Last week I started quite a ruckus with my post about the Ray Rice affair.  With readership of the family blog tripled thanks to me posting a link to it on Facebook, brouhahas broke out in my house, at the park (with me not there), on my guys weekend in San Diego and, of course, on the social network.

With all that fun I’m compelled to share my thoughts on the Adrian Peterson affair.

1.  A parent has a right to use a switch to discipline his child.  I wouldn’t think of doing it in a million years, but it’s not my place to impose my values on other parents.  According to Charles Barkley, switching is a common means of child discipline in the African-American community.  I have no reason not to believe him.

2. That said, when a parent grabs a tree branch he runs a considerable risk of negligently or intentionally injuring his child — more so than, say, if he used an open hand.  As such, said parent should be pretty darn careful when he’s wielding that stick.

3. In this case, Daddy Peterson did not take care to not hurt his kid, as the photos so graphically show.  Those photos, which I won’t post on this blog, were taken five days after what the Vikings star called “a whooping.”  I can only imagine how the kid looked when Daddy put the stick down.


He doesn’t LOOK like a child abuser, but …

As for whether Peterson should go to jail — that depends on whether he violated the laws he’s alleged to have violated.  I don’t know Texas law on the subject so I have no opinion on the matter.  One person who does, blogger Gregory S. McNeal,  concluded that he likely did.   I don’t know if Mr. McNeal’s legal analysis is correct — it’s a lot more conclusion than analysis — but I’ll go with it here.

What I do know is this.  If a Texas jury does not convict Peterson of something, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will be under intense pressure to sanction Peterson, anyway.   The photos don’t lie.   If he doesn’t do something, Goodell will be gone.

And deservedly so.

This past weekend I joined my buddied Mike Waldner and Joel Aro in San Diego.  The occasion: the Seahawks game against the San Diego Chargers.  The game didn’t go so well — the Bolts clobbered us 30-21 — but between golf at Torrey Pines, bodyboarding and biking on Pacific Beach, the game at Qualcomm and Sunday night at the pool — we had a ton of fun.

I’ll let the pics speak for themselves:

Author’s note: The views below are mine alone and do not represent the views of others in the Jenkins family. 

First things first.  I don’t hit girls.  Never have, and have no plans to.

That said, I find myself holding out a proverbial helping hand to Ray Rice today — and that’s after watching the now-infamous video of him knocking out his then-fiancee (now wife) in an Atlantic City elevator.

The now former Baltimore Raven’s left hook to Janay Palmer’s face was tough to watch — every bit as tough as watching Beyonce’s sister open up a can of whoop-ass on Jay-Z.  If Mr. Rice were my son I would be extremely disappointed in him.  Like everyone in the world save Mr. and Mrs. Rice, I have no idea what preceded the punch or what, if anything, then-Ms. Palmer said or did to get her NFL boyfriend so furious.  I’m guessing something happened: the video shows her getting in his face and they appear to be spitting on each other.  Whatever (if anything) it was, I would have hoped my son would have had more self control.

But what I find just as unseemly is the race to pile on and punish Mr. Rice in the wake of TMZ Sports’s release of the aforementioned video yesterday.

The Ravens released their long-time running back almost immediately.  The video “changed things,” his now-former coach told us.  Why?  Ravens management saw the video of Mr. Rice dragging his unconscious now-wife out of an elevator months ago.  Did they think he knocked her out with Starbucks breath?   New Jersey’s criminal complaint stated that Rice struck his fiancee “with his hand, rendering her unconscious” — exactly what the video showed.  Me thinks Ravens management concluded their once-beloved star would be forever doomed to bad guy status once this video went viral and, seeing little upside to standing behind their once-dominant-but-now-past-his-prime running back, they booted him — and his considerable contract — out of town.  Politics over principle — shame on them.

Not the monster he's being made out to be.

A victim-maker in February, Ray Rice now finds himself a victim of another sort.

I wonder if the Ravens would have severed ties with Mr. Rice in 2012, when he was coming off a career year that saw him gain over 2,000 yards from scrimmage.  They didn’t come down as hard (or at all) on Terrell Suggs in 2011 when a court issued a protective order against their star linebacker based on a series of very detailed allegations that portrayed him as an unspeakable monster.   (More.) Mr. Suggs was at the peak of his career then.

The NFL’s indefinite suspension of Mr. Rice is another matter.  The league took a PR beating for its initial two-game suspension of Mr. Rice — way too lenient, the masses screamed.  Sensing public opinion was against him, the ever image-conscious Roger Goodell later concluded that he hadn’t punished the theretofore model citizen harshly enough and announced the NFL’s new domestic abuse policy — six week ban for a first offense, lifetime ban thereafter.  NFL mucky mucks, who Goodell insists didn’t see the inside-the-elevator tape until a few days ago, upped the penalty from two games to “indefinite” once the video went viral. But this was the once-model citizen’s first offense, and indefinite is not six weeks.   What gives?

Then there’s everyone else.  I’ve followed this story fairly closely for the past forty-eight hours and know of only two people — Mrs. Rice and conservative African-American commentator Dr. Ben Carlson — who have suggested that everyone should put down their pitch forks.  No one’s even curious about background or context.  Nothing, the self righteous scream with indignation, could justify Mr. Rice’s left hook, and anyone who even considers as much should lose their job. I wonder. Suppose I called an African-American the n-word and the object of my derision became so enraged that he killed me.  Think a sizable minority in the typing class would opine that my killer should be excused, or at least be entitled to a lesser conviction than murder?   I do.   Just last week a good (and very bright) friend of mine insisted to me that a white police officer’s killing of a black man justified citywide looting in Ferguson, Missouri — looting against business owners, I might add, who’s only “crime” was owning a business in Ferguson.  Now I don’t know what Ms. Palmer did or said (if anything) to her fiancee that got him so enraged; perhaps she went Solange on him where the cameras weren’t rolling.  I don’t know, but I’d like to.  That no one else seems to care a wit is what bothers me most.  Everyone else seems angry; better get angry, too.

Which brings me back to Mr. Rice and why I find myself hoping he emerges from this very dark spell.   Like him, I’ve had a few moments I wish I could have back (mine, and perhaps his, alcohol-fueled).  And like him, I’ve been on the underside of a the-facts-don’t-matter avalanche; in my case the avalanche was my own state’s government.  That experience landed me in jail three times, twice as an alleged fugitive from a state I’d never set foot in, and cost me a bundle.  It took almost two years for judges to take a deep breath and consider the facts, but ultimately their exonerating opinion didn’t matter because their superiors re-wrote the law to put my then-company out of business.  It’s a lonely feeling when you get steamrolled by The Machine, especially when you’ve otherwise led an exemplary life, as I like to think I have and a good many people say Mr. Rice has.  (E.g., 1I2.)

He hit a girl no doubt.   But Ray Rice didn’t deserve to lose his job and his career because he had the misfortune of screwing up on video.  The NFL is chock full of monsters.  Mr. Rice isn’t one of them.

The Seahawks 5k

This morning the family Jenkins ventured downtown for the Seahawks 5k and Play60 Fun Run.

Actually I ventured downtown alone and did the 5k by myself.  The fam joined soon thereafter for the Fun Run.

Doing 5k’s alone is a good way to feel like a loser.  I did it at last year’s St. Patrick’s Day Dash and did not have fun.  I won’t be doing it again.

Anyway, we all had a lot of fun.

Seahawks v. Packers and the opening of the 2014 NFL season is four days away.  Can’t wait.

This weekend the kids and I headed east for thirty hours or so with Simon and Paige Spratley at Cabin de Spratley in Easton.   On Saturday the kids took the first-ever turns behind a wheel.

Finn could probably get his license tomorrow if he could only reach the pedals.

Reese — not so much.

The “highlight” of our stay was a drive up a mountain path on Sunday afternoon to check out what Simon promised was a great view at the top.  The view was indeed great, but the drive up was — well, a bit of a white knuckler.  Fortunately we lived through that logging road, but a few more of those and we may not.

Anyway,. a few pics:


The kids and I spend most weekends frolicking down the hill at Laurelhurst Beach Club.

This weekend was a particularly memorable one.

On Saturday Finn passed his 1’s, the highlight of a day that started at Karishma Sood’s 11 am birthday party and ended with the clock striking 6:30.

And that was before Raj, Todd and George and kids dropped by for an evening of adult refreshments. (Mine: rosay (sp?), courtesy of Raj.)

On Sunday we were minding our own business when Amanda McAllister asked me to join her and the gals down where the A-listers sit.  Five minutes later I was borrowing life jackets and we were on our way out on a boat — along with about twelve other fun lovers.   Two hours later and a swim later we were back at LBC where we capped the day off with dinner on the grill.

Reese learned to do 360's while Finn passed his 1's.

Reese learned to do 360’s while Finn passed his 1’s.


Laurelhurst is, indeed, a nice place to live.  Good times, even better people.



My favorite happy people.

My favorite happy people.

More and more often I’m finding useful tidbits showing up in my Facebook newsfeed.  The latest: a piece entitled “8 Habits of Happy People.”   They are:

Figure out your strengths, then engage them: According to “The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work“: “When 577 volunteers were encouraged to pick one of their signature strengths and use it in a new way each day for a week, they became significantly happier and less depressed than control groups. And these benefits lasted: Even after the experiment was over, their levels of happiness remained heightened a full month later. Studies have shown that the more you use your signature strengths in daily life, the happier you become.” I can vouch for this one — a year ago I started a project to engage my creative, visual side, and it is the single greatest joy-bringer to my days outside my partner (and my cat!).
Spend time outside: If you can clock 20 minutes a day outside, studies show you’ll not only maintain a better mood, but your mind will be more open and you’ll improve your working memory too. Sunshine (even the brightness of a cloudy day is often brighter than indoor lights) and fresh air feel good too.
Put effort into being happy:Two separate studies in the Journal of Positive Psychology have confirmed that when people actively try to be happy, they raise their baseline moods, making them feel, in the end, happier than those who do not try. According to a release from Taylor and Francis, “In the first study, two sets of participants listened to ‘happy’ music. Those who actively tried to feel happier reported the highest level of positive mood afterwards. In the second study, participants listened to a range of ‘positive’ music over a two-week period; those who were instructed to focus on improving their happiness experienced a greater increase in happiness than those who were told just to focus on the music.”
Exercise regularly: All exercise releases endorphins in your brain, which directly leads to a better mood, and if you workout regularly, this mood boost even carries over to non-workout days. Don’t just take my word for it; according to research from the University of Bristol: “On exercise days, people’s mood significantly improved after exercising. Mood stayed about the same on days they didn’t, with the exception of people’s sense of calm which deteriorated.”
Protect your health: Good health, on average, leads to a 20 percent gain in overall happiness, so spending time and money improving or prolonging your good health is a wise investment in something intangible but incredibly important.
Care for others: People who spend time every month helping others (whether that be animals, people or a space or place you love) are happier. There’s even an immediate effect, similar to a high, that most people feel directly after doing good — including random acts of goodness. “Volunteer work was good for both mental and physical health. People of all ages who volunteered were happier and experienced better physical health and less depression,” says Peggy Thoits, a Vanderbilt University sociologist. Other studies have shown that it’s not just happy people who are volunteers — depressed people who do work for others show an elevated mood from the work.
Cultivate strong social relationships: whether you have a few close friends, a large and loving family, or strong ties to the community, almost any kind of connection to a social group can improve happiness, according to “The Happiness Advantage”: “Turns out, there was one — and only one — characteristic that distinguished the happiest 10 percent from everybody else: the strength of their social relationships. My empirical study of well-being among 1,600 Harvard undergraduates found a similar result — social support was a far greater predictor of happiness than any other factor, more than GPA, family income, SAT scores, age, gender, or race. In fact, the correlation between social support and happiness was 0.7. This may not sound like a big number, but for researchers it’s huge — most psychology findings are considered significant when they hit 0.3. The point is, the more social support you have, the happier you are.”
Hang out with happy people: This can be hard to do at work, where you don’t always choose who you are working with, but you can control the people you spend time with outside your job (and who you pass your lunch hour with!). Just as studies have found that people who exercise with a motivated partner are more likely to stick to workout plans, so do the people around you impact your mood — which means you also impact those around you with your attitude.
Feeling like you want to make some positive changes? Here’s a few more — mix and match, and find what works for you. And oh yeah, don’t forget to get some sleep — sleep deprivation bums everyone out.
Missing from this list: keeping a family blog for six-plus years and counting.  ;-)



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.