All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


Tree Fort

When I was a kid we built forts.  In the mid to late 70's our home didn't have any mature trees.  There was a long row of dirt mounds that had been hauled into make a road bed behind our house.  The developer decided not to build the road.  It was a wonderful place for a boy.  The weeds were very high and there were tons of places to hide.  We got boards and made "caves".  We took our dads tools and dug "fox holes" and had dirt clod fights in them.  We blew stuff up with firecrackers.  We built camp fires.  I got a whipping when my dad caught me.  The next time I built campfires that didn't produce smoke that could be seen form our house.  We rode our bikes up and down the dirt mounds.

In short, it was the way God intended boyhood to be in northern Michigan.

Then my father moved us down state.  Down state is a horrible place.  To be fair to dad, the small company he worked for went out of business and a job is a job.  Still life is better in the northern half of the state.

The next house was situated in the city of hell.  Not literally Hell, MI.  Hell, MI is actually a fairly nice place.  No we moved to a big city outside of Detroit.  Jimmy Carter was in the White House and the economy sucked.  Mortgage rates were 18%.  We had to get a smaller house in a subdivision in town.  They still own it.  I hated that move, still do.

The one thing the house did have was LOTS of big trees.  Willow trees are easy to climb, easy to build forts in, and great for making whips out of the branches.  I built a tree fort, because that is what boys do.  It was the crappy job that you'd expect a kid would do with scrap boards and the bent nails swiped out of the Folgers can in the garage.  It was my fort.  It was cool.  Which is how it is supposed to be.

I expect that my hammering and other shenanigans didn't do the tree any good but in the end it was the infestation of carpenter ants that killed the tree.  Well they didn't actually kill it.  Dad made the decision to get rid of the willows out of the yard.  He hated raking all those little leaves and branches.  Keeping the carpenter ants form infesting our home was as good an excuse as any.  There was a large area of woods and fields that were undeveloped between our subdivision and the interstate.  Operations moved there.  That location had the additional benefit that my little brother couldn't go because it was too far away.

Boys build forts.  The best ones are tree forts.  Is there any male, I won't call such a creature a man, that didn't have a fort as a boy?  Apparently there is in Georgia.  From the I can't believe it happened in the USA file:

11-year-old building tree fort says officer pulled gun on him, friends
HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — A fifth-grader says he was terrified when a police officer pointed a gun at him and his friends while they built a tree fort.
Omari Grant, 11, said he and his friends often play in a wooded area behind his home and were building a fort when a neighbor in the next subdivision called police to complain about what the boys were doing.
I believe the kids.  I think some dumbass cop pulled a gun because some nosy neighbor woman called 911 to "save the environment" and "protect the children".  Good thing the cop had a gun, the boy might have fallen out of a tree and broke his arm.  It's much better that a so-called adult was ready to shoot him dead to prevent it. 

The boys admit to cutting down some limbs to make their fort.  I don't know how much damage was done to the trees.  You know how you fix that?  The person who owns the trees cuts a good sized branch from one of the downed limbs.  This is what is known as a switch.  Then you have the boys line up and bend over.  Apply the switch to their behinds.  Problem solved.  No guns needed.  If that is too drastic, put them in the back of the cop car and haul them home to their parents.

I don't care that the cops responded to a bunch of black kids building a fort.  I don't care that its Georgia.  Black boys should be able to build tree forts without getting shot.  What is a 5th grader going to do, dis yo mamma?  Better have your gun out, you never know, the kid might say something mean to you.


  1. When I was a kid, we moved to the western edge of Chippewa Falls, Wi from the east hill. There was a dirt street behind us, and they were going to start building some new homes there. That winter was quite snowy in the mid 70's, and there was a HUGE drift across the road back there. All us neighborhood boys built a series of tunnels and rooms in that drift. It was like 16 feet thick at the base and about 20 feet high. One kid's mom got scared and called the city. They had an employee that was a tunnel rat in 'Nam, and he went through the entire complex to get us all out. Then the city brought in a back hoe type thing with a snowblower type attachment on the front. It was very big. They took down the drift in about an hour, and the local cop that patrolled our neighborhood had a talk with us. Forts are what boys do, as you say. Those were good times to be a kid.

  2. As I have said before Stupidity has no bounds these days. Cops are becoming low IQ robots without any discernment.

  3. Tree forts, forts, exploring the old abandoned mine buildings. I can't understand how the cops weren't sympathizing with the boys and suppressing a smile while they did their job. One can be a low IQ robot and still be as American as Barny Fife or Forrest Gump. I can't imagine pulling a gun on kids playing, I'm baffled and angry at the same moment.

  4. Res Ipsa4:56 PM

    old abandoned mine buildings.

    Caves and mines are COOL with a capital C! But I can see the point that boys shouldn't be allowed to play places like that.

  5. black7:44 AM

    Had a cave up by our old house that kids used to check out. The problem is the diminishing IQ of children these days... the last bunch of kids up there snuck their parents guns and were shooting.

    We ended up having to call the cops as this was within 200 yards of our house. 4 kids with about 2 guns each...

    The cop told me he used to hang out up there when he was a kid. But not with the guns.

  6. Giraffe10:56 AM

    We hollowed out a fort out of a snow pile. My dad even helped us. I don't think it is wise, if it caved in you would be dead.

    So, this winter I had my girls outside and we built a fort. No cave in danger.