Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “Big Bang Theory”

What Fathers Really Want

I would blog this on Sunday, except everyone is too busy hitting the diner or firing up the grill and anyway I rarely blog on the weekend. Father’s Day has always been a bit anti-climatic for me, coming a few days after my birthday. Given our family’s busy schedule, we tend to spread birthdays over a few days (okay weeks).

imgresI saw an advertisement for Father’s Day on Amazon. They suggested you show your undying appreciation by buying your old man either a green-striped necktie or an HD Kindle Fire. I keep thinking about this. My kids have never bought me a tie for Father’s Day, and it had better be darn special if they ever do!

Now I often wear a  tie for work: anything from a power tie (usually striped) to a Jerry Garcia masterpiece (if I can get away with it). It infers a sense of confidence and raises my self-esteem – call me shallow, but I raise money for good causes and believe I am empowering the next generation to be socially conscious. Whatever it takes!

images-5But what does the tie signify? No, not incarceration, but time in the office … away from my family – the opposite of Fathers Day!

So then I started to think about the Kindle Fire. I don’t need one. I watch movies on a TV, read my books comfortably on my old black-and-white kindle, listen to music on my phone or iPod, and type my novels on a laptop. Life is tough!

Offering me another toy that can keep me engaged with social media, TV shows, connected to the office is exactly what I don’t need. And if I do – I will buy it myself.

What I, and most fathers (moms too – but you’ve had your day) need is time: time to unwind, time to pursue hobbies and good health, and most of all, time to spend with my family. No man on his deathbed ever regretted not spending more time at the office. No man in his memoir ever mused that his commute was only three hours a day.

traffic-jamSo what do I want for Father’s Day? I want to go fishing with my kids, take the family into the Redwoods and hike, picnic, and do some archery together. Perhaps we can tickle-fight on the bed or snuggle on the couch and watch another episode of Big Bang Theory even if we’ve seen it a dozen times and know the punch-lines by heart. Better yet, Lord of the Rings for the 100-th time. It doesn’t matter, as long as we are doing it together.

DSCN0951Because what a father really lacks … is time. Quality time with his family, before they grow up and move away and become adults in their own world. It’s not about the money spent, the thought that went into clicking the mouse to purchase a gift, or the wrapping. And this is a problem for Amazon and other retailers:

You can’t sell time. If you could: you wouldn’t need to sell ties and kindles for Father’s Day.



Alon Shalev writes social justice-themed novels and YA epic fantasy. He swears there is a connection. His latest books include: Unwanted Heroes and the 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Award for YA – At The Walls Of Galbrieth. Alon tweets at @alonshalevsf and @elfwriter.   For more about the author, check out his website.


My Cosmic Birthday – Roger Ingalls

According to western culture, I have a milestone birthday today.

For the past few weeks my wife has been telling our friends, “Roger has a big birthday coming up”. So everyone’s been asking, “How old are you?”

I pause and give a little smirky-smile before answering the question. My response is similar to the one I give when asked, “Where are you from?” I’m an alien, I come from the stars. I’m an evolving coalescent-blob of star dust with my family tree tracing back to the Big Bang. Just like everything else in the Universe, I’m 13.7 billion years old. Okay, scientifically speaking, many of the heavier elements that make up most of my body were created by hot stars 4.5 billion years ago but these newer elements were derived from the older ones.

Eventually, my body, like all things, will be broken down and recycled or reincarnated into something else. In a few billion years, when our sun supernovas, the elements that were once part of my body will be blown back into deep space, from where I once came.

Everything comes from the same place and is recycled over and over. The Universe, Earth and Mother Nature are in a constant cycle of building up and breaking down. In reality there is no hierarchical food chain and there is no survival of the fittest, all things – big and small – eventually get eaten by something.

Most people, when they take a moment to think, understand this cyclical process. But yet, modern society endorses an economic system based on infinite growth that is counter to the realities of nature. Infinite growth cannot and does not exist, all things break down. Look around, cheap energy is gone, clean water is limited, fertile soil is gone as well as many other essentials. Our economic system of taking without giving back has stripped the Earth of necessities required for long-term human existence. Humanity may have hit the apex with the breakdown soon beginning. If we continue with the infinite growth system, the fall will be catastrophic.

My birthday wish: extend man’s existence. To prolong humanity, we need to develop or return to an Earth friendly economic system. Man’s extinction and the return to stardust are inevitable but we can slow it down, if we wish.

For those interested, I turned 50 today. I’m feeling a little cosmic with a sense of urgency.


Roger Ingalls is well traveled and has seen the good and bad of many foreign governments. He hopes his blogging will encourage readers to think more deeply about the American political system and its impact on US citizens and the international community.

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