Well, dad jokes, for one. |

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Denizens of the greater parent landscape, hello

I write this to you, perilously close to Fathers Day, with zero idea of what to do for my husband to celebrate his dad-ness. Here am I, the allegedly prominent author of a book about marriage () and yet I have no clue as to what to get for my husband. What is the fatherly equivalent of flowers: something lovely and easy to acquire in any neighborhood and only semi-permanent so you don't have to find room for it in your house? I think alcohol sends the wrong message. ("You will enjoy this more if you're just a teensy bit poisoned.") Chocolate is off limits in these less metabolically intense years. He's not really a golf guy (thank you God). He likes cycling, but it's not like every second store is selling inner tubes at this time of year. Someone suggested beef jerky flowers, which are , but, really, must smell bad, right? Might have to go with a book. Will report back next week.

I'm at [email protected] or luscombeland on twitter. Thanks to all the parents who emailed me with their stories of having left paid employment to look after their kids! Still looking for others, particularly if you did it recently. P.S. If you like this newsletter, please pass it on to a friend. And if you got it from a friend, for email delivery each Friday. You know, more or less.

First up, please enjoy this essay by the remarkable father of the remarkable Malala Yousafzai. Just one of his gems: "I believe fathers have a crucial role to play in the fight for women’s rights. Of course, when your rights are being violated — at home, at work, anywhere — your voice is the most powerful to challenge your oppression. And so women’s voices are the most important in feminism. But in patriarchal societies, a father’s voice is perhaps the next most important tool to galvanize change."   News time

Who are the parents who do not want to participate in the joint project we as a community have undertaken known as vaccination? What do they want? Why do they want those whose immune systems are weak to be exposed to long dormant diseases?  My colleague Jeff Kluger went to try and meet some, and found that they're probably good parents who just care more about their children than other peoples'. This is true of most of us in one way or another, I imagine, but I find this trend difficult to understand. News time.

Are there special, particular attributes that a father brings to a family, that are not just a product of the income or privilege that often come with having two parents? This is an ongoing debate. But David French certainly thinks there are. "With good reason, many of the most harmful attributes associated with traditional masculinity are being re-examined. But as we reckon with the damage of these freighted expectations, we can’t lose sight of the essential role fathers play in shaping sons into men of character." News time

One novel way of passing Fathers' Day might be to look into the long strange history of the paternity test. News time.

Do you remember when valedictorian speeches were boring lectures given by nerds, which parents, teachers and friends sat through dutifully and then applauded politley? Yeah, well not any more. News time

And in honor of my dad, who, although well into his 80s, is still a true champion in the extreme sport of egregiously bad joke-telling, (the man cannot see anything with antlers without saying "oh, deer!" or anything with wool without saying "oh, sheep!", which he somehow thinks is extra funny because it refers to a dirty word) I give you this, a defense of dad jokes. By the way, in case you think moms can't play in this league, I ask you to consider, as you sip your rosé this weekend: how come there's no rose b? 

PFFT: Parenting from Famous Types

Mindy Kaling, actor and parent of one,

"There is so much bribery in motherhood. I'm like Tony Soprano with my child. 'If you give me my wallet back, I'll give you the remote control.' It's a nonstop barter system."

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