Wednesday, October 31, 2007

No Good Procreators

Should evil be allowed to father is today's philosophical conundrum for daddyland ponderers.

Multi-murdering Naples mafia head Raffaele Cutolo has a new daughter — his son died at 25 from living the gang life — thanks to artificial insemination and a 6-year legal battle to allow him to impregnate without ever touching the woman he married 24 years ago in prison.

Only slightly less icky circumstances surround the newborn sire of Yigal Amir, the Jewish assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Conjugal visits were allowed with his wife of three years and, as a result, their child was born and will be circumcised in remembrance of the 12th anniversary of a crime many say set back a real possibility for peace in the Middle East.

** Is it fair that evil's children grow beneath such a shadow as their fathers' cast? **

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fearmonger Dads

Perhaps because reality seems to get scarier and scarier, it is harder and harder for dads to frighten der kinder.

“I have a life-size Frankenstein head, custom, that’s in my living room above my TV, so when I sit with my twin girls, we can look at that beautiful wax,” says postman and wax fan Mac McDermott. “And my girls, they love Frankenstein, too."

Wendell Jamieson tried scaring his 8-year-old with a horror film festival, mostly to no avail after the son refused to be scared by the King Kong that had terrified the father: "
'What?' Dean shot back as Kong rampaged. 'He looks so fake.' " Actually, the most important result was teaching his son an important life lesson:

When you are alone with the bad guy, and he is pouring you a drink, and he asks if anyone knows that you came to meet him, you always answer: “Yes, yes. Everyone knows! I told everyone I know that I was coming! Totally.”
Perhaps the problem is kids are pretty much prepared for everything. If you really want to get them, think about when they are just waking up:

** Kids scare dads by growing up. Turnabout on Halloween and maybe a few other days a year seems only fair. **

Monday, October 29, 2007

Put It On The Dad Tab

Who picks up a son's tab? The father, of course.

So, even as Florida dad Joe Salter argues that he told his son not to spend more than $600 so he couldn't possibly have put $53,000 of strip club charges onto the father's Amex card, he still is making plans to take care of it.

And Salter has nothing on Mr. Roberts, daddy Oral, who has been called home to Tulsa to clean up the $52.5 million debt (and some other personal scandals and bad PR) created by his son and step-daughter, Richard and Lindsay, as prez and first lady of the eponymous U.

It is possible, of course, that even as the dad's are picking up the tab, they might try and lay it down on someone else. Salter already appealed the charges — which the card company found legitimate. Roberts is famous for — among other spectacles — announcing to his faithful that they needed to send $8 million to him or God was calling him home (to heaven, not Tulsa ...and the faithful sent $9 million).

** Anyway, Thing 1's $30 halloween costume bill doesn't seem quite so excessive now. **

Dad Talk

Sometimes it's fiction that offers the best dad fact. For example, John Slattery a father one and star of the late night soap, "Mad Men," says (in character) of children, ""One minute, you're drinking in a bar and they come and tell you your kid's been born. Next thing you know, they're heading off to college."

And then there are the times when facts offer a pretty amusing fiction. Such as Russell Crowe's attempt at self-delusion that he can fence in his twin 3-year-olds from the affects of his own fame and celebrity:

"Just at the moment, my son thinks a box of sultanas is the greatest gift God ever sent to Earth. If I can keep him in that place where simple things bring great pleasure, where going for a ride around the farm and talking to the cows is something he'll discuss with his friends for a week, that will be a great advantage to both of us."
Suppose it were fact or fiction that your children didn't actually grow up? Would it be good or bad?

** Maybe it's as simple as, every dad creates his own fiction? **

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Donning Your Sox with Pride

How young is too young to begin to indoctrinate your son or daughter? This week's objet d'eBay is advertised as a "Dad's mini-diaper bag" (as if somehow you could limit by size what happens when a man straps on a diaper bag).

From all evidence, at least based on this week's smiles throughout the Red Sox nation, it is never too young. In fact, some kids owe it to their dads to follow in their footsteps, like Avery Kate Tilton of Beverly, Mass., who is around to watch the Red Sox win their second championship thanks to a bet Dad made with mom about the BoSox claiming their first.

** Can anyone explain why kids reject every one of a dad's ideas except team affiliation. **

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Momentary Monetary Distractions

Dancing or prancing, sometimes a dad's got to do what a dad's got to do.

Billionaire father of one Mark Cuban said, "It just shows you that money can't buy you the most important things," after he stumbled in the faux competition, "Dancing with the Stars."

Not that how winning a television competition is one of the more important things for a father to consider purchasing is clear. But it is certainly true that one is a better father when one has varied interests. And money can certainly support those.

Like exotic birds and cars and jets, or a book, or a beer, or even badminton lessons, such as those purchased by father of 11, Haji Hassan-al-Bolkiah, aka Sultan of Brunei, for a little bit over $2.5 million.

** Money buys toys for fathers, but, according to Thing 1 and Thing 2, absolutely buys happiness for kids. **

Friday, October 26, 2007

Dad Love Supposed to be Funny

Everyone wants to fix up good old dad. Except he's already got a secret love.

Such is "Dan in Real Life," the new large screen sit-comedy starring Steve Carrel, Dane Cook and Juliette Binoche. Critics who don't pan it seem surprised it's as good as it is, while those who hate it are linking it to all of its sources and talking up how the original (which they discuss in pejorative terms) is better.

Relating to others is what the father of three does best, they say.

The movie may be formula and the reception tepid — unlike the "if a movie screens in a forest, but nobody sees it" life so far of the "father-son drama," "Father Son Holy Ghost" — but the trailer copywriter does offer genius in defining dadhod: "You make plans for your kids; you make plans for yourself, but the only thing you can truly plan on is to be surprised."

** And there you have it. Each dad's life is a completely unique cliche."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tear-Stained Pages

While reading the books will probably inspire hope, thinking about the two books by dads involved with their sons only brings (at least near) tears.

Norwegian literateur Halfdan W. Freihow wrote a book his son will probably never finish, although he did listen to half of it as an audio book. "Dear Gabriel: Letter From a Father" is the tack the father took to communicate what he couldn't to his autistic son. Amazingly, as he was writing the book, the then 9-year-old boy suddenly learned to read.

And a Los Angeles-area man is at work on the story he encouraged his son to start before a sniper's bullet ended the possibility of his finishing it. Darrell Griffin Sr. was recently visiting Iraq, trying to learn more about what his son went through there in order to give final shape to the journals of war his son kept as an infantryman in Sadr City.

Film rights have already been sold — with the proviso that it not be used either to support or denounce the war, only to tell the son's story — even as the Griffins' work continues. Says Sr., "I don't think you'll find a father and son closer than we were. He was the smartest man I ever met. I'm not writing this book, we're writing it."

** The father-child bond is most extraordinary when it combines both strength and distance. **

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Role Out

"My daughter—for whom I gave up margaritas and caffeine and even pain relievers for nine months, the child I labored 13 hours to bring into the world, the daughter I sang to and continued to nurse even after her first teeth came in—runs right past me and straight into the arms of her daddy," laments Andrea Todd in the October Self magazine article, entitled "My Husband Is a Better Mother."

The title does play off the stereotypical mom and dad, but she is clear on what her and her husband's strengths are as parents. Todd concludes with a nice perspective on grabbing the best from both mom and dad to aid a child.

** If Daddy is mommy and mums is daddum, maybe we need new names? **

Death Be Not

"I'm dying soon, and I'm choosing to have fun," says father of two young boys and a baby girl Randy Pausch. "Today, tomorrow and every day I have left."

While outliving his doctor's prognosis, Pausch is a Carnegie Mellon University professor famed for his work inspiring and facilitating children, especially girls, to get involved with programming. His "last lecture," a result of his pancreatic cancer diagnosis and "death sentence" was offered to the CMU community but aimed at his children is said to have been downloaded more than 1 million times.

Also facing death bravely, although from the other side of the spectrum after having lost her father, is 9-year-old Milly Bell, whose father died two years ago at age 37. Ms. Bell is the author of the new United Kingdom release, "My Daddy Is Dying," a collection of the drawings and games she created as her father underwent his final treatments for his brain tumor.

** You can only leave what you have made. **

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What Did You Do in The War, Daddy?

With some help from the government and his friends, the book has been closed (actually published) on how one daughter solved the mystery of her daddy at war. Another daughter continues to face government obstacles to learn about a man she barely knew fighting a war that the government still, apparently, wants to keep secret.

Jane Gardner Birch received the National Aviation Hall of Fame 2007 Coombs Gates Award for her first book, "They Flew Proud," the story of the World War II Civilian Pilot Training Program the research and writing of which helped her learn a bit about her warrior father.

At the other extreme is Charlotte Dennett, still stymied by government fears for secrecy in her search for who her dad — code named "carat" — was and what really happened when his plane crashed in Addis Ababa in 1947.

** Every dad has a hidden warrior, but some dads have more compelling tales to hide. **

Piano Keys

Does it portend the end of the world or just common sense when character actor/presidential candidate Fred Thompson and Reverend/hatemonger Louis Farrakhan are so closely aligned?

In his first Republican presidential nominee debate, Thompson declared, "we need more fathers to stay and raise their kids."And celebrating the 12th anniversary of his "Million Man March," Farrakhan warned [black] dads are disappearing.

Besides elusive fathers and donuts for dads it will be interesting to learn what else the orating pops-to-five holy father-of-nine can harmonize on.?

** Is Thompson spending big money on the niche as his big pitch for the daddytrackers continues? **

Monday, October 22, 2007

World Notes

In the north, daddyies are forever (or at least the Big Daddy is). In the south, more and more men are SAHD.

So is the story of Korea today. Deceased Kim Il Sung, father of today's North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, is "eternal president." In South Korea, according to the National Statistics Office, unemployed men who raise their children and take care of household affairs number 151,000, up 42.5 percent since 2003.

** SAHD or immortal. Quite a Hobson's choice for fathers. **

Sea to Shining Sea

A recent story — mostly on retaining pregnant moms — noted the doubling of the percentage of single Navy dads from 2003 to 2005 (to six from three percent), also making the point that given the sizable male majority, singles dads outnumber single moms among the seafaring fighters.

15,600 single navy dads?

Surprising, but military single dads is not a new issue. A Stars and Stripes reader (sixth letter) asked lat year for equal treatment for the military's single dads and moms.

And it shouldn't be surprising at all. Just life today. No more unlikely but not unusual than a refugee single father of six, taking care of his family in Buffalo. 2000 census data points included

  • fathers raise children in 2.2 million motherless households (about one in 45) ... up 62 percent since the 1990 census
  • close to one in six single parents is a father (only 5 percents are widowers) compared with one in 10 in 1970
  • a majority of those are divorced (42 percent) or have never been married (38 percent).
  • in 2.2 million households, fathers raise their children without a mother. That's about one household in 45.
Here, freer (yeah, it's not the best rhyme ever) ... get used to it!

** Nice that single dads are no longer adrift. **

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Tune Daddy

Ike Everly set the direction and the boys redirected the path toward fame. This week's objet d'eBay is older brother Don and younger brother Phil's homage to dad.

Father Ike chose to leave the coal mining life behind and move his family to Chicago, playing in country western and honky tonk nightclubs with his brothers. In 1945, with a vision that radio would be the family's future he joined radio station KMA in Shenandoah, Iowa, and began having his sons, ages 8 and 6, on his radio show.

At the young ages of 8 and 6, Don and Phil began to perform on their parents' live radio show. By his example, Ike instilled in his two sons his own love for music. He encouraged them to sing and he taught them to play guitar. Soon enough, they were the Everly Brothers and singing harmonic ballads that echo in hearts today, what seems like hundreds of years after they were first released.

** Always lullaby your babies. Who knows where it will go. **

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Royal Knave

The fear is rising in Buckingham Palace that third-in-line to the throne, Prince William, may be perceived as a cad ... like dad. With granddad something of a loose canon; dad either an eccentric or a jerk; son an image still waiting to be formed, there is concern among royal handlers that our boy Bill's handling of on-again off-again girlfriend Kate may cause the public to perceive him as negatively as they did his father in Diana's rout of his Charles on the field of public image.

Like father, like son can only be bad for the British tourist industry built as it is on the shaky foundation of Windsor mythology. No word has leaked on Charles' advice to his first son.

** Perhaps any father-son relationship lived in public an dbased on the public's need for an heir and spare, is doomed. **

Friday, October 19, 2007

Anything Ginger Rogers Can Do ... and Faster

Low sparks of high heeled dads lit the St. Louis sky as radio station Y98 raced dads in heels against each other for a Hannah Montana concert four-ticket prize. Proving once again either the lengths fathers will go to for their children or that transvestite dads are more plentiful and energetic than one would have thought.

** Unless, of course, these men were using a child as a beard, racing to win the tickets for themselves. **

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pigskin Pop

Following the path outlined on his three childrens' long faces led 43-year-old Vinny Testaverde to at least one more week as a quarterback hero.

Old and possibly unloved, Vincent Frank Testaverde, was released in September by the New England Patriots as a backup QB. Keeping in shape from the couch of his Long Island home he had agreed to take a job in Phoenix, but put his kids to sleep having seen how unhappy they were that he would be spending so much time away from them — the family was planning a move to Tampa, Fla. So, instead, VFT wriggled out of the one contract and into a job he could more easily commute to and from in Charlotte, N.C.

And the man immediately named "dad" by his teammates made his first week on the job, at least, into some father feelgood history.

** Sad kids; sad dad. **

Dads Drown in Down

Willy Loman is the poster dad for depressed fathers, a middle aged depressive,dragging his sorry carcass under the weight of the world.

And while we don't want to dismiss those in that sorry state, recent studies suggest a surprising concern. Up to 10 percent of new dads suffer from PND, postnatal depression — the male version of the hormone induced post-partum depression in new moms.

There are risk factors and groups to help the suffering father. And the very best reason to admit the need for help is the possibility that not getting help can hurt your newborn's development.

** Is it better to have science validate our worries or to discover that every day, it seems, a dad has more to worry about. **

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

School Daze

I had a dream.

I dreamed of a day when a man could head the PTA. When a million men would be walk their children to school. I dreamed that moms would step aside and welcome, if not actively encourage dads to relish time in their childrens' schools.

And in my dream boys stopped being boys when they got to be dads. And never in my dream did two dads duke it out in on school grounds, killing one, to settle the fight begun by their sons the week before.

** New Dream: you pull the man out of the boy and most of the boy out of the man. **


"We've been told by our wives on many occasions to keep our mouths shut," says John Martello. But that's how it is when fathers watch their sons take on their passions, whether it is soccer as in New York father dad Martello's case, or roasting an ox, as it is for Maine's Duane Jellison and Mark Foster, as well as fathers everywhere else.

** What father doesn't crow watching his child be him? **

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Princess and Angels

What do you get when you combine "daddy's angel(s)" and "daddy's princess?" In Norway, you get Princess Martha Louise, daughter of King Harald and fourth in line to the crown.

The Princess made news most recently as the first Norwegian royalty to have her day in court. She sued to be taken off the cover a book about angels. The publishers were found to have glommed on to publicity surrounding the Princess's psychic abilities and entrepreneurial activities offering to rent her gifts to folks interested in talking with their own angels.

As we all (should) do, dad stands by her.
"She's a grown person and makes her own choices, just like everyone else in Norway," King Harald was quoted as saying about his controversial daughter. Adding, "our family is quite similar to all other families — we support one another in such situations."

** King Daddy's angel is probably also a royal pain. **

Monday, October 15, 2007

Fix from Afar?

Let us prepare for death. Please stop enabling.

Amy Winehouse's father has written her eulogy. Her father-in-law has suggested that fans stop buying her work so that she and his son, Blake Fielder-Civil, will not have the money to continue their drug and other addictions. Together in their concern, they are at odds over which child is the catalyst for the joint troubles.

Can a father do more than complain once a child has left home and won't return?

** The questions for every dad: where did I go wrong and how do I fix it now? **

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Communication Stylings

"Hi, dad. I woke up this morning as a cockroach. Wish you were here ... with crumbs."

That would surely have been a much more amusing letter for Franz Kafka to write his father. But he wasn't actually that kind of fun guy (or fungi). This week objet d'eBay, a 1966 edition of Kafka's "Letter To His Father," actually begins, "Dearest Father, You asked me recently why I maintain that I am afraid of you. As usual, I was unable to think of any answer to your question, partly for the very reason that I am afraid of you...."

As a comment (perhaps) on why relations between father and son were strained, FK gave his mom the 40-plus page letter to pass along to his dad. She didn't and while Papa K never got the chance to read the letter, it's available for everyone else.

** If only Kafka had known his emoticons (e.g., frowny face) and abbreviations (e.g., IMHO u suck) he would never have gotten a book out of it. I wonder what Thing 1 and 2 will make from their text messages and IMs? **

Saturday, October 13, 2007

You Must Be the Dad ...

In a clip that has nothing and everything to do about being a father and loving your son, Arthur makes his acting debut:

**" ... But I can't be the dad. ... My Hero." **

Financing Families

Possibly there's a mixed message. Possibly I'm stupid. Likely both, but it still seems odd that the come-on from the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative is that fathers who attend a weekend seminar (which doesn't seem to require being there with family) get to reduce the amount they pay in child support.

Not to cast aspersions in the air toward MFI, but maybe (or at least I would understand it better if) they could bribe dads to bring their kids into the family biz (even if it means helping them get a gig). That way kids can become jazzists like the Brubecks — who played with dad before going out on their own, or a football ref like longtime volleyball ref Cindy C-Wilson, who chose to ref with pops.

** The daddy and kids who work together ... at least have money together. **

Friday, October 12, 2007

Incredible Shrinking Men

Somewhere, an article should analyze and headline should highlight that SOMEONE (actually more, unless the ticket was really expensive) went to see "Daddy Day Camp" last week — at least according to the Rotten Tomatoes report of movie grosses through the Oct. 7 weekend.

"The Darjeeling Limited," another-but-better-received picture with daddy issues, was in 177 fewer theaters (196 to 19) but managed to outticket DDC ($.6m to .1m). Not quite sure what this means in terms of father-subtexted features or the general (or movie specific) economic scene, but reviews or not, I was lucky to escape DDC and will probably need to arrange a grown-up night out (maybe just wait for the weekend and sleepover requests to come in) to check out TDL.

** Screens shrink dads. The more they see them in the movies or on tv, the less change of them thinking fathers (particularly theirs) are larger than life. **

Turkey Links Fathers to Sons

Father and son POTUS (POTI?), H.W. and W., are currently holding hands in Turkish enmity — at least according to the more militant voices raised in response to the Congressional vote to offer an opinion that the killing of hundreds of thousands (maybe a million or more) Armenians 90 years ago was not just bad but wrong.

Bush 41 is accused of dragging Turkey into a war and costing it millions in petrodollars, as well as making things worse between the country and its Turkish minority (the Kurds, who received a quasi-homeland on the Turkish doorstep post First Gulf Struggle). Bush 43 is accused (and this one is hard to argue with) of weakening himself so much that a congresswoman with a large Armenian-American constituency (Speaker Nancy Pelosi) was able to push through a resolution that had hardly moved behind discussions stage for more than 20 years.

Of course, Turkey has not helped people's perception of its reasonableness by sentencing a son for publishing the words of his father, who was murdered after speaking of the Turkish "genocide."

** Deny or embrace it, nobody will let you escape a father's legacy. **

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Running for First Dad

Within the late historian Arthur Schlesinger's hearing, President Kennedy is reported explaining why the family turned out so well (?): "... no one can say it was due to my mother. ...when [bootlegging scion and diplomat father Joe] was around, he made his children feel that they were the most important things in the world to him. He seemed terribly interested in everything we were doing. He held up standards for us, and he was very tough when we failed to meet his standards. This toughness was important. If it hadn't been for that, Teddy might be just a playboy today."

Let's set aside the thoughts that raises about current Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy — or criticism of Schelsinger who was on point with much of history but overly enamored by the Camelot mystique he was helping to create — and move back to fathers. Someday current events will be removed from the purview of bloggers and into the bailiwick of professional historians.

And when it does we (if still alive) will learn a little more about presidential wannabe dads and their younguns. A recent scrap of the evidence they'll have to work with comes from a USA Today report that includes info that Fred Thompson's son made $170,000 for three years as an advisor to his dad's political action committee while the PAC only donated $40,000 to other candidates; that the Mitt Romney Five will someday share from a $100 million trust fund; and that the one mom in the race, Ms. Clinton, seems to be the only candidate whose child(ren) is little involved in her campaign. (Rudy G's children are involved, but mostly, it seems, in opposition to his aspirations.)

** With which dad as Pres (sorry Hill) would you be a happy child? **

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Some S/B In Custody, Others Should Have It

Dads are not well represented in the public eye by David Hasselhoff. But it is equally true Britney Spears doesn't do moms proud. The point is that while individual cases vary, why should men have to hoot, hyperbole and haul signs around in a circle to attract legal and judicial attention to what should be obvious: individual men can be as bad or good as individual women as a parent and, unless evidence shows otherwise, should be granted equal custodial rights in a divorce.

** And gentlemen, I have a dream that if we get that, maybe, someday, we'll even be allowed by the moms to head up a school bake sale... and maybe the sons of our sons will be in the running for the class mom position. I have a dream. **

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Stephen's Believen

Insulting, wrongheaded, smarmy and funny. Colbert on SAHDs from February 2007 (with a shoutout of thanks to athomedaddy who pointed me to this and whose daughter is obviously kinder to him during the day than Things 1&2 are to me so he can stay up later).

** Still much less insulting than "Mr. Mom." **

Book Him, Dado

There was a time, say in Biblical days, when society let fathers wing it. But those times are no more — and that may be a good thing as Adam only had boys (where did everyone come from again?) and one killed the other, which seems a little sloppy, if not actually the product of poor parenting.

Maybe Adam just needed a book. (And to know how to read... and in English, if you want to get technical.) Maybe the whole (Biblical) world would have turned out differently if only Wendell Jamieson's "Father Knows Less, or "Can I Cook My Sister?" and the Mike Linderman/Gary Brozek collaboration "The Teen Whisperer" had been published in time.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Rock of Ages

"It's the best movie," says Thing 2 (still, three days after we sat through it) about Disney's "The Game Plan." Enough people agree (or like me took girls who agreed) to sell an estimated $42.8 million tickets since release and put it into the top spot among movies in American theaters for the second week in a row.

I'd beg to differ, but what would be the point? Not that I wouldn't be supported by a bunch of critics paid to take a look at a slickly produced movie filled with obvious product placements and plotted along standard daddy (i.e., "the Rock") meets daughter (i.e., Madison Pettis), daddy (football hero) loses daughter (ballerina, runaway), daddy (Super Bowl MPV) gets daughter (living happily ever after orphan no more) lines.

Or, as supporting actor Morris Chestnut says, it's a "he grows ... she grows ... beautiful story."

Just as father-child stories always are on Disney's Planet Daddy and often are on planet Earth.

** Rock Dwayne Johnson can actually father — he has a 6-year-old with an ex-wife — but you'd never know if from this movie if the dialogue didn't say so. **

The Big Dance

Do daddy's girls really "save" themselves for someone special? Do fathers really give away their daughters? And can a dad-daughter prom, as the Arizona Daily Star announces, "help drive home message about abstinence"?

The questions arise as it's time for Tucson's fourth annual Purity Ball — and, no,"ball" is not being used ironically — a father-daughter outing that the local Baptist ministry expects to encourage religious-inspired abstinence (part of the ceremony involves a white rose laid on a cross).

Dads serving in their daughters' lives as guide and inspiration is praiseworthy. But there is also something a little strained, if not icky at the level of involvement of dads in their daughters sex lives suggested by the self-proclaimed 24-year-old unmarried virgin who seems to revel in date nights with dad, seemingly unbalanced by a relationship with a single male closer to her age.

** Isn't the goal to teach your children the best you can (deciding for them less and less as they age) and then worry? **

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Double Daddy Dare

"Dare to be Stupid" is pretty much the good daddy theme song ... even if Al Yankovic's lyrics don't always offer the best advice for responsible popping. Of course, since this week's objet d'eBay is a cassette — and no rightminded person still has the capability to play it — what he says probably doesn't matter as much as what you think he says.

Should he rewrite DtbS, making it darker thanks to the wisdom gained from life with daughter Nina, born 12 years after the album was released? I know it would change my lyrics.

As for acquiring this treasure, here's W(eird)AY, himself, on what you have to look forward to when you get caught in the search for the cassette:

** Does he use his accordion skills to lullaby his child to sleep or drown out her crying? **

Saturday, October 6, 2007

2.0 Does Not Equal 72

In "Fatherhood 2.0," Time Magazine cites research that dads who nurture their kids have happier children and lives. "Basically," saisd the research's author, Texas Professor Aaron Rochlen, "masculinity is bad for you."

And in the essay about the changing nature of how society views fathering the magazine cherry picks from available research to highlight another study showing lower-testosteroned males held baby dolls longer than their higher testosterone's brethren. Which makes me wonder if I can ever breed again, having sat on the floor of my daughters' bedroom through an interminable number of naked Barbie (are there any others?) tea parties. The real question is that while masculinity may be bad for you as Time suggests, but what kind of life is attendee at parties where you pretend to eat and drink with unclothed plastic?

Speaking/writing of naked plastic, what exactly was the 72-year-old Brit grandfather fantasizing as he went through the motions to "donate his sperm" at the bank where his daughter-in-law would be making a withdrawal? Perhaps some find this story warm and cuddly, a grandfather doing his all for his son, but doctors quoted say it's potentially dangerous as if getting a 9.2 on the "icky scale" weren't enough to put a stop to it.

** Doesn't seem holy, the divine doublety: grandad and dad the same. **

Friday, October 5, 2007

Through the (Fun House) Looking Glass Mirror

Larry Birkhead and Jerry Stiller: factional fathers in fictional roles.

Birkhead, sperm donor to the car crash that was Anna Nicole Smith and winner of the Danielynn Smith lottery, is reportedly parlaying his good luck into a "reality" television show.

Contrast this with hall of fame — is there such a thing? there certainly should be — Stiller, whose career began in the role of real life/stage husband to Anne Meara, now taking on what has become the comfortable role of crazy father to his (and Meara's) real life son Ben Stiller. They appear in The Heartbreak Kid remake of the 1972 American, not 1993 Australian, film.

** It's a bit too post-modern to define when two guys pretend to be the fathers they're not. **

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Zero Son Gain

One of "Two and a Half Men," Jon Cryer, doesn't know how his television son will develop. In a recent interview he suggested it all depended on how the producer's son — presumably the inspiration for the Jake character — grows and the challenges he offers his father.

Nor, like fathers everywhere, does he fully understand what planet his son comes from. As he admits, "Oh I will avoid those same pitfalls ... but you can't and they sneak up and bite you, no matter what. My son just gave me my first ... I was telling him ""You can't play the video games, you can't have the ice cream until you do the chores"" and he said, ""Whatever."" I went ""Oh my God!"" that was my first 'whatever' at 7. I felt like I should have written it down like on the [growth] chart — my first friggin 'whatever' of a long list of 'whatevers.'"

** For an actor father it is art not imitating but being life. **

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Here, but Not Present

A dad's absence is still a presence in a child's life.

Three sons of Newark, doctors, describe their experience in coming to grips with absent fathers in their third book, The Bond. Sad as their experience is, would they (or their fathers) trade it for never having the opportunity to learn the biological link — a fate mandated in certain circumstances by a recent Canadian court ruling?

** It's more than DNA — dad not around. **

Who? When? How?

Suppose you are asked to define first-time fatherhood. Do you offer a single definition?

Is Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis a dad just because girlfriend Heather Christie gave birth to a son sharing his DNA? Could four-time father Kevin Federline be defined as a new father, now that he seems to be taking the role seriously? Or are you a (re)new(ed) dad every time you face another step in your child's life, from when s/he is born to when they get on the school bus alone to when they ship you off to the home.

Or should you think of "fatherhood" as Justice Potter Stewart explained obscenity: something he knew when he saw?

** But the usual elements are? **

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Brief Search for Non-fiction in Fiction

Of course you expect your fiction to be non-fiction, in the sense that it provides something autobiographical about the author. And a collaboration of father and daughter (and maybe a third uncredited author, but we'll ignore him as the title page does) must surely tell something of what goes on between them. Wouldn't it?

With "George's Secret Key to the Universe," the first of a children's trilogy, whose plot centers on a scientist and scientist-in-training daughter who hold secrets to the universe, how can one not look closely to find comparisons with the biographies of Stephen and Lucy Hawking — father, daughter and brainiac invalid, novelist daughter.

Ah, but what do you find?

** Was it because there was not enough father-child revelation that millions bought but left unread and certainly uncomprehended Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time? **

Monday, October 1, 2007

Better Red

Sergei's dad thought sputnik was a "hollowed, polished ball with four whiskers of antennas. ... a scientific amusement."

Pops, of course, was Nikita Kruschev, the shoe-banging proponent of "godless communisim," who was prime minister of the Soviet Union when they beat the U.S. into space by launching a satellite, as well as a temporary push by America to improve the science and mathematical education of its students.

The younger Kruschev, who also gives bent to the position that his father was an even tempered man "[who] didn't like to raise his voice," is currently touring and lecturing as part of the 50th anniversary of the Oct. 4, 1957, launch.

Of course, his getting paid to talk about something not that important to him at the time is like living off dad's history by going on and on about your father's Oldsmobile. A phrase which, in General Motors' negative ad campaign for its cars — this isn't your father's Oldsmobile — still lives on as a very popular phrase and the only think keeping alive an extinct car line.

... Which, I guess, brings us back around to the Soviet Union. A giant bureaucracy that imploded and is no more ... which might be a case study for the genius's at GM to consider before they again tries to slight dads and their cars. Or, perhaps, what Mr. Kruschev should really be helping to explain to us?

** A dad can never know whether it is the big moments or small that will constitute the legacy he leaves to his children. **