Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Straight-Talk Dating Advice for the Romatically Jaded

Imagine, you’re a nice, well-intentioned single guy and meet a woman for the first time. Possibly, you’re a single father, widower or divorced. You’ve taken the time to recover after the detonation of your previous committed relationship. Maybe, meeting with this young lady is the culmination of a connection from an on-line dating service or maybe the meeting is more organic and serendipitous. Either way, you have this wonderful opportunity to experience a woman who you think has the potential to be the other half of something uncommon.

Perhaps, during that first date or shortly thereafter, you realize that your romantic interest has been jaded from a previously failed relationship. She’s angry or distrusting and hasn’t found a productive outlet for those feelings. Heck, it could even be something that happened before her failed relationship, like childhood abuse or a similarly ghastly experience. Those earlier experiences could be the reason her other relationships failed. Very soon, you realize that the person with whom you connected is consciously (or more likely subconsciously) sabotaging the beautiful potential you may have together. Eventually, you realize there is no chance for love or a commitment because your romantic interest's experiences are unresolved.

It’s not just the fairer gender who is often jaded or emotionally unprepared for an intimate relationship. Sometimes, my brothers, it’s us.

Frankly, it’s very sad when two people who are compatible and who want the same things in life, aren’t able to sustain that connection due to unfortunate incidents that happened in the past. Yeah, if we burn our finger after touching the stove, we learn not to touch the stove. We have to remember, there are a lot of other ways to cook without burning our finger.

So, ask yourself, “Do I want my happily-ever-after?”

If the answer is, “Yes,” then this is what I want you to do.

First, be honest. You can’t expect honesty from someone else unless you’re willing to give it. Be honest with yourself about the sort of person and the sort of relationship you want. Then, be honest with your romantic interest about those things and everything else. Then, trust. Don’t worry. I get it. It’s not always easy to trust another person after someone else has broken yours. Remember, if another person wasn’t trustworthy, it wasn’t your fault. It was theirs and it’s a flaw in their character, not in yours. Perhaps, there was legitimate reason for that character deficiency, but don’t penalize yourself for someone else’s mistake. Finally, if you feel it, don’t be afraid to go all-in. There is so much to gain and so little to lose; in a hundred years, who will care whether you took a chance and succeed or took a chance and failed? All that matters is today and the time we have now. Wouldn’t you rather risk being made a fool than foregoing lifetime of real love?

Finally, if there is something else like an unfortunate childhood experience or another circumstance from which you need to heal, find help. I don’t encourage or discourage professional counseling, but I think there are a lot of ways to pull the root of that weed. Sometimes, an experienced family member or group of good friends is the best medicine.

A fairy tale?

No, life is not a fairytale and no leprechaun left you a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If you want happiness, you have to make it happen.

Good luck, my brothers. Now, get out there.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Best of The Single Father's Guide Original Memes - Volume I

The Single Father's Guide Blog ostensibly provides advice, news, and entertainment for single men who also happen to be single parents. Topics may include parenting, dating, social trends, entertainment, balancing work and family, and quite a lot more. I think these original memes cover just about everything. Enjoy.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

9 Things to Do in Warwick During Your Weekend Get-Away

Peach Grove Inn Bed 'n' Breakfast in Warwick, New York
I’ve worked very hard to create a life from which I don’t need a vacation. Of course, I’m still building and, like the lawn will always have to be mowed, light bulbs that will always need to be changed, and toilets that will always have to be scrubbed, I’ll probably always work at it. Still, three of the most important components of my perpetual construction project is location, location, and finally, location.

I’ve chosen the charming Village of Warwick, New York for my job site for reasons including good schools, an eclectic creative community, and a vibrant commercial base rooted in agri-tourism. As the fall harvest approaches, any New Yorker, Bostonian, Philadelphian, or Anybodian who plans to make a visit to my little hidden hamlet, I have a few enjoyable suggestions that may just keep you coming back.

5 Warwick Turnpike
Warwick, New York 10990

Warwick Drive-In (courtesy of TripAdvisor)
At the drive-in, even a bad movie is a good movie. (See my review jof Ghostbusters Reboot Dead on Arrival.) A remnant of the post World War II industrial boom when automobiles became affordable and people needed some place to take their car, drive-ins have become as scarce as hen's teeth. The Warwick Drive-In features three screens and two first-run movies on each. At $10 for adults and $8 for children, a nostalgic night watching a movie under the stars is well worth the investment.

Main Street Shopping
Main Street
Warwick, New York 10990

If you shop at Style Counsel located at 19 Main Street, make sure you say, "Hi," to Tim.
No matter whether you shop for only practical reasons like I do or you shop for sport like some ladies I know have, Main Street in Warwick is the place to go. From housewares and decorating needs (at Newhard's), the latest in stylish clothing (at Style Counsel), jewelry (at Forever Jewelers), craft beer (at Craft Beer Cellar), and almost anything between, before, or after, shopping on Warwick Main has something for just about everyone.

Clearview Vineyard
35 Clearview Lane
Warwick, New York 10990

While there are a number of wineries in the Warwick Valley that offer food, entertainment, and, yes, wine, for my money, Clearview Winery offers the best of the latter. I think, honestly, the reason Clearview Winery produces the best tasting wine is the fact that owner, Frank Graessle, supplements his grapes with both Long Island and California grapes. After sampling the varietals with your date, pick your favorite, and take a glass to the top of the vineyard for a great, “clear view" of Sugarloaf Mountain.

South Street & Railroad Avenue
Warwick, New York 10990

With humble beginnings as a harvest festival in 1989, Warwick AppleFest has grown into the largest annual event in Orange County drawing more than 30,000 visitors who enjoy live music, food, games, rides, and, of course, everything apples. If you plan to attend this year's edition of Warwick AppleFest on October 2, 2016, book your reservations now at one of the many charming area bed 'n' breakfasts.

Warwick AppleFest

Route 515
Vernon, New Jersey 07462

Offering another great view, this 7.3 round trip hike is a great family activity that begins on Route 515 in Vernon, New Jersey, includes boardwalks, a suspension bridge, across Route 94, and a moderately challenging hike up the Stairway to Heaven, also known as Waywayanda Mountain. A shorter version originates at Route 94. The view from the top is, in fact, heavenly and reaches its pinnacle during the change of the seasons in late September and through late October.

Albert Wisner Public Library
1 McFarland Lane
Warwick, New York 10990

Rainy day? No problem. Voted the Best Small Library in America 2016 by the Library Journal, The Albert Wisner Public Library is a part of the Ramapo-Catskill Regional Library System. If a volume isn't at the library itself, one of the helpful staff can have it in a day. Moreover, the perennial list of programs for children includes author visits, cartooning, cooking, Lego building, and much more.

45 Ball Road
Warwick, New York 10990

A fun father/children or father/date activity, Maskers Orchard is the first among the many area orchards that commuters from Northern New Jersey and New York City encounter as they enter the Town of Warwick on Route 17A through Greenwood Lake. Beginning in September, Maskers features live music, pony rides, a market, a maze, and more. Maskers also happens to grow the best tasting example of my favorite variety of apple. No, I won’t tell you the name because all of you will pick the trees clean and won’t leave any for me. Bring a picnic and spend the day. Be prepared for a trunk search by a teenage employee as you drive out to prevent apple pilfering. The cost for a half bushel this year is $27.95.

Amy and; Tim Noteboom
1390 Route 17A
Warwick, New York 10990

TripAdvisor.com ranked Bellvale Farms Creamery as the second best ice cream stand in the United States. (The first must be pretty amazing.) Amy and Tim Noteboom’s store located at the top of Mount Peter half way between the Village of Warwick and the Village of Greenwood Lake not only offers a wide variety of ice cream flavors made from milk and cream harvested from its own dairy cows just a couple of miles away, but also provides a breathtaking view that includes a birds of prey migratory path, the Poconos to the west, and the Catskill Mountains to the north. In the spirit of full disclosure, my Second Beautiful Daughter works the counter. If you see her, say, "Hello."

Railroad Avenue
Warwick, New York 10990

E'lissa Jones
Produced by Bill Iurato, owner of Peck’s Wine and Spirits, the Warwick Summer Concert Series features top musicians from the region and beyond. The 2016 series has included Free Shrimp Band, Mark Egan, and New York Swing Exchange. Still to come are Emish, E’lissa Jones Band, Frank Vignola, and Some Guys and a Broad. Grab a lawn chair, cheese and crackers, and a cooler. You won’t need any cash, though. The Warwick Concert Series on Railroad Green is free.

If you’re making anything more than a day trip, check out one of Warwick’s many bed and breakfasts, including:

Enjoy your visit. If you see me walking around or having a cocktail at one of the many Village of Warwick bars or restaurants, please say, “Hello.” Oh, and of course, stop into Ye Olde Warwick Book Shoppe and get a copy of The Single Father's Guide to Life, Cooking, and Baseball. Thanks.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Pokemon Go, Your 401(k), What Investors Need to Know

The adoption of Nintendo’s Pokemon Go app among smart phone users has been nothing short of astounding. “In just seven days since the game was released (on July 6, 2016) in the US, Australia and New Zealand, Pokémon Go has now almost certainly exceeded Twitter’s 65 million American users.[i]” Perhaps even more mindboggling is the fact that “searches for ‘Pokemon Go’ outstripped those for ‘porn’ for the first time, according to data from Google.[ii]

If Twitter and pornography are suggestive of staying power, it appears Pokemon Go will be around for a while. So, what does an investor need to know about ways Pokemon Go may impact stocks, financial markets, and the economy?

Apparel Sales
Pokemon Go includes three “teams,” which Pokemon trainers can join, Team Mystic, Team Valor, and Team Instinct. Some of the hottest clothing items for school this fall and for the holiday gift-giving season
Team Mystic Hat
will almost certainly be Pokemon Go team apparel. One of the largest licensees for Pokemon Go and dozens of others is Hybrid Apparel of Cypres, California. On December 22, 2014, “Altamont Capital Partners . . . announced it has partnered with existing shareholders to lead a strategic investment in Hybrid Apparel.” While both Altamont Capital Partners and Hybrid Apparel are privately held, investors could potentially benefit from Pokemon Go apparel sales through retailers which “include upscale department stores such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Dillard’s; mid-tier stores such as Sears, J.C. Penney and Kohl’s; such discount retailers as Marshalls, Ross and T.J. Maxx; mass-market stores including Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and Target (NYSE: TGT), and clubs Ssuch as Costco (Nasdaq: COST) and Sam’s Club.[iii]

Cellular Service Providers
While the Pokemon Go app is free to download, the game is literally all about roaming.
Pokemon Trainers roam around to find Pokemon while cellular service providers like AT&T Wireless (NYSE: T), Verizon (NYSE: VZ), T-Mobile, Sprint and other stand to benefit with increased revenue. Speaking personally, my family of four shares 15 gigabytes of data each month. Two-thirds through our July billing period, we surpassed that allotment. So, we’ll either pay $15 for each additional gigabyte or upgrade to unlimited data for $50 per month. So will everyone else.

Portable Phone Chargers
Essential contents of any Pokemon Trainer’s backpack not only include Potion, Revive, Lucky Eggs, Poke Balls, Lure Modules, and Razz Berries, but also a portable phone charger. The Pokemon Go app displays bright colors and a dynamic augmented reality screen and consumes smart phone battery chargers faster than a Spearow dodges Poke Balls. (For non-players, that’s fast.) The highest rated portable phone charger at Amazon.com, having more than 10,000 individual reviews and an average rating of 4.7 out of 5, is the ExternalBattery RAVPower 16750mAh Portable Charger Power Bank 4.5A Dual USB Output. Although not a public company, RAVPower chargers utilize Qualcomm's Quick Charge Technology - all of which are covered by an 18 month worry-free warranty,[iv]” and Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) is a public company.

Craft Beer
External Battery RAVPower 16750mAh Portable
Charger Power Bank 4.5A Dual USB Output
This may seem a bit of a stretch, but follow me here. “Because the franchise just crossed the 20 year mark, the average age of Pokémon fans is hovering in the mid to late 20s[v].” For Millennials, Pokemon is nostalgic, sort of like an Easy-Bake Oven would be for Generation X if Hasbro released an Easy-Bake Oven Go app for iPhone and Droid. They didn’t. Pokemon did. “More so than other generations, millennials have demonstrated a distaste for mass-market beers and spirits—and a preference for the pricier small-batch booze. In one survey, 43% of millennials say craft beer tastes better than mainstream brews.[vi]” Following the logic, then, thirsty Millennial Pokemon Go Trainers will stop into their favorite craft beer oasis, especially those near Poke Stops and especially those whose owners are savvy enough to market to using with Lures and Events. The top three craft beer brewers in 2016 as ranked by the Brewer’s Association are D.G. Yuengling and Son, Boston Brewing (NYSE: SAM), and Sierra Nevada Brewing[vii]. While bigger isn’t always better, size does suggest that the beer is selling and that’s not a bad place to start and, among the top three, only Boston Brewing, makers of Sam Adams, is a public company.
Millenials dig Pokemon Go and microbrews.

Concluding the analysis of Pokemon Go by this MBA single father, and, yes, a very amateur Pokemon Trainer, (my 12 year old son, to whom regular readers of The Single Father’s Guide Blog know I refer as The Favorite Son, plays; I wanted to find another another thing in common), Pokemon go will have a measurable impact on the economy almost certainly in the short run. The mid- and long-term impact is anyone's guess, but those affects could be significant in terms of consumer behavior. In any case, I plan to put my money where my mouth is and invest in at least one, if not more than one, of these publicly traded companies. Of course, I won't name names, although I can tell you I wish I'd mortgaged the house a month ago and bought some Nintendo (OTC: NTDOY).

You and your 401(k) can thank me later.

[i] “Pokémon Go becomes global craze as game overtakes Twitter for US users.” TheGuardian.com. July 12, 2016. 
[ii] “More people are now searching Google for Pokémon Go than for porn.” The Telegraph. Telegraph.co.uk. July 13, 2016. 
[iii] “Fun, flexible and forward-moving: Apparel company emphasizes innovation through retail partnerships.” Quinnen, Bill. The Orange County Register. ocregister.com. June 22, 2016. 
[iv] “About RAVPower.” RAVPower.com. Accessed 7/29/16. 
[v] “The Streets Are Littered with Adult Pokémon Go Players. Cawley, Conor. TechCo.com. July 11, 2016. 
[vi] “10 Things Millennials Buy Far More Often Than Everyone Else.” Tuttle, Brad. Money. Money.com. July 31, 2015. 
[vii] “These Are America's 10 Largest Craft Breweries.” Kell, John. Fortune. Fortune.com. April 5, 2016.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Pokemon Go & What Parents Need to Know

Unleashed on the American public on July 6, 2016, Pokemon Go is a phenomenon. Using its own unique vocabulary, the Pokemon card game has been played since 1996 by “Trainers” who catch and train Pokemon by expanding card decks. Now, with Pokemon Go, trainers download a smart phone app, catch, evolve, and power-up Pokemon in a virtual world. Frankly, Pokemon Go is getting gamers off of the couch and into the real, augmented reality world in huge numbers. According to the BBC, there may have been as many as 30 million downloads[i] of the Pokemon Go app in the United States as of July 25, 2016.

As a parent of a Pokemon go Trainer, there are a few things about which you really should be aware.

First, Pokeman Go encourages Trainers (players) to get out of the house. By rewarding trainers with Poke Balls, Eggs, Razz Berries, among othe things Trainers must visit Poke Stops. Poke Stops are frequently located at or near landmarks, usually in community centers. High concentrations of Poke Stops draw high concentrations of Poke Trainers Additionally, Eggs are incubated and hatched by walking either 2, 5, or 10 kilometers, depending on the egg. Finally, achievement oriented Trainers “level-up,” or achieve a higher skill level by increasing "XP," which is accomplished when a Trainer captures a Pokemon. Leveling-up is rewarded with additional Poke Balls among other items.

The big picture here, I think, is a good one. However, there are a number of dangers associated with Pokemon Go, particularly for younger Trainers. First, Pokemon “spawn,” or appear somewhat randomly. The game includes both a “nearby” grid and a map that players may use to locate Pokemon. Rare or infrequently spawning Pokemon in the area may result in a minor (or major) riot as excited players converge on the area where a Pokemon is reported to be. This rush to capture a Pokemon may cause distraction and may result in a lapse of attention to traffic or other dangers.

Chasing the elusive Pokemon.

Older Trainers are enjoying the nostalgia of playing a virtual version of the original Pokemon card game. Many of the Trainers are teenagers or twenty-somethings. It’s also not uncommon to see much older Trainers as well. Players typically roost and play where a high-concentration of Poke Stops exist and. Often, Trainers set Pokemon Lures, which lures Pokemon to a Poke Stop and benefits all nearby players. While I haven’t personally witnessed any improprieties in these areas and while I espouse a “free range kids” parenting strategy, the age dynamic is worth your attention.

Trainers need to be aware of Pokemon Drivers
Inevitably, some people have used Pokemon Go for criminal activities. By using Lures at a Poke Stop, some criminals have lured more than Pokemon. Criminals can and have lured players to more remote Poke Stops with the intention of robbery or other criminal activity. “The teens, whose ages range from 16 to 18, are suspected to be behind 10 to 11 armed robberies in St. Louis and St. Charles counties in which they allegedly used the app to bait victims.[ii]

Considering Pokemon Go uses smart phone GPS to place Poke Stops and Pokemon in proximity to Trainers, privacy concerns also exist. The benefits to Nintendo, the maker of Pokemon Go, though, will be a topic for another time. For now, have a conversation with your kids, who just want to be kids and have fun. Have that conversation about safety, whether walking, riding a bicycle, and playing Pokemon Go, or doing something else. 

[i]Should you believe those Pokemon Go download numbers?” BBC News Magazine. July 25, 2016. 
[ii]Teens used Pokémon Go app to lure robbery victims, police say.” Miller, Ryan W. USAToday. June 11, 2016