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Pop 2.0


The first great gadget for fathers was the vas deferens. I like to imagine that this vital duct in the male reproductive system -- like every gadget available today -- once had its own product launch party.

It's 50,000 B.C., and cavemen and cavewomen are standing around eating grilled mammoth and gossiping about each other. "Ugh, look at that pelt. That is so Paleozoic." The big unveiling reveals that not only is the vas deferens the best tool for producing babies, it comes standard with each member of the male species.

Thousands of years later, even as in-vitro fertilization and artificial insemination threaten to make the vas deferens an inferior product, dads still love a great gizmo. Men have an innate attraction to technology; we relate to it in a way that women simply don't. Just check out any holiday gift guide aimed at dads, and you'll see an endless array of digital cameras, portable GPS and gaming systems. A few grill utensils might break up the high-tech monotony, but chances are the spatula has a built-in thermometer and Doppler radar.

The good news for moms: There are plenty of doo-hickeys than can help us modern dads sharpen our parenting skills. Most of us already have a handheld device with a calendar (schedule the PTA meeting), camera (memory saver) and task pad (don't forget the dry cleaning!). So just imagine what would happen if moms actually encouraged us to maximize this technology.  

Let's face it: Mothers have a very precise idea about how the parenting should go (feed here, play there, poop here, sleep there), but no one likes having to explain the specifics repeatedly (otherwise known as nagging). So, instead of having to provide an endless stream of instructions, wouldn't it be easier if we took direction from our BlackBerrys? If us guys have an innate response to technology, I say let the technology tell us what to do. When my BlackBerry plays a catchy calypso tune to remind me to pick up Swimmies, I think, "I have put technology to work for me. I am the smartest man alive!"  

Still not sold? Consider the new Baby Tracker: Diapers app. It allows users to enter the time of baby's bowel movement and choose an appropriate description (seedy, soft, etc.) and color. There's a reason pediatricians ask for this information during the first weeks and months. I have no idea what that reason is, but you'll want the data handy nonetheless. It may sound a little wacky, but from Pop's point of view, Baby Tracker: Diapers turns baby's poop schedule into a video game. The bad news is he may never look at a Benjamin Moore color chart the same way again.  

Mom: "How were George's poops today?" 
Dad: "The first one was Serengeti Sand. The other was Appalachian Spring, with a hint of August Morning."  

Still, I think it's worth it, because when the vas deferens becomes obsolete, the rest of me will be the best fathering gizmo on the market.