Category: Personal

Stuff about me or my family.

Why I Loved Scouting, but My Son Never got the Chance

My Scout Badges

My collection of 40 year-old Scout badges.

Firstly, Pride Month gets a do-over in July. It’s normally “National Ice Cream Month”, but I think we’re all good with combining them, right?
Secondly, I adored my time in scouts, now 40 years on, as well. Didn’t think much about exclusion while I was a member and I proudly wore my uniform to school for Scout Day. I learned a lot, much of which I still use regularly today.
So, when I had a son, I looked forward to not only enrolling him for the same experiences, but also becoming the “cool scout dad” that went on the trips, organized the snipe hunts and made everybody gag with Limburger and Sardine sandwiches (something my scout master introduced me too).
When he became old enough, shortly after we moved to Scranton, I went looking for a troop. Everybody was enthusiastic and welcoming… until they asked “What church do you belong too?” I explained that we don’t, that I was an atheist and that my kids were too young to decide. I was told that scouting didn’t permit atheists; that “no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.”
Now, to be fair, several of these “best citizens” and God-fearing men told me that we could “fake it”, but as a heathen atheist I found that ethically repugnant. We were turned off by the entire exercise and my son never became a scout. As I’ve watched him grow into a better man than I ever was, I know this was their loss, not his.

Extra Life 2017 Marathon is November 4!

Extra-Life LogoThe Extra-Life 2017 Marathon is less than three weeks away! November 4th will mark our team, the Vidiots, fourth year of participation. In that time our team has raised over $2,000 to benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Since 2008 Extra Life has raised over $30 Million for children. We welcome your donations and invite you to join our team if you’re so inclined!


We’ve got a PS4, a PS3, a small cabal of Nintendo Switches and an eager gaggle of classic 16-bit systems. We’ve got a tower of board and card games and Our Steam Link is ready to bring PC games to our TV and a proud, lonely PlayStation Vita stands united with a short-stack of Nintendo DS’s for private play. Controllers are charged and stacked like cordwood. Plentiful snacks are at hand! Caffeinated beverages are standing by!

Folks. We. Are. Ready!

Remembering Dave Allen

Dave Allen at LargeWay back in the history times when I was a child in the suburbs of Buffalo, I had a small TV in my bedroom. With the bent rabbit ears, I could pick up a small handful of channels and the clearest was WNED PBS, channel 17. As part of their “cultural offerings”, the channel showed British Comedies each evening ending with an episode of “Benny Hill” at 10 and “Dave Allen at Large” at 10:30.

Benny Hill’s antics – and his scantily clad Angels – may have gotten all of the attention, but I connected with more Dave Allen’s brand of intimate, laid back, yet deeply challenging humor. At the age of nine or ten, I often didn’t understand what he was talking about, but adored the quiet passion which which he said it.

He had a powerful ability to lovingly mock the institutions of authority, especially religion, while maintaining a genuine respect the people that formed them. Like all great comics, he ran the gamut from serious and complex to silly and shallow, but his body of work has a clear, overarching message: it’s a pretty damn good thing to be alive, so enjoy yourself and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

This wonderful biography captures much of the feelings that I have, although my exposure to him was quite small.

If you’ve never seen him, do yourself a favor and follow some of the related links. If you’re an old fan, I hope this brings a smile to your face.