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THE ROCK FATHER Magazine

Five Years Ago Today, I Quit Smoking... but the Battle Rages On...

Four years ago, I celebrated one-year tobacco-free with a journal entry about my personal journey. Then, in 2013, I posted again, celebrating the two-year anniversary of coming clean (indeed, cigarettes are a drug), followed by another post in 2014 documenting year three, and how I couldn't get Philip Morris/Altria to leave me alone (they since have, but only after I threatened legal action). In 2015, I posted again, and since then little bits have changed, like Cracker Barrel restaurants playing into the hands of Big Tobacco (presumably) not knowing it, and the rise of the e-cig and vape crowd. Today I am posting once again, as it's the five-year anniversary of kicking the habit. As I've done previously, I am re-posting much of my original entry here on THE ROCK FATHER, along with a few alterations and timely updates. Philip Morris/Altria and R.J Reynolds: The targets on the backs of your companies and leadership continue to grow...

March 14, 2011 is the day that I officially quit smoking. At some point on the night of March 13, I quietly took the last puff of the last cigarette in the last pack that I ever owned. Upon telling my wife that I was officially ''done,'' she took it upon herself to clean-up some of the ''smoker's mess'' that I'd created. The ashtrays of both cars were scoured. The sand-filled flowerpots that I'd strategically placed on my front porch and near my gardening shed were disposed of, along with a ton of stray butts that had made their way into the surrounding landscape over the winter months. The cleansing had begun.

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We Attended the Hillary Clinton Rally Last Night... This is What I Saw...

In an election year, it's hard to keep politics away from my virtual pages as I'd like to. It's divisive, and that's not what being "The Rock Father" is all about. If you'd like to be irritated about others' choices for parties and candidates, Facebook is the place for you - the unfriendly confines of uninhibited emotion and tactless behavior. The memes and insults fly fast, their impact accepted with a mix of likes and emoticons, or in some cases the dreaded "hide post," "hide all posts" or at the worst, an unfriending. I approach politics with an interesting view - the child of a former politician, and some of what I dealt with as a kid sorta messed me up to the point where I wouldn't run for office myself, despite a desire to do so*. Last night, I found myself at the Hillary Clinton rally in Vernon Hills, Illinois - not as a Hillary supporter, but as a neutral party and undecided voter in this election (I'm a registered Independent that refuses to align with any Party). Honestly, I think this is the worst field of candidates in a Presidential election that I've ever seen in my adult life - and if I had to choose today, a vote for Batman would inspire more confidence than what I'm seeing take shape for the ballot. The bigger picture is that my wife and I are the parents of two daughters, and for perhaps the first time in history, there is a real chance that a woman could become President of the United States of America, and seeing Hillary in-person was a chance to show the girls that achieving a lofty goal like becoming President doesn't have to be an unattainable dream, but that it could be a real possibility

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The Pablove Foundation: Fighting Childhood Cancer with Love (and some ROCK)...

This year, nearly 16,000 kids and teens in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer. As a parent, the thought of one of our children being affected is absolutely terrifying. No matter who you are or where you are, we all know too many people that have been touched by this disease, and when it's kids... the urge to fight back burns an unstoppable fire. For parents Jeff Castelaz and Jo Ann Thraikill, that fire burns in honor of their son, Pablo Castelaz, who was diagnosed with bilateral Wilms Tumor, a rare form of childhood cancer. After a valiant fight against the disease, Pablo died just six days past his sixth birthday on June 27, 2009. Today, The Pablove Foundation exists to fight cancer on a daily basis, offering support for families, including programs for children living with the disease, and fund-raising efforts to aid in research. Today comes word of some events in several cities that you might want to get involved with...

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Journal: 2010 Was a Terrible, Terrible Year...

There's that quote - the one attributed to Thomas Fuller that I always tend associate with Harvey Dent in THE DARK KNIGHT... "The night is darkest just before the dawn." When it comes the metaphor, it was 2010 that was one of my darkest times. My wife and I were new parents, struggling to find our way and learn how to manage life with a child, just as all new parents do. The emotions of parenthood were intermixed with my own improperly managed depression and anxiety, and there were "events" throughout the year that were just not good. Blow-up after blow-up, I was cracking - allowing myself to be influenced by others, working with the wrong people... for the wrong company, and not knowing what I was really doing... or what I should be. 

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Listen: The Rock Father on The Life of Dad After Show

Life of Dad After ShowThis week, Life of Dad is playing host to a familiar guest on Episode 131 of the Life of Dad After Show... me! Life of Dad's Art Eddy and Ryan Hamilton spent some time speaking with me about a number of things, including the founding and evolution of this website, past adventures in television and film, current adventures in music with PRODUCT OF HATE, and the most important adventure of all: being a dad

If you've ever wondered what the daily routine is like here at Rock Father HQ, or how the blur happens when bouncing from the West Coast back to the Third Coast while wrangling two little girls, this one is for you!

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