corn and soybean fields in Indiana. Indiana corn and soybeans are used all over the world for lots of foods like popcorn, tofu, corn syrup, soy milk, and even ethanol gas for your cars.

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Look at Flat Stanley next to the corn stalks. He’s almost as tall as them because they just started growing. By August those stalks will be over 15 feet tall.

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I then took Flat Stanley to school with me. I am a sophomore at William Henry Harrison High School in West Lafayette. Besides my classes, my favorite activities at school are the Sunshine Society, photography and band — I play the flute.

Below is a picture of Flat Stanley looking at some of the pictures I took this year. The picture I took of the purple flower and the bumblebee won first prize. It’s a coneflower (also named Echinacea) from our flower garden at our house.


My high school is named after President William Henry Harrison. President Harrison was from Indiana; and as the Governor of the Indiana territory, he led the Battle of Tippecanoe. The Battle of Tippecanoe is one of the most important battles in the history of our country – and it took place in 1811 (over 200 years ago) in the next town over from me – Battle Ground, Indiana. Our county is now named Tippecanoe; and the Wabash River separates our two cities – West Lafayette and Lafayette.

In addition to corn, Indiana is known as the “Crossroad of America” for many reasons including having lots of trains going through here.

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Flat Stanley & I are pictured on a bridge above the Four Corners Depot along the Wabash River in Downtown Lafayette.

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The Wabash River flows right into the Mississippi River. There are several trails and bridges that go along and over the Wabash River. Flat Stanley and I explored a few different parts of the Wabash River during his stay.

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My dad works at Lafayette Urban Ministry in Lafayette only four blocks from the River.

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Downtown Lafayette is a fun place to visit. Today Flat Stanley and I attended the “’Round the Fountain” Art Fair and the Farmer’s Market.

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The county courthouse for Tippecanoe County is in Lafayette, Indiana on the other side of the Wabash River. Above is a picture of Flat Stanley and me with the Tippecanoe County Courthouse in the background. On top of the courthouse dome is a 14 foot statue representing “Liberty.” In December the dome is filled with lights for the holidays.

Lafayette and West Lafayette were named after Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, who was a famous French General who helped President George Washington in the Revolutionary War.

Here is Flat Stanley with me at the courthouse fountain with a statue of General Lafayette.

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My hometown of West Lafayette is best known as the home of Purdue University.

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Purdue University is the flagship university of the State of Indiana. There are 40,000 students enrolled at Purdue. Purdue is named after John Purdue who gave land and money to the State of Indiana to start this state university. Flat Stanley and I are sitting below with the statue of John Purdue in front of the oldest building on campus, University Hall.

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Some of the famous alumni of Purdue include Orville Redenbacher (the popcorn guy); three NFL Super Bowl winning quarterbacks Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints), Len Dawson & Bob Griese (Miami Dolphins); John Wooden, basketball hall of famer; Ryan Newman, winner of the Daytona 500; Olympic gold medalist in diving, David Boudia; and 23 astronauts including Neil Armstrong. I actually got to meet Drew Brees when he was a student and heard Neil Armstrong speak at the dedication of this building — memories I will never forget.

Flat Stanley and I are pictured below at the Neil Armstrong statue in front of the Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering.

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My mom works in this building as the Communications & Marketing Coordinator for the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics in the College of Engineering.

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On display in Armstrong Hall are a full-scale replica of the Apollo 1 command module and a lunar sample also known as a “moon rock.” Flat Stanley and I are pictured above with the Apollo 1 space capsule. We are pictured below with the moon rock.

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We then went to the Purdue Airport. At Purdue, students can learn how to be pilots, airport managers, and air traffic controllers. All kinds of planes fly in and out of this airport including some really fast jets. The sports teams also use this airport to travel to games.

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West Lafayette is also the home of the Indiana Veterans’ Home. The Indiana Veterans’ Home is a place that helps all US veterans from the whole state of Indiana.

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I have been to the Veterans’ home many times to serve the veterans and to sing to them with my school choir on Veterans Day each November.

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The day we visited the Indiana Veterans’ Home there were lots of flags on display to celebrate and remember veterans on Memorial Day.

Flat Stanley and I then did a lot of my favorite things in town.

We started by visiting the Celery Bog and Lilly Nature Center.

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They have lots of cool programs like “how to catch fireflies.” My family often walk our dog, Bailey, on the trails here and ride our bikes on the bike trails.

There are lots of great restaurants in our town. While Flat Stanley was visiting, we ate at two of my favorite restaurants. Below, we’re at Igloo Frozen Custard where we shared a burger, fries and chocolate milk shake.

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Below, Flat Stanley and I stopped at the Dog N Suds Drive-in restaurant and had Coney Island chili dogs and Dog N Suds root beer in a frosted mug. My friend, Brett’s dad owns Dog N Suds.

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The next day we went to the Columbian Park in Lafayette. Columbian Park is named after Christopher Columbus. It is a great park.

It has a train that looks silly but is a lot of fun.

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It also has a really awesome water park called Tropicanoe Cove, which has water slides and a lazy river.

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The Columbian Park also has a Zoo. The Columbian Park Zoo is free!

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The Zoo has hedgehogs, miniature horses, spider monkeys, prairie dogs, chinchillas, foxes, singing dogs, goats, porcupines, tamanduas, pot-belled pigs, armadillos, wallabies, polecats, llamas, gibbons — and a lot of birds, reptiles and other animals.

Flat Stanley liked the spider monkeys and gibbons the best. When I was your age — I attended a Zoo camp and had to milk a goat. We visit the park, especially the zoo, a lot in the summer.

This year, the State of Indiana is celebrating its bicentennial. This means that Indiana became a state 200 years ago this year. There are a lot of events planned to celebrate the Indiana Bicentennial — including the BISON-tennial Bison Project (get it?).

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Each of the 92 counties will each have at least one Bison on display. Our county, Tippecanoe County, has three bison. Flat Stanley and I visited the one called “Guardians of the Bond,” which was painted by artist Elizabeth Lincourt (see picture above).

Another day, Flat Stanley and I traveled to Franklin, Indiana — home of Franklin College. The city of Franklin and the college are named for one of our country’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin. The City of Franklin is about 96 miles south of West Lafayette.

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Here is a picture of Flat Stanley and me at the Ben Franklin statue on the Franklin College campus.

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I was most excited to bring Flat Stanley to see me dance.

I am a member of the company dance team at Studio b in Lafayette.

I dance ballet, jazz, lyrical, and hip hop.

We compete several times a year. 2016-05-28 Flat Stanley 2007 (2)

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While Flat Stanley was visiting, we competed at the Groove Dance Competition in Indianapolis. Flat Stanley saw me dance in three different company routines and one ensemble with the entire company team. Dancing is a lot of fun — and we even get trophies sometimes.

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The picture above is Flat Stanley with the Studio b company team at Groove Indy.
Below is a selfie we took with my friend, Meredith.

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Lastly, Flat Stanley and I went to Mass at our church, St. Thomas Aquinas.

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Above Flat Stanley and I are outside the church. Below is a picture of Flat Stanley with our pastor, Fr. Patrick.

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Flat Stanley and I had a blast. I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures of all of the places Flat Stanley and I visited in Indiana. Thank you again for sending Flat Stanley to me. See you soon.

Your friend (& first cousin once removed),

Zoe Katherine


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