Thursday, August 27, 2020


This story is about my son Griffin. Great story.

Let me tell you a bit about Bronyboy5463. That's Griffin's handle. Now you may ask yourself why does he even have a handle? Good question. It gives me a chance to brag.

See, Griffin makes videos and has his own Youtube channel and has over 60,000 subscribers. You read that number right and here's another number, he's only 16.

How cool is that?

Let's go back to the days of  yesteryear and fill in a few blanks.
Griffin to the left
Miles to the right
Griffin is a twin, his brother's name is Miles. When you're a kid you can't remember the days of diapers and crawling and bottles. Guess what? When you're a parent you remember.  I see moms and dads nodding their heads in agreement.

Griffin was a cute baby and was always a great kid. Very sweet, very dear. When I was a first time father I can recall stories other parents told me.  Like when your kids were teething and they were uncomfortable to put your finger in some whiskey and rub it on their gums. The funny advice? Don't forget to rub some on your gums as well.

One for them one for you.

As he got older the great kid just got greater. Our house was full of laughter and let's not forget those kid programs that Dad ended up watching too. The Wiggles, Little Bear, Kipper the Dog to name a few.

Here they came: Pre School, Elementary School, Middle School, and now High School. Somewhere along the way things began happening. Griffin took an Arts and Crafts class and Dad used to drive him there. There were days you could find him painting clay figures (that he made himself) and then he would make videos with them.

And that's how it began.
Before you knew it he was upstairs in his room making video after video.

Funny story; when he had 5,000 subscribers I thought I would give him some advice. What began as," You know what  you should try," ended up, "Never mind keep doing what you're doing." I realized he was on the right track and Dad didn't know nuthin'.

Another funny story. When I would sub the kids would talk about their channels and how many subscribers they had. 50. 100. 125. They were so happy to share that information. Of course proud Papa Bear told them about his son and how many he had.

It always brought the class to a dead halt.

Now? He's monetized his channel, has a bank account, and jingle in his pocket. I call him the King of Uber Eats.The doorbell rings, it seems, all the time and not for me.

He's always talking about ideas he has for future videos. Always on the phone with fans (imagine that). And his subscriber list gets bigger every day.

He wants to do that for a living and I tell him that Orlando is a good place to be on account of what's here.

By the way Griffin is just starting 11th grade.

I love you Griffin and in the future pay no attention to Dad living in your basement.

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Monday, August 24, 2020

Health. Coronavirus Edition

When I first started staying home I had a far different outlook on my health.

Of course I was under the impression, as we all were, that this self quarantine thing wouldn't last that long. Boy, were we all wrong. Remember when it seemed like New York was in the news every day? That seems like a lifetime ago. Now Florida, where I live, and everywhere else has gotten scarier.

At first boredom set in and I found myself drinking, it seemed like, buckets of Merlot every single day. When I was younger it was beer and more beer. Now? I do love my red wine. I also have a pantry full of stuff I shouldn't eat. I have kids. I know, I know, you can put all the blame on them if you want to but truthfully you don't have to eat their stuff. I found myself knee deep in things like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, which I love, and chips and subs and pizza and Mexican food and too much more.

Bad, Mark, bad.

I'm more than happy to go to Publix with list in hand to get provisions. When I go to my local grocery, mask on of course, I see wine and beer in just about every cart. In this  goofy time booze seems to be doing very well.  Liquor stores are doing bang up bizness with things I don't drink a lot of: whiskey, vodka, rum, scotch; but there are people, bunches of them, that sure do.

And then one day I decided to make a change.

Exercise is always important as far as good health goes.  I can't run like I used to and to be honest I was never much of a jogger but I have this sweet dog, Lola, who I make sure I walk every day now. Two miles. I say to her, "I take you out you save my life."

Good trade.

Lola wags her tail and barks every time I pick up her leash. She's going for a walk.

When I'm out there I see all kinds of people, some in great shape, others, not so much, and they are incentive for me to keep on keeping on. I went back to watching what I eat. More veggies and fruit less you know what. And smaller portions.

Don't get me wrong I still have my beloved Merlot just not buckets. And once a week I splurge. Just so you know splurging now is not what it used to be. My waist is at a size I haven't seen in decades. Plural. I take pills every day that aren't multi-vitamins and I'm determined to make them go bye bye.

A friend said, "Don't take this the wrong way but having a stroke saved your life." I hadn't thought of it like that but he's right. It sure changed it.

I need to go take a shower. To wash the sweat, the stink off.

In the middle of this darkness here comes the sun.

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Sunday, August 2, 2020

Back To School Coronavirus Edition

My wife and I are having a discussion that I'll bet a lot of parents are having.

Should we send our kids back to school?

Before I get to that let me tell you something you already know. 2020 has been a dangerous year because of COVID-19.  Oh, there have been other things but let's stick to the Coronavirus. I've been home for what seems like forever trying to be safe. I was on the phone with someone the other day and I said, "Happy Friday." They responded that they had no idea what day it was, somebody had to tell them. When you're in your house day after day the days begin to blur together. I'm guilty of thinking it's Tuesday when it's really Thursday.

I'm also a mask wearing, hands washing, social distancing, kind of guy.  Can never be too careful. By the way there's a phrase I never heard before-social distancing.

We all are very familiar with it now.

Okay, should my kids go back to school.

I have twins and their thinking is split. One of them, Miles, wants to physically go back to his high school. He says he misses the ritual of getting up early, showering, getting dressed, and heading out. He says he especially misses seeing his classmates. This spring he did virtual schooling and he did okay but he has been pushing for going back to his actual school.

I was a substitute teacher and when I first subbed I noticed hand sanitizer in every class room. I wondered about that but didn't use it. Big mistake. I got sick as a dog and then realized that schools were a petri dish. Not for the students, they build up immunity, but for the brand new subs, like me, who haven't.

You better believe that  I washed my hands every chance I got after that. One other thing, I would see kids coughing and sneezing and blowing their nose big time and I would think, "Why are you even here?"

I'd see that every day.

On to my other twin, Griffin.

He, on the other hand, has no problem with virtual schooling. He's fine with learning from home, he's fine with staying up on classes and homework through his iPad. He sees and talks to his friends every day through FaceTiming and texting.

Two different view points.

Also because I'm a stroke survivor I'm right in the middle of that 'at risk' category. I worry about them catching it. I worry that they might inadvertently bring the virus home.

I worry, I worry.

A main difference between being a kid and being a parent is when you're a kid you worry about nothing. When you're a parent you worry all the time about your kids.  Wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth. My Dad used to say he couldn't go to sleep until all of his kids came home at night. I used to think yeah, right. Now? I know exactly what he was talking about.

Throw in COVID-19 and as the saying goes, "There you go."

One last thing I worry about is the teachers catching it. This Coronavirus does.not.discriminate. Old, young, black, white, brown, rich, poor. It doesn't care.

Their school starts August 17th.

Right now? I'm leaning towards the virtual. Today. Ask me tomorrow.

How about you?

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