Monday, December 31, 2007


Thankfully, the daddytracker battles over the work/kid balance can be dealt with by talk not actual fighting. And both sides can claim to be doing their best for their children. Because when fathers actually go to war, sometimes they don't return. A tragedy now commemorated (?) with daddy dolls (now, "hug a heroes").

Not that a dad should necessarily stay at home once he returns. An experiment in SAHD credibility had a sad result. A pop who only has to go up or down his home's stairs to his office reduces his credibility unless he doesn't let anyone know.

** Everyday is a struggle, but mortality is not always a consequence. **

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dr. Father to Dr. Son

It has been Pakistan's generational Groundhog Day (the film, not the flim-flam/news-filler). Benazir Bhutto was assassinated and the doctor on duty was the son of the doctor who was given charge 56 yeas ago when Pakistan's first Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was shot.

Father and son were both unsuccessful and the country's turmoil was kept roiling. Dr. Mussadiq Khan (neither he nor his father directly related to the assassinated PM) offered prayers that neither of his two doctor sons faced the same, "God forbid it doesn't happen to them."

Father Fashion

Should every dad have one? Or is this week's fashion forward objet d'eBay just for the anonymous pops? What about just for an Australian with seven daughters and five sons spread across nine families, not one of whom he can really call his own? [Earlier: 2.0 Does Not Equal 72 and Beyond Dinki Di]

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Father Fictions

A dead daddy wins Hannah Montana concert tickets! At least in essay form. [Earlier: Anything Ginger Rogers Can do ... and Faster and Achy Breaky Dad]

"We did the essay and that's what we did to win,'' said the mom. "We did whatever we could do to win.'' Which included making up a father who died in Iraq.

On a more reasonable note of father fiction, playwright Tracy Letts wrote of a dysfunctional father and family in Oklahoma and his father, Dennis Letts, having a personal, if not intimate, relationship with the material gets to take a star turn on Broadway in his son's "August: Osage County." Matching Tonys for father and son?

** Always beware the lure of the make-believe dad. **

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Time to Rally

The tennis season begins with tournaments in New Zealand and Australia, whose sporting press is writing the competitive obituary for Mark Philippoussis [see also: Dating Unreality].

There is not one rule that fits all tennis dads, but they are generally known by their most extreme members, those most enmeshed in their child's career. Still, Nick Philippoussis probably stood out in giving his son all the tools but none of the heart of a champion, not least for hitting him over the head with a chair as a kid when he played poorly.

That said, they probably all started out much more loving:

** The lesson for fatherhood is that the ball has to go back and forth over the net between dad and son or daughter. **

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Rght Time

There are times when it is right for a father to [metaphorically] hand the keys to his son... and there are other times.

Wade Schalles, a legendary amateur wrestler found the better way. He never pressed, and continues a relatively hands-off approach to son Jake's interest in the sport that didn't begin to germinate until the eighth grade. Of course, that bleacher-pride parenting does have its price: a teen perspective on a father's glory. According to the future Naval Academy plebe there's no point in comparing his success and his fathers."Different time, different era... Back then, you had maybe four good guys in your weight class. Now there's like 10."

By way of contrast, Jonathan David Olson decided to select a designated driver because he was drunk. But, his thought process impaired either before and certainly after his imbibing, he chose his 9-year-old as chauffeur. Not that a son unlicensed at age 14 makes for a more appropriate designated driver.

** If only common sense was paired equally in the body with sperm. **

The Saddest Link

Was it just a fated matter of like father like daughter?

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated as she campaigned for the Pakistani presidency. Her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was Pakistan's first popularly elected leader. He was arrested, tried and executed following a military coup.

To her grave she takes the answer to the question of why she returned from a life of relative ease to a country where many, perhaps millions revered her and perhaps an equal number loathed her. And where the people in power were keen on keeping it for themselves and away from her.

In a past BBC interview, Bhutto tried explaining why she would return. It was, of course, because of her father: "His blood runs in my veins and his presence is always around me."

In the assassination's aftermath, the BBC interviewed a friend, Victoria Scofield, who has known her since their time together at Oxford who said the despite the dangers, Bhutto felt compelled "to carry on the work begun by her father," and that ""as with her father, she has left her own legacy, her own stamp."

** Not in each case does a father want his child to follow his footsteps. **

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Making It Up for the Holidays

What to do about and learn from fictional dads and the holidays?

Are they best celebrated as with Jimmy Stewart, father lost-then-found George Bailey, in "It's a Wonderful Life?" Should one both mock their person but celebrate their wisdom as is the norm for Jerry Stiller and his portrayal of Frank Costanza in the television episode that sparked worldwide observances of Festivus — the seasonal and occasionally controversial anti-celebration? Or, should we honor them with fear as some do with the Russian Father Frost ... the government controlled benevolent gift giver that is not — definitely not by state fiat or else the government may want to talk about it with you — the same as Father Christmas. Ho, Ho, Ho Ded Moroz (or else, I believe).

Or are all dads real and fictional. Much like a day skiing with Things 1 and 2 that mixes both despair (the brand new expensive glove lost before the lift ticket is purchased) with redemption (glove found) with near-tear fear (the ice gleaming steep slope) with the sense of accomplishment that will come sometime to replace relief (the Things brilliant conquering and sense that they can do even more)? You praise, bully, support and lead. Sometimes you mean it; often because it's the right thing to do. There is always pride and fear and hope ... but you can only measure your success by the absence of some tears shed on their future analysts' couches. And a rare smile and look. And by the feeling in your heart.

** Dads' holidays. Alas. **

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


A real test of daditude is whether you can be a regular Joe in the stands when watching your child. Whose ego and pride can be kept on the (side)line?

It's always hard, but the pressure on the father is even greater when you are a "name" yourself. And it doesn't matter if you are a big name like David Beckham watching son Brooklyn juggle 64 times or Iowa State men's basketball coach Greg McDermott and rival Iowa coach Todd Lickliter watching sons Doug and John compete in the state's high school basketball crucible.

** Imagine Santa's dad watching him try to outdo last year's generosity? **

Monday, December 24, 2007

Research and Rumor

It seems unlikely that three months would have made that much of a difference. But maybe it would?

Penn State researchers believe that a dad's presence delays a daughter's sexual maturity by three months — no matter how self-delusional he is about the issue or how much the girls and their mother may not be telling him. So, if James Parnell Spears had been around, rather than divorcing mom Lynn in 2002, maybe daughter Jamie Lynn could have held out long enough to get birth control or stop by CVS for a condom for her boyfriend and perhaps daughter Britney would not be in quite the same mess ... bad enough to be turning to [according to rumor] father Joe (of Jessica "the brain" and Ashley "the nose") Simpson to paste together the shattered eggshell of her career.

** What speeds up a father's maturity, sexual or other? And as for prolonging ...**

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tin(n)y Voices in My Head

This week's objet d'eBay recalls the great question from years' past: exactly how and how much is Dave the father of The Chipmunks?

The cufflink(s), of course are the perfect (belated, probably) gift for the father whu-b-stylin into the new year. It's probably also an interesting thing-a-ma-jig to play with for said father to play with on his french cuffs while attending the new Chipmunks movie with really, really young children too-enthralled-to-be-bored.

** You can be father to anyone, but it doesn't keep people from wondering about the connections. **

Saturday, December 22, 2007

SAHD Tales

The Canadian Broadcasting Company has just added podcasts of Richard Scrimger's "Still Life with Children" to its Words at Large series.

Scrimger answers questions about his life a little bit differently, but the basics are that he has biologically authored four children and his "Still Life" is drawn from his life and SAHD times. His other work includes books for kids and adults.

In a recent interview, he explained how being a dad made him as a writer:

I didn't develop work habits as a writer until my children were born. I'd have four hours in front of me for writing, but somehow the coffee wouldn't be hot enough or the pencil wouldn't be sharp enough. I'd sit down, write a sentence and then stroke it out and write another sentence and maybe change the punctuation. I'd get up, walk and scratch my head and write another sentence, and I'd look up and the four hours would be gone. Then I'd go and play tennis or something. When the twins, the first of our four children, were born, suddenly my life had serious focus. The idea of having 40 uninterrupted minutes for writing when the two of them were napping was tremendous. I realized that, if I was going to write, I'd have to write during every spare minute, and that's what I've done from the time the children were born until now.
** A story of a man who gives life to kids who give birth to Dad. **

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dad Myths

Could even the Mittster be considered a son who sees a dad in some sort of divine light or should his recent "gaffe" be viewed only in the context of politics?

Candidate Romney said he saw his dad march with Martin Luther King Jr. He didn't. Now he's saying thisandthat, rationalizing in a way only slightly more convincing than when Joseph Smith tried explaining what happenened to the gold plates.

But suppose it's just a family myth about his father and he really believed it? Until it got revealed to him that dad did much but not all, who was hurt? Does it make it any less real for him than, say, a man's belief in Santa Claus and the happiness that gave him his whole life because his dad worked like a fiend year after year to make the jolly fat man real for him every December?

** And why doesn't Santa have kids, except in Xmasploitation movies? **

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Still Talking

His dad died 35 years ago from complications of Alzheimers, but presidential candidate Bill Richardson (nicknamed "the unmade bed") can still hear his voice. Strict. Demanding. Expecting his son to excel.

"He'd be saying, instead of third or fourth in the polls, why aren't you first?" claims Richardson, according to the Charlotte Observer.

** Maybe if he had children during his 35-year-marriage there would be other voices in his head as well? **

No, He Didn't

Let's get it over with. NO, the man lost for three days with his three kids in snowy mountains didn't stop to ask for directions.

But he did everything he could to keep his children safe and reduce their worry and the four have quite the Christmas tree cutting adventure to share in warmth for years to come.

** You have to know where you're going, knowing the fastest way to get there isn't the most important thing. **

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Daddy Wars

Not all "wars" are created equal.

There is the generational battles, such as that fought by the dad of the no-Guitar Hero (Earlier: Uncontrolled Emotions). Peace has broken out as Dad and son have agreed on the lessons learned from the never unwrapped gift auctoned on eBay.

There are cultural skirmishes. Now, according to The Sunday (London) Times, we can begin having daddytrackers fight with SAHDs and both struggle with the fathers who spend the traditional hours on end working up the corporate ladder. Let the blood get spilled — as it's been splashed for years by moms — over who has it best and who's doing best for the kids.

Finally, there is real war. Children lose their fathers. All of them. Parts of them. An image of them. But, sometimes, at least for a moment, a dad can come home from war and with his son take center stage.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Unusual the Usual

The seventh spare has been born. (Heir and a spare ... seven times). Hallelujah! Lord Baby Boy holds title to some small part of some land mass known as Wessex — Prince Edward and Countess Sophie want to "get to know" him before giving the new Viscount Severn his "Christian" name. According to spokesfolks, dad says he's "small, cute and cuddly."

Clearly the new VS will be brought up in unusual circumstances. But that doesn't mean there won't be a bond. There will, just like there is a strong bond between Joey, 11, and father Bob Chandler, 83. They hang together; dad tells son tales of his war (WWII) service and encourages him on the straight and narrow, from his experience on the crooked and wide, until he began to turn it around.

Maybe the only unusual circumstances a child can't be born into is when the birth doesn't change the dad. As Tiger Woods said to Golf Digest,
"But when I had [daughter] Sam this year, I wanted to take in every moment and appreciate everything. And I think that's where my life has changed off the course. And no doubt I played better as a result."

** Every relationship is the same in its uniqueness. **

Monday, December 17, 2007

Uncontrolled Emotions

It must be some sort of Christmas season miracle as dads are making money out of both love and rage.

From the love side of equation come SAHD Jeff Robinson, happily chasing after 8-month-old Mae Louise. And then the phone rings and he's got a job for the next few Sundays that will bring in $135,000 as the "long" snapper for the local football side, the playoff-bound Seattle Seahawks.

And from the rage side comes a $9010 net as a Canadian father of a 15-year-old got so mad at finding his son smoking marijuana with stoner friends that he sold his Christmas present right from under the tree. The $90 Guitar Hero III the son lusted for is on its way via eBay (and assuming that the report is true) to an anonymous Australian fool parted from his money.

** Money is the tinsel on almost every dad's Christmas trees. **

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dad's Derailed Dreams

For this year — well, next year, really — it might have been Daley for Vice President. But, despite this week's objet d'eBay, it isn't and won't be.

The button is a remnant of the 1968 American presidential campaign. Then Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, credited with "helping to steal" John Kennedy 1960 electoral victory and host of the Democratic parties convention, managed to oversee the bloodiest convention ever. There was teargassing, police brutality and great television for the American audience. Daley didn't get the presidential or vice presidential nomination and for a variety of reasons, including the beastly convention spectacle, nominee Hubert Humphrey went down in flames against Richard Nixon in the 1968 election.

And next year, when the Democrats meet in Denver, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, a possible VP as an experienced politician and moderate balance for certain of the likely nominees, will also not be getting the chance. Just like his father, any political aspirations he may have beyond running the Windy City, will be foiled. He claims he didn't know about his 29-year-old son Patrick investing in Municipal Sewer Services, a company living by substantial runoff from city funds.

** Just another case of like father (denied), like son (denied) **

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mix & Match

A intellectual exercise. Assume the DNA remains the same but the environment changes. What becomes of a father's legacy to his son?

Give blood and guts to the question as the presidential nomination preseason winds down (FINALLY!). Consider son-of-prez Steve Fordand aspirants John McCain and Barack Obama.

What would be different as America considers who might lead it if the son who carried a generational legacy of military service — and whose sons have received that from him — has instead been born into the more relaxed environment of a former model/eagle scout who "accidentally" became president.

Or, what if the son who hasn't seen his father in 36 years, but only lost him 25 year ago, had not his father's independence and world view but also a sense of the tradition and the foundation of a family (not just a mother's love) that would have come from the more buttoned up military life?

And would the nice guy have been a leader if his mettle had been tested a bit more growing up?

** Gene's predispose; flesh and blood dads impose. **

Friday, December 14, 2007


Are the stakes as a dad higher when you have a reputation for greatness you have to balance by a reputation for scandal? Or is every one about children just as important no matter how far out of the spotlight you might be?

But fathers are influenced by the news, so it becomes more than a personal one when Mick Jagger decides not to pursue magic elixers (according to gamy gossip) in order to have an eighth child. And it becomes an observable laboratory experiment conducted by someone else when considering whether the fiercely competitive Roger Clemens should have (or did) share with one or all of his five "K" sons knowledge of how steroids can help a career (until, or unless, of course you get caught).

** Tangentially, it is much easier to surf the web for gossipy object lessons than to actually decide how to deal with [for example] the issues already created this morning by Things 1 and 2. **

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Fathers can't rely on children to buttress their honor. Still it's always nice to read of a son's willingness to stand by the side (only rhetorically, in two of the three cases below) of a dad under attack. Three recent filial defenses:

''My father is a self made man and I wish to state this up front that he has made a conscious effort to never abuse his influence for personal gain.''

“I feel about my father like any boy does. I love him so much and I ask God to save him and to give him more life.”

"My dad is a man of enormous intelligence, experience and integrity. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think he'd make a great president."

So say Bilal Musharraf about father and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf; Omar Bin Laden, who walked away from his dad's craziness to pursue his [much more benign] own, including the current hunt along with wife No. 3 for wife No. 4 ("younger woman for make baby"); and Craig Romney explaining one of dad's sort of, like maybe, slightly unclear positions.

** Children often attack the father to define themselves, but as they grown they find instead they have to defend dad because they are turning into him. **

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Six Times the Sympathy

Can you feel sympathetic for the man so lacking in [maybe everything] that he scammed a local church for a few thousand dollars with the story that he and his wife were the hard up parents of critically-ill sextuplets who were being kept in hiding because of a family member's insanity? Well, if you can, focus those tears on the childless Kris Everson, 35, who was just sentenced to three years in prison, having violated his probation. His wife, Sarah Everson, 46, is now on the lam.

Or would you rather feel there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I over Eric Jarvis, 32, as he tries to make it through the next weeks (he's now at week 18) with wife Sarah and her pregnancy?

** Six is never a lucky number. **


Fathers can give, but kids still have to take the wisdom and fit into the puzzle they use to beat dad.

Former football great and current Allstate Insurance shill (among other activities) John Elway sounds sincere in expressing his hope that his son will succeed as a quarterback. He brags of the physical attributes, but there seems a little more hope than belief when he refers to him as a "late bloomer." The high school senior threw seven interceptions in one game and either he is a real diamond in the rough that only dad can see or the Arizona State football scholarship was a two-for-one deal.

And Erika Ford learned a great deal from playing under her basketball father coach Larry. But either not quite enough, or not enough to do more with her players as her Davison (Mich.) Cardinals fell to dad's Flushing (Mich.) Raiders 49-46. Of course, to be fair, the younger is the coach of a team that was 2-19 last season and taking on a team that earned a 19-2 record and second straight league championship.

"I tried to get into his head a little bit," said the losing coach. But like most kids, she only succeeded a bit and, for at least another game, dad is still more successful.

** The tension of dad son/daughter competition. You want them to win, just not to beat you. **

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Get Out Before It's Too Late

The worst night as a father, according to Scott Faulconbridge, is your first baby's first night at home, "'re up at 1 you're up at 3, you're up at 5. At seven a.m. my wife caught me trying to sell the baby on eBay."

But Faulconbridge learned from that experience with first child, son Ronin. He learned to get out of the house and to work somewhere people are drinking ... so he's getting laughs and good nights sleep days after second child Mackenzie comes home. A highlight of his comedy is the ode to his wife, "Pregnancy Sucks," ending in the tearjerking realization "...for everyone." Of course, he brings the kids to work in his head.

Just wait until they're teens ...

** It's almost all funny as a father, except when it's a tragedy. Often it's still funny, as long as it is happening to another dad. **

Monday, December 10, 2007

Jack Be Fruitful. Doth He Multiply?

Do they write? Do they call? A father's day card?

Apparently not, for the most part. Of the 9000 potential offspring 70-year-old Jack Nicholson does not claim, only Jennifer Nicholson with ex-wife Sandra Knight, Caleb Goddard with Susan Anspach and Lorraine and Raymond Nicholson with (more or less current gal pal) Rebecca Broussard acknowledge their parentage.

Intriguingly, acknowledging his own father is something Nicholson will not do.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Faith of Your Father?

Could this week's objet d'eBay —Jeanne Davis's cheery (?) memoir of how her family was reactivated into their Mormon faith — help Mitt Romney gain the Republican nomination?

Unlike when his father George ran unsuccessfully for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination (he fell out of favor by claiming to have been "brainwashed") son Mitt is on the defensive about his religion.

In trying to fight off the attacks on what he believes sparked by Mike Huckabee's campaign, Romney is encouraging people to find out for themselves something more about the progeny and followers of Brigham Young and Joseph Smith.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


US News and World Report, only enhancing its reputation for "are they still in business?" currency, highlights in the now-it-can-be-told vein that, "Most of the [presidential] candidates seem to have spent much of their lives trying to live up to their dads' expectations or redeem their earlier struggles."

** Apparently, without dads, the U.S. couldn't find presidential candidates. Good to know. **

Boys v. Girls

What can you get from dad?

Sadly, you get fat if you are daughter Lisa Marie of icon Elvis, as well as a bunch of other stuff. But if you are a fruit fly (and male) you get handsome.

** If only DNA stood for Dad Knows All. **

Friday, December 7, 2007

Reside In Poker (heaven)

According to his NY Times obit, pokerista extraordinaire Chip Reese, "...was once $700,000 behind when he left to watch his son’s Little League game." Daughter Taylor and son Casey have lost a dad's dad. RIP.

** Some dad's read life better than others, but a father's life is a gamble every day. **

What You See; What You Get

You can't tell the dad by the casing. Consider, an older British sportsman or a drug-taking American urban-life celebrator. Quick quiz: who's the better father?

The 57-year-old John Darwin was declared dead four years ago. The canoe done him in. It was said. But, it turns out that conniving with his wife and lying to his sons — who say they won't forgive him — allowed for a pleasant life in Panama with some thanks to the kindly insurance company paying off on his life insurance.

On the other hand, a shaped-but-not-completely-scripted "reality" show, debuting Sunday, Dec. 9, offers a look at a father, Snoop Dogg (aka Calvin Broadus) to be exact, who makes a number of non-traditional choices, but clearly loves his kid. As he schizzles it:

This ain't the Huxtables
But we livin' comfortable
And I don't make my kids eat their vegetables ...

Also on display, the thankful dad:

** The reality dad is too painful; better the reality tv show. **

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Dueling Memoir Marketing

Is author David Sheff in competition with son Nic or laying the groundwork for his child's success?

Children and fathers remember the same situation differently. Although not always in print. Sheff elder has just had his memoir of living through his son's crystal meth addiction, Beautiful Boy: A Journey Through a Son's Addiction, selected for the February Starbucks in-store literary promotion. Sheff younger has his memoir, Tweak: Growing Up on Amphetamines, also scheduled for a Feb. publication, although his will be without the coffee pushers imprimatur.

** Children grow up so fast — even when not hooked on speed. Babump bump. **

Man Up

Ontario Provincial Parliament Member, liberal house leader and father of two Michael Bryant has his politics informed by a father who resigned as mayor of Esquimalt, British Columbia, because he found himself flipping up his rear viev mirror rather than watch four-year-old Michael chase after him when he left for work.

Contrast that experience with what former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey — who resigned under the shadow of a combined scandals of coming out of the closet as a gay man and having an affair with an unqualified political appointee — is teaching his five-year-old daughter Jacqueline by scheduling a birthday party (complete with ponies) without telling his estranged wife Dina, who has primary custody. Says a friend and critic, "He ought to man up and grow up and realize it was he who created this mess. What I would say to him is, "Live by the rules and shut your face.' Jim'll use Jackie as a pawn. "It's the pony. It's the party.' It's not about the pony, it's about him."

** And as a dad or politician, it just can't be about you. **

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Daddy Dumbest

A recent study out of Britain says SAHDs can be bad for boys — but strangely not for girls. It's not clear whether this might only apply to British dads, but one part that might be missing from the study was a look at the couple, if not just at the mom.

In the news today is a J.R. Rotem newly — or maybe only — famous for possibly impregnating (second item) a certain Ms. Spears. According to this report, an unidentified gal pal says, "She's not in love ... but she [the genius behind Kevin Federline's daddy kudos] knows he would make a great father to their baby."

Screaming out equally for common sense is the news of a 35-year-old incarcerated Brit winning court sanctioned approval to artificially inseminate his 49-year-old wife (mother of three from other "until death do we part" relationships). The earliest he will walk freely from the pokey will be in two years. Fortunately, at least based on the British report, it seems pretty unlikely he'll be staying at home to raise any son he and the missus conceive.

** Wouldn't everyone agree it would be better to get these boys and girls blow up dolls to keep them away from ruining the lives of others, including the unborn? **

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Father, You're Wrong

When it is revealed that lots of years of school doesn't prepare you for 8th grade math — "you're doing it the wrong way, dad," said Thing 1, correctly — that children are always telling dad how wrong he is comes into focus.

But this isn't about who is right or even how important the issue, just an interesting way to define the relationship. I was wrong about the math problem but still felt like I must have gotten something right when I received a (relatively unironic, in the sense that it came without an eye-roll) thanks for trying to help. I like to think the emotional health of both father and child is explained in how and when the younger challenges the older.

So, it says something positive about the relationship of Jesse Jackson Sr. and Jr. when namesake challenges name and writes that Barack Obama is keeping in mind the struggle of African-American's when he talks of the struggles of the economically less privileged. Not that he is challenging a core belief, such as when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said, "My father opposed partition [of Israel and Palestine] and was wrong"

What is also telling is that Jackson is able to discuss his belief in his father's error while the latter was still alive. In an interview for his new book, "Born Standing Up," (the autobiography, not the picture book for kids, "The Alphabet A to Y"), comic, writer, star Steve Martin says that he couldn't have written of how wrong he thought his father often was or how unhappy he was when growing up, "[The book] would have been different. I would have had to negotiate certain things. But who knows what my father would have thought? And ultimately he comes off looking better. The worst thing that can happen to a father is to have a child who's a writer." Or, maybe not.

** Not to get carried away. It is good to hear a respectful "you're wrong." It is a nice change from the "you're an idiot" that Things 1 and 2 and many other children often lightly toss in their father's face. **

Monday, December 3, 2007

More Money Matters

If only this could be settled by sending along a $2 bill, like the one that Becky Sigmon's dad gave her fifty years ago that still (in replica) sits folded, spindled and a bit mutilated in her wallet — although his love and wisdom remains in her heart and head.

Alas, not even a magic two-spot would pay the lawyers "helping" to an economic argument sure to be presented in various and differing judicial venues that involves a sperm-donating dad and a college bound eighteen-year-old who was raised a continent away by two lesbians.

The case being decided in the best interest of the dad and child? As they say in the New York where this all began with a friend deciding to help out a friend, "fuhgeddaboudit."

** Once again the lesson is that dad's money doesn't purchase love and dad's love can't beget money. **

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Schnozz on Ice

There is much Wayne received from father Walter, but the most obvious is surely the "Gretzky nose," doubly profiled in today's objet d'eBay.

The framed Gretzkys, accompanied by two commemorative medallions, are a fairly effective visual metaphor for the joy of father and child focused in the same direction. Does each understand the other's dreams? Probably not exactly. But it always helps if they can treat the same path, even for a few days as the fathers of Philadelphia Flyers did recently, roadtripping with their sons.

** A child or father can respect the other without understanding their hope, but there is forever joy found in its sharing. **

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Past Is Always Present

What decides whether a child forgives his or her dad when the world probably can't? Circumstance? Self-deluding rationalizations? Love?

In The Mascot: Unraveling the Mystery of My Jewish Father's Nazi Boyhood, defined by The New York Times as "a book to keep you up at night," author Mark Kurzem traces the life path and his own discovery of how his father went from a child of about five seeing his parents killed by Nazi soldiers to becoming their pet to being adopted by rich anti-semites to an Australian upbringing to keeping the secrets of his life from himself, his wife and children until he was in his eighth decade.

In another study of a father Malte Luddin, who hardly remembers his Nazi loving dad in person, created the documentary "Two or Three Things I Know About Him." Putting his sister on camera he inquires of her feelings about dad and, hesitatingly, she answers, "I can't say [my father] wasn't a criminal, but for me, he definitely wasn't,"

And beyond art there is life. And in another example of the messiness of life, Baltimore Ravens running back Musa Smith can be a star of the University of Georgia's 2003 Sugar Bowl victory and have a middling or perhaps someday star day or even career in the NFL, but he will always have the burden — the internet shadow if nothing else — of his dad as dupe (?) of Islamic terrorists involved with the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.

Smith, like every child can say his dad's deeds are behind him, but as shown by others who are still trying to understand themselves and their fathers by looking at actions taken decades ago, that it never completely the case.

** No simpler way to say it than fathers pass on much more than genes. **