Tag Archives: men

Get Lost

December 4, 2015 by

We pause now for a moment of silence in memory of the plethora, the genus, phylum, and species of old jokes japing the male’s propensity to stubbornly refuse to ask for help on the way to that weekend family event he didn’t want to go to anyway. An example of the genre:

Q – Why was Moses wandering through the desert for 40 years?

A – Because men refuse to ask for directions!

Yes, a moment of silence, because that witticism, and all others based on this gender-based “truth” are now obsolete.

It must be said that though the trope was based on a factual reality that the primitive male brain, steeped in the evolutionary soup of “not wanting to seem stupid” to the other giant sloth hunters in our long-ago fur-clad clans, as in, “The water hole is just over this ridge, a quick left past the tar pit,” forced us alphas to maintain that said “water hole” was exactly there, whether we, upon arrival, discovered a toxic fumarole instead of said pond. It is a biological/psychological fact that for men it is more important to be “sure” rather than to be “right.”

Note: we manly-men usually confuse the two.

In our defense I must state that in reality we would ask for directions when we were unsure of where we were going, but we would only ask very close friends. We expected our best mates would not tell anyone our little secret, and we also used their answers to our inquiries as a dependable gauge of the quality of their character.

Let me illustrate. If I ask Joe “Which way to the (blank)?” and he responds, “Go down to St. Paul’s church, turn left, and when you get to First Lutheran, turn right.” I know Joe loves God. If I ask Bill and he says, “Go down to McDonald’s, turn left and when you get to Wendy’s, turn right.” I know Bill has a weight problem. If I ask Tim and he answers, “Go down to the Med Center, turn left, and when you get to the urology outpatient surgery clinic, turn right.” I know Tim needs to drink more pomegranate juice. And if Ted tells me, “Go down here to the Starlite Lounge, turn left, and then when you get to the Nifty…” I know I want to hang out with Ted. You can tell a lot about someone when you hear the frame through which they see the world.

At least that used to be true.

Now, no one asks directions. Everybody just takes out their smart phone and looks at where their blinking dot is blinking and where their destination’s red pin is sticking. And don’t get me started about the disembodied voice that tells you to, “Turn left in 300 feet.” Like I didn’t know that already.

So, bottom line, the old jokes are dead. I blame Steve Jobs. I mourn their passing, as does Rand McNally, but mainly I feel a sense of loss because it’s almost impossible to get lost these days.

Some of the best things in my life have happened because I was lost. Once I turned left on a dotted line that led into Wyoming’s Wind River Range and…but that’s another story.

For now, I encourage you all, unplug.

Get lost.

OtisXII

Jack Becker

October 31, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The dapper executive director and chief executive officer of Joslyn Art Museum, Jack Becker, agreed to play a 
rapid-fire game of “Fashion Word Association” for this issue’s Style Shot:

Leisure Suit
“Oh, boy. I think I was 7. Dingy beige. Double-knit polyester, of course. 
Ghastly. Horrible. 
Hey, I thought you promised that 
this would be a friendly interview?”

Splurge
“Italian Suits. Zegna. 
A magnificent obsession.”

Ugh!
“Paint-splattered, torn, 
20-year-old shorts from The Gap.”

Fave

“The windowpane jacket. I get compliments every time I put it on.”

Jack Becker

On Jack—Z Zenga 
cotton velvet jacket with custom Nordstrom Egyptian cotton shirt
In the background—Al Held (American, 1928-2005), Untitled, 1964, acrylic on canvas.

Style
“A certain edge. Fashion forward but age appropriate. Bold, but not too overly aggressive.”

Barbering
“The Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power Razor. The most advanced blade ever.”

Art
“The spatial juxtaposition of line, form, texture, pattern. How it all works together in a composition. Oh, you mean that. I thought we were still talking about my wardrobe.”

Close-up of clothing

Shown above:
Holland Esquire
 tweed windowpane jacket with suede elbow patches and built-in pocket square, purchased at Becker’s favorite Parisian haberdasher

Jack Victor Italian
 silk and wool slacks

Gucci
 horsebit suede loafers

Oliver Peoples 
eyewear

Restoring Hearts Celebration

October 4, 2013 by
Photography by Mitchell Warren

In the spring of 2013, young men and women from Omaha Home for Boys programs spent 18 weeks learning, laughing, and collaborating on the restoration of MishMash, the Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail motorcycle rebuilt as part of the nationally recognized Helping with Horsepower™ Bike Rebuild program. With the steadfast support of Jeremy and Mike Colchin, the father-son duo from Black Rose Machine Shop, MishMash was transformed into a stunningly patriotic motorcycle.

By late spring/early summer, MishMash was ready to travel around the state of Nebraska (and western Iowa) to spread the word about the Home and share a message of hope. MishMash heralded the Omaha Home for Boys mission and message at parades, fairs, football games, various community events, conferences, and concerts. One would be hard-pressed to find someone who hadn’t seen the motorcycle or heard about the youth at the Omaha Home for Boys and this life-changing project.

Several months later, the raffle winner of MishMash—Jeff Waddington of Bennington—was selected to the roaring applause of more than 450 Restoring Hearts with Bike Parts™ Celebration attendees. Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin delivered a breathtaking, inspirational speech to supporters, community members, and friends—some old, many new—of the Omaha Home for Boys.

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Matlin touched on the difficulties of growing up as a young child “who just happened to be deaf” with big dreams of being a star—fueled and supported by long-time friend Henry Winkler. It was a message that resounded well with youth, staff, and supporters alike—you can be anything you want to be, and anyone can make their goals and dreams into realities with hard work and dedication.

Youth also took to the stage, joining Mike DiGiacomo and Mary Nelson, hosts of KMTV-Channel 3’s The Morning Blend, to share their thoughts of the Helping with Horsepower™ project, along with their own dreams and goals.

It was a celebration as much about MishMash as it was about the youth at the Home—and a celebration everyone involved will remember!

With the help of supporters, the Home raised more than $30,000 from the bike’s raffle, selling more than 1,700 tickets. Funds will be used to facilitate the programs at the Omaha Home for Boys—directly and positively impacting the hundreds of youth touched by our programs.

Become a Home Partner and Supporter

With the success of this year’s Restoring Hearts with Bike Parts Celebration, staff at the Omaha Home for Boys are in full gear to prepare for next year’s Helping with Horsepower Bike Rebuild program. Stay tuned for more information to become a sponsor, donate to the bike rebuild project, and buy tickets to attend next year’s Restoring Hearts with Bike Parts!

To become a sponsor for next year’s bike rebuild, please contact Trish at 402-457-7165 or PHaniszewski@omahahomeforboys.org. For more information about Omaha Home for Boys, visit omahahomeforboys.org.

Jean Stothert

September 20, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann and Keith Binder

The corridor leading to the Omaha mayor’s office serves as a gallery for a long line of portraits of the city’s past mayors. It is a wall-to-wall boy’s club.

This day, the portrait of the city’s newest mayor is off at a photography studio waiting to be framed. But once it arrives, it will be an image long overdue on this wall.

It’s the first picture of a woman in the hallway on the third floor of the Civic Center.

“It was not an issue in the campaign, and it was not something I thought about,” says Mayor Jean Stothert as she sits at the conference table in her new office. “But yes, there’s no question I’m proud to be the first female mayor of Omaha.

“You get pretty sick of the ‘*-word.’” – Jean Stothert on women in politics

“Some of my biggest influences are those strong, pioneering women who broke new ground. I love Margaret Thatcher. I would love if someone called me The Iron Lady.”

So be it. Jean Stothert—The Iron Lady. It’s a name both friend and foe are likely to find fitting.

Conservative, like Thatcher. Driven. A homemaker from humble beginnings turned successful political figure. A tough, sometimes polarizing figure. A woman who can shrug off, and move on from, the sometimes vile comments only female political figures have to face.

“You get pretty sick of the ‘c-word,’” she says. It isn’t unusual for women in politics to be pushed to prove their “toughness.” So where is the “Iron” in the “Lady?” In Stothert’s case, not only did politics help galvanize her; so, too, did her years as an ICU nurse.

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Humble Roots

Stothert grew up in Wood River, Ill., outside St. Louis, “a refinery town where my dad worked at the refinery.”

He was not in a union, if you were wondering. Like Thatcher, Stothert—as she has proven already with the firefighter’s union—stands in vocal and firm opposition to some union interests.

The specs of her childhood home roll quickly off her tongue. “Tiny house—living room, kitchen, four kids, one bathroom,” Stothert shares. She’s clearly said this many times before. It is a counterpoint raised often in political spheres when people note that she lives with her surgeon husband in often-assumed-to-be-more-affluent-than-it-is Millard.

She walked to school, had a job, did volunteer work. She wanted to be a nurse “because it seemed like a good way to give back to the community.” While many of her friends chose to work in hospitals in more affluent parts of St. Louis, she chose to “be where I was most needed”—with the Trauma Center at St. Louis University Hospital in the heart of the city.

You have to become an Iron Lady to be a nurse in an inner-city trauma center.

“You see it all,” she says. “I’ve done CPR on hundreds of patients. I’ve opened people’s chests and done internal heart massage. I’ve wrapped up bodies and taken them to the morgue over and over again. That’s just how it is.

“I like the challenge of making a critically ill patient well. But sometimes, I’m not going to make that patient well. They’re going to die. The thing is, I never want to get that hard edge. You can do tough work without losing your humanity and compassion doing it.”

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From Homemaker to Politician

It was in this environment that she met trauma surgeon Joe Stothert.

After five years of dating, they married. In time, the couple moved to Seattle with his job. Then to Galveston, Texas, where the couple’s daughter, Elizabeth, and son, Andrew, were born.

Then to Omaha, Neb., “in good part for the better schools,” Joe notes. With two young children and a husband with a job that took him away at all hours, Jean decided she would stay home with her children.

“She has always been strong-willed but wonderful at listening to others and working together with people to get things done.” – Joe Stothert

In little time, being an at-home mom entailed diving into work with her local parent-teacher organization. Joe says it was a natural fit for her.

“She has always been strong-willed but wonderful at listening to others and working together with people to get things done,” he says. “Then, as an ICU nurse, she was working with an immense amount of sophisticated mechanisms. She enjoyed that. I think she was quickly interested in the mechanisms of government.”

Jean and husband Joe Stothert went out in a blizzard to campaign.

Jean and husband Joe Stothert went out in a blizzard to campaign.

Getting Out the Vote

Three years after the family arrived in Millard, three positions opened on the Millard School Board.

“There were 13 people running. A full field,” Stothert says. “I didn’t have much money, so I figured we’d have to hit the streets and knock on as many doors as we could. We won by a good bit. We learned right then how important it is to get out and talk to everyone you can.”

That shoe-leather, door-to-door campaigning with her and her supportive family at its core has been the key to her continued success. She served two more terms on the Millard School Board before her election to the Omaha City Council, which, she says, was a logical step.

“School boards are very much like city councils,” Stothert says. “You manage multi-million-dollar budgets, you have labor negotiations. It wasn’t much of a leap at all.”

During her time on the school board, she suffered her only loss so far in politics: a 2006 bid for the state legislature against Democrat Steve Lathrop.

It was one of the closest races in state history. Initially, it appeared Stothert had won by only a few votes. She celebrated with a small vacation with her husband. When she returned, she found out that after absentee votes were counted, she had lost by 14 votes. Stothert said the final margin—after some votes were contested—was five votes.

“So maybe you should have picked up 10 of your friends and driven [them] to the polls,” she recalls having wondered to herself. “Yes, I thought about it. But I truly believe we did the best we could. I think I learned more in losing than I did in winning. I also truly believe that things happen for a reason.”

She then turned her eye toward the Omaha City Council. She asked Joe if she should run. “I said ‘no,’” he says. “She ran anyway.”

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Taking on the Big Boys

She had no plans to run for mayor when she won her seat on the council, but, in time, she says, she “decided that we needed a change.”

In her race for mayor, her calls for smaller, more streamlined government resonated with voters. Her ground game grew considerably. At its core was a relentless door-to-door campaign by the entire Stothert family.

Joe took 10 vacation days prior to both the primary and the general election. Her son, who is pursuing an advanced degree at the University of South Florida, and her daughter, who works at Union Pacific, also joined in.

Stothert proudly showed off a framed photo of her and her husband in the middle of a residential street during one of the weekend campaign blitzes. The city was socked in by a blizzard that weekend. The Stotherts are wrapped in wet winterwear. Part of Jean’s hair is frozen and cocked sideways. Joe’s right thumb is protruding from a hole in his glove.

It’s a picture of resolve. They knocked on 15,000 doors. She says Joe helped push her on when she grew tired on the campaign trail. Joe insists, “She never would have gone on if she didn’t want to.” It’s also a picture, she jokes, of the Stotherts on a date. “We really have enjoyed those times together,” the mayor says.

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The Ugly Side of Politics

At times, the war of words during the campaign got brutal. Stothert, often characterized as a hardline conservative, can throw fire as well as she receives it. But particularly in the modern world of blogs, tweets, and every sort of website, the personal stabs at those in the public arena are often relentless and outrageous.

Stothert admits that, during the campaign, she failed to heed advice that she avoid reading all the attacks on her on the internet. Also, some of the nastiest—and most sexist—of the insults blew up into campaign issues she then had to address.

She boldly repeats two comments about her—one, a joke essentially about her being gang raped, and another about her being a stripper—that one would not expect to hear verbatim in an interview with the mayor.

“She would get pretty stern. She would challenge me, I would challenge her.” – State Senator Brad Ashford on Stothert

But there is often a flipside to such outlandish attacks. People get angry. In this election, Stothert admits, polls showed that a substantial number of women responded to the sexist attacks by moving into her camp.

Stothert says she’s not afraid of criticism. She invites it, as long as it’s civilized. But she knows now to avoid the constant barrage in cyberspace.

“It’s just not good for your mental health,” she says. “It wouldn’t be good for anyone’s health.” Her husband, as you might imagine, hasn’t handled some of the nastier or more personal criticisms with such a thick skin. “I don’t forgive and forget as easily,” Joe says. “She’s the one who can do that. Early on, she had it pegged. She told me the jabs were going to hurt me more than they would hurt her.”

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Tackling Tough Issues

The criticism is not going to ebb. She will continue to grapple with the powerful and vocal firefighter’s union. While sitting at her office’s conference table, she points to her desk. The gritty specifics of her proposed budget to streamline government “are sitting right over there,” she says.

She promises to cut government and cut taxes while improving government services. There are few political figures who have not claimed they could accomplish this feat. There are few who have.“We are going to succeed,” she says. “I have no doubt about that.”

If anyone can pull off this trick, it might be Stothert. State Sen. Brad Ashford, who ran against Stothert for mayor while also working with her on several issues on the state government level, says Stothert, while always civilized, is a tough and driven negotiator.

“She would get pretty stern. She would challenge me, I would challenge her,” Ashford says. “There’s nothing wrong with that. In the end, that’s how you make good policy.” In Ashford’s mind, Stothert’s best chance to save money while improving services will come “if she’s committed to consolidating” many services that both the county and city provide.

Jean and Joe with their family.

Finding Equilibrium

To keep a sense of balance, Stothert says, she knows she has to guard her personal time. She has a life outside the demands of the mayor’s office. “I love my home,” she says. “I’m pretty good at getting there, calming down, and shutting things off for a while.”

Her day is fairly regimented, as you might expect. She’s up at 5 a.m. After a usually healthy breakfast, she walks for 30 minutes on her treadmill, then takes her Australian Shepard, Ozzie (named after St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith), for a one-mile walk.

Back at home, she watches little television beyond the news. Instead, she relaxes by reading “a lot of fiction.” Her favorite books: one from her childhood, To Kill a Mockingbird, and comedian Tina Fey’s Bossypants (the cover of which inspired our magazine cover concept and, yes, the mayor enthusiastically “suited up” for the photo shoot).

If she has the time, she loves to get in the kitchen. “My friends and I used to get Bon Appétit magazine and try things all the time,” she says. “I would consider myself a gourmet cook now. I enjoy any time I can cook something myself.”

“I’m pretty good at getting [home], calming down, and shutting things off for a while.” – Jean Stothert

If she can’t, she’s also a fan of numerous Omaha restaurants. One stands out though, she says, perhaps because she fell in love with the fresh fish dinners she ate during the family’s time living in Seattle.

“The Twisted Cork has wonderful halibut and salmon,” she says. “I just love the food of the Pacific Northwest when it is done well.”

Then it’s five hours or so of sleep, the morning exercise, and off to another day as The Iron Lady.

“I’m a very black-and-white person,” she says. “I’m a very determined person.”

Meaning?

“We will achieve better services for less money,” she says. “We are not reducing city service, and we are going to balance the budget. This is what the people of this city have asked me to do, so that is what we’re going to get done.”

Who’s Wearing the Pants?

March 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

What do you get the woman who has everything? A man who wants nothing! So you’ve spent your entire life working your way to the top of the corporate ladder, the big house, the big paycheck, and the big car. The problem is finding the big man. In your case, the big man is going to have be the smaller man in many ways.

You’re the alpha-female. You have to be in control. Do you really want to come home to a man who can’t handle your success? What you need is a man that is happy finding success in different ways, such as in the gym or being an excellent chef. Does that mean you’re looking for a maid with abs that walks around all day in an apron that says, “Kiss the Cook”? It’s possible, if that’s what you’re looking for. The most important thing is to find a man who takes pride in whatever it is that he does—regardless of its monetary return.

An alpha-female dating a less successful alpha-male is a one-way ticket to nowhere. Set him free. There’s someone out there that can make him feel like the man he needs to be, and there’s someone out there that can make you feel at home on top of your ivory tower.

Lüc Carl is a writer in NYC, originally from Springfield, Neb. His website, LucCarl.com, has had over one million hits in one year. Look for his book The Drunk Diet. Follow @luccarl on Twitter.

Don’t Blow It

January 25, 2013 by

5. You’re Dating Your Phone. As much as he likes it when you’re distracted, it’s a turn-off when you have a better relationship with your plastic phone than your hunk of burnin’ love. Stop texting so much.

4. You’re Too Needy. He needs his “man time.” Let him watch sports as much as he wants. When his team wins, remind him about that movie you wanted to go see.

3. Too Much Too Soon. Give him time to ask you to be his “girlfriend.” To say “I love you,” to meet your parents…It’s a natural evolution. If you let him breathe, he’ll do these things because he wants to, not because he feels he has to.

2. Stop Complaining. If there are certain things you don’t like about your man to the point where you’re complaining, chances are you don’t really like your man. That’s your fault, not his. Stop wasting each other’s time.

1. You Don’t Like His Job. If you want him to get a better job, go out and get yourself a better job. If he’s any kind of a man at all, he’ll want to grow with you as a human being and as a life partner. He’ll be inspired to go out and try harder at life to make the relationship grow.

Lüc Carl is a writer in NYC, originally from Springfield, Neb. His website, LucCarl.com, has had over one million hits in one year. Look for his book The Drunk Diet. Follow @luccarl on Twitter.