Why does Trump Have A Problem With Women?

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 9.25.19 AMIt’s a scene that can be played out on televisions everywhere:

Child enters the room (waaay past her bedtime) and in the most adorable of ways drops this little gem:

“Daddy, what’s a b*#ch?”

Dad knows the drill all too well, giving his wife the “it wasn’t me” look while hoping to God the child didn’t hear it from him.

“Where did you hear that word?” Dad asks, demanding an answer, but not really because there lies the very real possibility that one simple word will basically guarantee the panicky father many nights in the doghouse:

“You.”

Cue the lame laugh track.

Thanks to Donald Trump and his sad trail of misogyny, degradation of women and racism (to name a few of his deplorable qualities), dads like the example above now have the ultimate scapegoat. See how differently the scene plays out when you apply the Trumped Up, Trickle Blame Down method to such a scenario:

Cut to child entering the room.

“Daddy, what’s a b*#ch?”

Dad gets angry, looks at mommy.

“You see! This is what happens when we let the kids watch Trump debates! He’s starting to rub off on her!”

Dad leaves room in disgust (a brilliant move in the event dad wants to laugh). Dad then opens the fridge (looking for a beer):

“That’s another reason we’re not voting for Trump!” he yells at the grapes.

All joking aside, this isn’t some made-up television show with a fake laugh track. This is real. And based on last Monday night’s debate performance, Trump’s a guy that’s unprepared, unrefined, unfiltered and unfocused. Hell, he may have spent more time talking about a woman’s weight and (I can’t believe I’m typing this) Rosie O’Donnell than to better explain his policies that would “Make America Great Again.”

“Why is that man so angry?” my 4-year-old asks, staring at the Dorito-faced man with the feathered front comb over.

“The woman in red is kicking his, uh, is much smarter than he is and it makes him angry.” My God, it’s starting to rub off on me!

Any child will ask a ton of questions. But what happens when my older daughters start asking tougher questions. Like, “What is the big freaking deal with Trump and women? Why does he seem to have a *problem with us?”

*There are 134,000,000 search results when you Bing the following phrase: Trump’s Issues With Women.

I might not be the smartest parent in my house, but I’m pretty sure about this: I wouldn’t want anyone, much less a presidential candidate, talking about one of my daughters the way Trump has talked about some women. In a world rife with bullies, body shaming and perverted Internet trolls, hearing Trump describe former Miss Universe Alicia Machado as Miss Piggy, Miss Housekeeping or an eating machine makes my skin crawl.

Realize, people, that I’m not even talking about his politics. And for Trump, that’s a huge problem. It’s a problem because that’s what we should be discussing. Instead, he’s citing phony polls, defending his actions and threatening to bring up Bill Clinton’s infidelities as a way to play mind games before the next debate.

And for some odd reason we continue to give him a free pass for this odd behavior/strategy. What if we all took a page from Donald and applied his Trumped Up, Trickle Blame Down method for all of our discrepancies?

  • Your daughter learned a new cuss word because you didn’t change the channel from Howard Stern? Blame it on satellite radio technology!
  • Don’t want to pay your Federal taxes? Disagree with how the government uses the money and don’t pay!

You see, by applying the Trumped Up, Trickle Blame Down method, you can skirt any issue and deflect the way Donald has his entire career. With enough practice, you, too, may find yourself blaming a microphone, a mean debate moderator, a Mexican-American judge, the liberal media, etc.

Believe me, this is not an endorsement for Hillary Clinton as much as this is an appeal for decency and respect. Want to know why Trump has dragged this election into the pits of Kardashia? Because we’re suckers for this type of content, that’s why. We’re a growing population of timeline-scrolling zombies with the attention spans of cats on crack. We’re fascinated with wreck on the side of the road, which is why so many people watched last Monday’s debate – we were waiting for the wreck and Trump came through!

Many people feel that we don’t have quality candidates this election cycle. My response is, uh, yeah, we actually did. But we sold ourselves short by choosing the entertainment value of a Trump candidacy over qualified candidates who actually respected the office they were seeking.

If we want better candidates, then we have to be better, too. And it starts at home with me. You. We try and teach our kids right from wrong and that doing the right thing is important. We want them to treat others the way they expect to be treated. And that includes the way this dad wants his daughter’s to be treated.

It’s hard to take a candidate and his policies seriously when he can’t seem to take women seriously.


Dorito-faced man in suit enters the Oval Office, sits on gold-plated chair.

“I asked you to bring me my coffee, you fat cow,” Trump barks.

Enter a panting Chris Christie holding a coffee cup. He stares off into the distance, wondering how a once-promising career led him to be Donald Trump’s b*#ch.

Cue sad music. Fade to black.


New book – Pancakes For Dinner! (Waldorf Press) – out September 15, 2017. Follow me on Twitter @phillipdcortez

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Dear Matt Forte…

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“It’s an honor to play for such a great owner,” Forte didn’t say.

We’ve started our 2016 Fantasy Football campaign on the right track, despite a Week 1 loss to something called Oprah’s Circle. And even though you hardly played in the pre-season, you’re over 30-years-old and toting the rock with a new team, the 915 Ballers are looking to devastate the league this season, led, of course, by you. And me.

Us.

Week 2’s tilt versus some team called Year of the Raging Chinamen has our squad up a fat 28 points heading into Sunday. If only I could have picked you up in the other fantasy football league I got suckered into joining (even though my team did manage to beat Kiss My Big *I Can’t mention the rest of the name because you and I are decent men of faith and esteem but it rhymes with Lass), the victory would have been sweeter with you in my lineup.

Thursday was a thing of beauty, you scampering through a porous Buffalo defense en route to 100 yards and three TDs – me with the foresight and cunning to insert you into the lineup.

Can you believe that this is my 20th year playing fantasy football? It seems like only yesterday that I was fidgeting with a team that featured one of your New York Jets predecessors, Curtis Martin. Curtis took me to the playoffs that year – here’s to you doing the same! Together we’re going to beat the likes of the Saltydogs, Yeehawks, Scout Snipers and my brother, Paul’s stupid team: Lick My (And once again, I apologize for his vulgarities, but it rhymes with Malls).

As I reflect on the last 20 years I recall the people who called me and my friends, nerds and dorks and all kinds of names because of our passion for sports. Today the very same people that labeled us are now playing against us, as millions of people throughout the world, from CEOs to porn stars, are playing fantasy sports. Matt, my mother is playing in our league (and I’m too embarrassed to tell you her team’s name).

In essence, Matt, I’d like to think that we were ahead of the curve, trailblazers with foresight – personally I forget my kids’ names at least 20 times a day but ask me who still holds the rookie rushing title set in 1983 and that would be one Eric Demetric Dickerson, thank you very much.

So much has changed in my life since that very first fantasy draft, Matt. Technology has evolved (we don’t need an abacus to figure out scores anymore), the guys in the league are separated by many miles and even oceans but we still manage to talk as much smack to each other in our 40’s (and 50’s Keith Garcia) as we did when we were teenagers going to college in Honolulu.

We’ve managed to weave our league into our every day lives during the season, something that takes skill and moxy. In 1999 while living in San Francisco, I dated a girl with big toes for thumbs (I found it intriguing at the time) that absolutely hated my involvement in the league. So I faked a stomach virus and many “trips to the bathroom (laptop)” for an entire weekend just so I could get through the draft that season. It was the same girl that shared my desire to never have children. Today, I stopped counting after my wife and I gave birth to our fifth child. Or is it four? Anyway…

You know, Matt, I used to think that managing a team in this league helped me stay on top of the happenings and goings of some pretty incredible people I met a long time ago. And that certainly hasn’t changed. But in addition to this, I see this time of year as the outlet I need to keep me from losing my mind. I mean with all these kids (this includes three girls, mind you), the league is the equivalent to how most parents feel using the bathroom in peace, free from interruptions, knocks and tiny fingers sticking under the door.

You understand. You’re a baller – a 915 Baller.

Here’s to an incredible season of domination, Matt (so long as you stay healthy and average 15 fantasy points a week).

Your friend and GM,

Phillip


NEW Book Update: “Pancakes For Dinner!” (Waldorf Press) will be included in Book Expo America, held in New York City in May 2017! The expo is North America’s largest gathering of professionals from around the globe and is the leading business event for publishers, librarians, retailers and more.


Schools are already booking their 2016-17 readings and events. Make sure to schedule yours today!

The Very First, First Day

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“Don’t let that smile fool you,” I warned her teacher.

The busy elementary hallway might as well have been a crowded airport terminal, with drop-offs, angst-filled passengers sprinting towards their gates and sloppy good-byes. One kid we passed along our way to my daughter’s classroom was clutching his mother’s leg, sobbing so hard that he…couldn’t…catch…his…breath.

The first day of school is an emotional event for both parents and kids, especially when it’s the first day of Pre-K. And so last Monday, it happened to be my daughter Zoe’s very first day. Zoe represents the last of our four children to begin her educational journey – and it began slowly.

We walked down the hall, every step was carefully measured the way a barefoot parent walks through a child’s toy-riddled room in the dark. I tried to steer her clear of as many crying kids as I could, if anything to help support my efforts in convincing her that school was an awesome place where she could make friends and have fun and eat cool snacks.

This attempt was futile, of course. One kid ran out of his classroom and chased down his mother like a lion to a gazelle, which caught a lot of people by surprise. It reminded me of a jailbreak, the look on the boy’s face was one of sheer determination and panic (“You will not take me alive!”).

“Why can’t I just stay at Grandma’s house?” Zoe asked my wife and I in the days leading up to the First Day.

“Because you have to go to school and learn,” I responded, which, to a smart 4-year-old probably sounded like a stupid canned response all parents are supposed to say as if the government was secretly eavesdropping on us.

The more I thought about it, the more this 4-year-old had a point. Thanks to the extended time she has spent with her grandma, Zoe knows how to speak Spanish, she knows how to share, give and love. She’s learned to be compassionate, not just in seeing her grandmother’s interaction with others, but the child truly has expressed concern over her grandmother’s well being. To say that these two have formed a unique bond would be an understatement.

But sometimes you have to go with the stupid canned response to certain questions kids ask.

Because as much as you have benefitted from being exposed to your grandmother the last several years, going to school and developing relationships with kids your own age is going to help you actually apply the terrific qualities that grandma has taught you. You need school because this is where you get to use those street smarts, the ones that are going to get you in (and more importantly) out of trouble. It’s where you’re going to learn how to adapt, how to respond to adversity, stupid bullies, jealous you-know-whats and other creeps, I wanted to rant but couldn’t because what father actually says these things to a 4-year-old?

Even though I’m all grown up now (my maturity is a little in question, I’ll admit), I still miss my grandma. I miss the way she worked her old stove like some festival DJ, spinning delicious magic at the drop of a hat. I remember feeling safe, sound and carefree every time I paid her visit.

So I totally get where Zoe is coming from.

It’s a feeling I want all four of my children to always remember because even though they’ll grow up and carve out their own paths, I want them to understand that no matter how far that path takes them, no matter how chaotic and noisy the world can be, they will never be too far removed from that feeling of safety, security and love they experienced when they were little.

***

Like a scene out of Platoon, Zoe dropped everything and ran to me as if to avoid a huge grenade blast (in what seemed like super slo-mo) when I picked her up later that day. She cried on my shoulder as I carried her to the car.

“Do we have to do this again tomorrow?” she asked.


I love visiting schools and talking to kids. I’m currently writing a collection of short stories and essays called Your Poor Mother: The trials of raising 5 sons. My next children’s book, Pancakes For Dinner! will be published by Waldorf Publishing in 2017.

God is laughing at me

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Fine, I give up. Just paint on me already.

I knew what my mother was trying to say to me the day I accidentally dialed her number, my cell phone tucked away in my front pants pocket. And while the majority of the universe knows what a “butt dial” is, I guess not everyone knows how to use the term correctly.

“Did you booty call me?” she happily chirped, a question no son should ever hear from his mother. Ever.

I would have openly wept had it not been for my 6-year-old daughter, Ava, who was sitting in the back seat on the way to school, pillaging through the lunch I had carefully made for her to make sure it was “good enough.”

Note: Even 1st graders understand that there’s serious street cred to be won or lost in school lunch rooms; nobody wants to be that kid who unearths a soggy tuna fish sandwich out of their paper sack.

“Daddy, I told you to give me half a sandwich because I never finish it,” Ava gasped. “Why do you give me a napkin? They have plenty at school.”

“The napkins at school don’t say ‘I love you’ on them, that’s why,” I reply, her eyes roll in the rearview mirror.

The conversation quickly turns to the jazz music I am listening to.

“Daddy can I hear my music, please?” she asks.

Why not, I think. It’s a short ride to school and I like her to be upbeat when I drop her off. Not all of today’s music is total crap despite what some critics and aging rock stars may tell you. Besides, I enjoy seeing my daughter singing in the back seat.

Our youngest daughter, Zoe, is another story altogether. To my complete and utter dismay this 4-year-old has become a devout fan of Justin Bieber. She’s a full-fledged Belieber. And when it comes to her music, Zoe is a tyrant. If she says it’s her song, she really means it. That means I cannot partake in the singing and/or dancing of “her songs.”

“I thought Justin Bieber was that Hannah Montana girl?” I ask her.

“Daddy, Beaver is not a girl!” she screams.

I could care less about Bieber or any of today’s teen idols and boy bands that pop up every generation. They are but a piece in a larger puzzle assembled by moguls and businessmen and women. You plug a Bieber into a tried and tested formula, hit the start button and the machine spits out a manufactured pop star. Just add water. And in many cases, rainy puddles will have more depth to them than some of the lyrics we hear.

When I met you girl, my heart went knock-knock,
Now them butterflies in my stomach won’t stop stop…

Shakespeare, he is not.

It’s during these times I realize I have become my father, Car Radio Dictator, who reminded my brothers and I every chance he got that “Pat Metheny had more talent in his pinkie finger than Eddie Van Halen could ever have.”

I suppose that’s all part of the cycle, you know? Kids grow up, students become the masters, etc. “Enjoy them while you can,” people tell me all the time. And, of course, you love your kids. Until you hate them.

“Daddy, you don’t know how to draw! I wanted you to draw Olaf the snowman – that looks like an elephant, silly daddy!”

“Daddy you’re an old man, right?”

When she was four, Cameron our oldest daughter used to study me like a science experiment.

“Gross, why is there hair growing out of your nose?!” or “Eew, is that dirt in your belly button?!”

She’s now 18 and I die just a little bit every time she leaves the house. I guess our worries shift and change the older our kids get. From bumping their heads and slipping off the monkey bars as toddlers to which boy is going to break their hearts and how will they navigate through a minefield of perverted men scattered throughout the world, the worrying doesn’t stop.

It’s a different kind of worry for our oldest, Ivan. He’s 22 and about to graduate from college in May. And while raising a boy brings about another set of issues, I’m much more familiar in this area having been raised in a family of 5 boys and no sisters. We didn’t talk about feelings in the home I was raised in.

“Don’t look at me, asshole,” was our way of saying “This is a really emotional part of the movie and I’m actually tearing up right now.”

But Ivan will be leaving soon; I’ll be sailing through these unchartered, estrogen-laden waters alone.

Of course, life is much different for me today. I’d like to tell you that because of my wife and daughters I’m a more sensitive person, a man who’s more in touch with his feelings. I’m ashamed to admit that I may have made some strides in these areas thanks to these women. But in reality they’ve created a sucker, an easy mark. Crying will now get them everything.

In other words, I’m totally screwed.

“Payback is a bitch,” my mother reminds me daily, reveling in the fact that this was probably not what I had in mind at the notion of being surrounded by women one day.

“God’s laughing at me,” I reply.

For all I know God is a woman.


The new book, Summer Son/hijo del verano, will be published by Floricanto Press in the Spring of 2016. Follow me @phillipdcortez