Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fear the Toon!!!!

Everyone can agree that Nickleodeon star Jimmy Neutron's dad, Hugh, is not a great role model for papa bears. He does seem to love Jimmy as much if not more than anything else — although the apparent Adult ADD doesn't make the a particularly meaningful.

But still, this is the show you don't let your kids watch because of the image of a dumb dad? Apparently it is for the Florida family of seven McKeens. McKeen père was quoted in a Washington Times story about evil media (TV and advertising) and their conspiracy to promote the image of dodo daddies. This, of course, is undoing years of good work by shows such as "Father Knows Best" and "The Flintstones", among other treasures.

** If the image of the dad at home is praiseworthy, you probably have nothing to fear from outside images. **

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dark Legacy

What is the word beyond irony?

Whatever it is, that is the word to reach for when reading that a father was stabbed with a samurai sword and killed in front of his son — bullies had kicked his soccer ball away — just as his father trying to stand up to neighborhood bullies who were threatening him was beaten to death 23 years ago.

The insanity (and perhaps genius?) passed from Marlon Brando to son Christian that ended both their lives early is perhaps understandable, if tragic. But two dads murdered while standing up for their sons? Inconceivable, even if possible.

** Standing up for a son is the absolute right thing to do; getting shredded in front of your son, not something to pass on to a new generation. **

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Super Bowl Father Faves

Maybe the Patriots have their stories and they just haven't made it to the web ... or are still hidden from the spiders. But right now, the New Jersey Giants have a more sentimental tug on the heart of fans rooting for a Super Bowl XLII winner than the New England Patriots.

Big Blue has more stories of generational father-son bondings and the Giants have had four fathers and sons who have played for them — currently highlighted by long snapper Zak DeOssie, whose father, Steve, was a linebacker and long snapper on the 1991 Super Bowl Champ Giants. (Admittedly, it is hard for the Pats to match either of these as they were only founded in 1960 as the Boston Patriots of the AFL and the "Jints" have been punting, passing and kicking since 1925.)

And while surely, somewhere there are Pats fan stories and they are in the process of creating some for the future, the Giants even begin the SB with a father-child edge as Jordin Sparks, an American Idol and daughter of former blue man Phillippi Sparks, will sing the national anthem. The elder Sparks managed to be on and then off the team in the valley between its 1991 and 2001 Super Bowl appearances.

** Not that sons following in the footsteps of a father -- even to a Super Bowl -- is rare. **

Monday, January 28, 2008

To D or Not to D?

If you need a reason not to father, there are plenty. And the experts keep the health threats coming. There has been prostate cancer [Earlier: Men's Pain], depression [Ealier: Dads Drown in Down] and now, babies make dads fat.

But, if you love kids and want them to do well in life, you can either run a day care center or have some of your own ... or like Connecticuter Bob Scheidel — father of Matt, 11 and Brian, 7 — you can do both.

** Pops be rappin' to Sir Change-A-Lot's "Baby Got (your) Back." **

Sunday, January 27, 2008

'Twas a Time for Knights

While you probably wouldn't want to inflict the presidency on your father — or have your kids punish you with the job — who would be better? (A quick dash through the headlines will point up that not all fathers are presidential material, but we're talking in general, here.)

But suppose your father was a knight in shining armor to millions and you. Then, probably, he's the guy you want for the job. And, if you can't have him, what about someone who reminds you of the dad you lost?

Today's objet d'eBay, is a reminder of a man and time. Caroline Kennedy, daughter of the assassinated King of Camelot, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, suggested Barack Hussein Obama could be "A President Like My Father." Is there stuff about JFK that dimishes the legacy. Yes. Will there be things from the past or decisions in the future that will disappoint if BHO is elected. Yes. But both dads (Obama is father to daughters Malia Ann and Sasha) inspire hope and a willingess of children and followers and, hopefully, the entire country to do better.

** Such words from a daughter are a legacy worthy of a father. **

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Get a Life

Passion sparks life in a child.

Rarely are there children's encomiums to the father who just did the right thing. But get Mark, Blake or Scott Clifton talking about their Cliftones' bandmate, bassist and father Gaylon, and there is a new connection. "I'm used to him being Dad," says Scott, "but it's been fun to have him as a member and play with us."

Or, put another way, in the words Jim "Birdman" Scholter learned from his dad Kenneth whose passion was also well above ground, "If you find something you love, and find a way to make a living doing it, it's a wonderful thing." Scholter, whose pilot's license was first signed by Orville Wright, was just following the family wingtips.

Of course, passion has to start somewhereand somehow. So one can only wonder what will be shaking in later years for 2-year-old Joshua and 1-year-old Jacob Joachim when they ha ve fully imbbibed father Arulantham Suresh's passion (?), hobby (?), madness (?) for achieving Guiness World Records.

** There is the life in you to share and pass on. **

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tear Up

Tsai Han-chao, 77, did it upon discovering he had hired his (unkn)own daughter to work as his maid, thus discovering she was the daughter gone missing by way of a movie script-like premise that does happen to be true.

And not true when written, but true when performed was Dennis Quaid's experience crying over twins. In his movie Smart People, currently at Sundance (also featuring père and fils Hanks in The Great Buck Howard), he ends the movie weepy and holding his twins — a film easy to shoot as, due a near-fatal hospital screw-up he almost lost his real life twin newborns.

** Big dads do cry. **

Shoe Enough

In almost any situation, the insanity of women and their shoes should not be supported. But to every rule there is an exception and so it is that fatherhood trumps enabling female looniness and (very often) male torture. And so, WD salutes Steve Madden, 51, convicted fraud, whoracious shoe pimp, but father of 16-month-old twins, son Jack and daughter Stevie. His business is growing, his life apparently on track and two kids predestined to walk in their father's shoes as they grow.

** With children comes humility, perhaps saving SM from foot-in-mouth disease that has plagued him in the past. **

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Crime and Punishment

It's a rule. Dads support their kids.

They support them whether he is a convicted terrorist, she is a one drug addict married to another and even if he has to pull out of a marriage to a billionaire's daughter.

What is the penalty for breaking the rule? Say for taking care of others' children but neglecting your own? Undefined. Hopefully, it's at least bad nights' sleep.

** There should be a law .... **

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tortured by Absence

Will there come a time when Matilda Rose Ledger can reconcile with her father, Heath, who &mash; perhaps in despair over the breakup with her mom, Michelle Williams, swallowed too many pills — will never be a physical presence in her life?

Probably, but likely only partially. A father's loss, whether Hollywood star or Chinese war hero is a persistent cloud that never completely blows away.

** Would it be easier for Matilda to take if her father could be forgotten? **

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fathers Mahmoud and Hillary

Having watched five others on the mission die or go missing, father Mostafa Mahmoud, having broken and dislocated ribs from coughing, stood down from his second attempt at Everest's summit. In May he said, "I am very sad but happy to make the right decision and to go back to hold my three-month-old son and to see him growing."

And now he returns. A third attempt for him, for Jordan, Scotland and his not yet year-old son.

Hopefully, the young Mahmoud will gain the knowledge through life and one day be able to eulogize his father as did Peter Hillary of his father, Sir Edmund Hillary, who died Jan. 10, 2008. The late Sir Edmund was remembered by his son with evident love and fondness for giving him a life of humor and pathos, life and travel to "the most extraordinary places" (e.g. a summer trip to Yelllowstone National Park included driving all the way to Alaska), trips of six in a mini-cooper and, of course, a visit to Everest. To his son he was a hero of "amazing energy and restlessness." However, "despite all of dad's incredible strengths, he was frail, he was human, too."

** Cliche, metaphor? It's always a mountain to be climbed: fatherhood. **

Monday, January 21, 2008


Children to learn who they are, in part, through their fathers' stories. Where it goes from there is anyone's guess.

But first the stories have to be told, somehow. In the case of artist/author Leo Polti it is his work and a son's remembrance; Sargent Shriver is memorialized in a documentary by daughter Maria Shriver; and some Texas dads are taking a first big step on their own, composing letters to their kids.

** A father's influence is what he makes with his kids, not just for them. **

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Bunny Bopping

This week's objet d'eBay is a reminder of a more sane time. Father of two, but divorced, Hugh Hefner — as noted — was Playboy's No. 1 Playboy. And he was responsible.

Now, two divorces and two children later, the 81-year-old Hef is rumored to be setting up a disastrous future power struggle. Girlfriend (1) Holly Madison, 27, wants a baby and apparently she wants it to be his ... sort of a granddaughter-like thing for HH's oldest daughter Christine, 55, who took over the running of the business hutch from dad and got the bunny hopping again. He gets to pic Playmate of the Month, she gets to select where the business is going.

** Truly, in some ways dads never do grow beyond being teenage boys. **

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Qs&As with DoDads — DadLabs

In general, dads are funnier than the other parent. And some are even more amusing than others. Five of the most humorous put aside more honest work to metamorphose into DadLabs. Together, they have 11 (nearly 12) kids under management ranging from in utero to nine; one entertaining web site — over 250 episodes of dadly humorous "tips and advice"; and a book and other deals in the works. Because that is not nearly enough to fill up a dad's life (and possible because Texas football teams aren't playing this time of year), Creative Director Clay Nichols — also responsible for the oldest child, a boy, and his younger brother and sister — spent a few moments offering some of the "behind the scenes" of the scenes they make

WD: What was the biggest challenge to starting and (and is the biggest to) continuing DadLabs?
CN: We quit the day jobs. As idiotic as that may sound, particularly if you've been to the site, we all left nice stable careers in education to do this internet television thing. So keeping the panic down long enough to shoot another show is a pretty big obstacle. Deceiving, er, getting advertisers willing to sponsor the show is pretty tough. And keeping up with the post-production demands of posting four shows a week is pretty tough — the editing and graphics. Shooting is easy, crafting that into something useful and/or funny is much harder.

WD: Do your kids ever come home mad at you when the kids at school tell them what they found when they Googled their dad(s)?
CN: Mostly I just have to wrestle with them to keep them off the computer because they want to watch. They're pretty cute about it. I once got a little disturbed when I found my oldest son watching "The Due Dads: The Man's Guide to Pregnancy" we made about pregnancy over and over until he had memorized all the obstetrical buzzwords. That'll impress the teacher.

WD: Is there one or perhaps two or three episodes that stand out?
CN: The Breast Pump has to be a favorite — that's the one that kind of launched us, plus I'm not the one hooked up to the pump. I think the vasectomy bit was funny, mostly because the doc said so many obscene things we couldn't put on film. I also think Owen's Milk Man is a classic.

WD: What is the best thing you've learned about being a dad from working on the site?
CN: I love being able to do research and stay focused on parenting all day long. It's nice to feel informed. I think the most reassuring thing that I've found is that your instincts are usually right. We know more about parenting than "experts" would probably like us to believe. Men especially.

WD: What are the two or three most interesting dadblogs ... other than yours?
CN: I read daddytypes because he has the most intelligent analysis of dad controversies. rebeldad because he's a good resource to find out what is in the media about dads. There are a number of great, comic dad bloggers out there, recently I've been reading the holmes and busy dad.

WD: Would you like to add a few words on how you'll continue to cure the planet of evil?
CN: We've got a book deal in the works, which I have no idea how we'll find time for. I'm avoiding writing a feature that I've been assigned by Fit Pregnancy because I am neither fit nor pregnant. I am procrastinating that until the situation changes. I'm also learning from my son what Destination Imagination is, and why exactly I've been recruited to be involved. Oh, and we've got two DVDs out "Due Dads: The Man's Survival Guide to Pregnancy" and "Due Dads: The Man's Guide to Labor and Delivery" Both are available at

Friday, January 18, 2008


Son takes on a father's legacy (an unfinished science project) in fiction and wins an award, in fact.

The American Library Association rewarded "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by children's illustrator Brian Selzickwith their Randolph Caldecott Medal. A father shows a son an unfinished robot and the son takes it from there. Soon, maybe, to be a major motion picture.

** Legacy is the father of invention. **


Some lunatic threatened to shoot a 10-year-old because of his father. It's hard to believe the shadow of a philandering politician leak so far into darkness, but Louis Sarkozy, youngest of three sons of French prez and new (?) bridegroom Nikolas, is relatively safe as police nabbed two 20-somethings who "acted out of stupidity," according to arresting officers.

Also struggling with his father's shadows and darkness is Omar (son of terrorist) Bin Laden, "an ambassador of peace," under the impression, according to his talk with the Associated Press that "...a truce between the West and al-Qaida is possible, " despite his dad's declarations to the contrary.

Why Omar struggles to emerge is anyone's guess. He's a successful businessman, thanks to the Bin Laden connections and billions germinated from grandfather Mohammed Bin Laden but only creates hilarity and doubt with every public action and pronouncement — Paris to Dakar horse race, anyone?

Maybe (although it's probably not something fanatics would cotton to) Omar could take a lesson from the life of Drew Barrymore, whose iconic grandfather created crossfiring snyapses in the head of his son/her father John Drew Barrymore. Having survived an early difficult relationship with dad, Drew lived a life completely of her own and managed to escape both the darkness (more or less) and his shadow, while still be able to wish upon his death, "He was a cool cat. Please smile when you think of him."

** Not the economy, it's the legacy, stupid. **

Omar wants peace

Thursday, January 17, 2008

HBD Pop(eye)

By some accounts, a one-eyed tar who gets children to try spinach turned 79 today. Popeye, is perhaps the most complex (in father-related terms) of all cartoon characters. His father, Poopdeck Pappy is a ne'er do well and his adopted son (after 71 years of acting in loco parentis), "Swee' Pea," never stopped crawling.

** What non-fiction dad has issues like that? **

M&R for Dads

"In a sense," says Texan John King, "I'm grateful for [my father's] absence because it made me a better father."

King is president of a Christian mystery and author of "It's a Guy Thing," (one of a few books with that title). And he is calling for significant changes in the definition of fatherhood. As he told the El Pason Times,
"Every revolution happens with a generation of martyrs, and we need a generation of men who will stand up and say, 'I am going to live for something beyond myself; I am going to live for my children.' "

Martyrdom is certainly not new to fathers, though not everyone shares King's perspective. Nor is their "loss" something that ever lets go of children. At 74,
Moshe Bar-Yoda will finally find some peace regarding his lost father. The elder was killed by Nazi atrocities at Poland's Majdanek death camp six months after father and son were torn apart. Unsealed records revealed the truth and offer some peace. "Now I have a specific yahrtzeit [a commemorative day when a memorial candle is lit]" Bar-Yoda said to the Israeli paper Haaretz. "And while it doesn't comfort me or make me happy, there is a kind of satisfaction here, that I can move forward."

Killed in war (martyred in a different way) was the father that
Rosalie Miles Francisco never knew. Howard Carl Miles left for war when his daughter was three months old. She never knew him in any way except through a scrapbook. But Miles has not been honored not just by his daughter's creation and memory; for his service in Italy, he has finally received via his daughter the Purple Heart, the Air Medal with an oak leaf cluster, a World War II Victory Medal, the Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal, the U.S. Army Campaign Medal and a Good Conduct Medal.

Martyrdom and revolution (lite) are probably the paths of most days, living life in their own ways.

** It's biblical: Every father is honored at least by memory. **

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Henke Pistorius is the engine and son Oscar is the car (metaphorically speaking, of course) in a quixotic adventure to overturn the decision that the South African double amputee can't run in the Beijing Olympics. Henke created the first artificial legs for his son who lost his legs at 11 months could "race" on.

That, if nothing else, should be enough for those who don't believe dads aren't that valuable or aren't to be highly valued in their childrens' lives.

** Everything or nothing. Is that all there is? **

Tuesday, January 15, 2008 and ".net" are taken, but is still available — as of posting. So, there's still time for the entrepreneurial father who wants to guide make a couple bucks off a concerned dad hoping to take a slice of life and smush its lessons into his kid's noggin. [Ealier: Pregnant Thoughts]

But what lessons to teach and how? John Edwards campaigns on the strength of watching his father learn television math before heading off to work. Taotao's father believed his son was a musical genius, but taught him to call the police as a way to get out of lessons. And columnist/economist Jeff Haymond ruined his son's lunch by using Wendy's subtraction of one piece of bacon as a jumping off point to riff on rising consumer prices and business ethics: he says his son gets it now (eye roll, please).

** Every moment is a teachable moment, but the wise dad accepts that most of the time his kids are in back passing notes and plotting spitball attacks. **

Monday, January 14, 2008

Calling the Big Guy

Fredericksburg, Va., Mayor Tom Tomzak (TomTom) called on his God and yours — albeit, via surrogates, thanks to a court decision — to encourage fathers to be better role models.

Among the people he should have had in mind, but probably didn't are Scott Baio, who announced to friends "his life is over" now that he will have to be a dad for "reality" tv and shamelessly plug his show by dragging his daughter around:

While Baio can't tell anyone his daughter's name while plugging away on "his" pregnancy, because VH1 owns it, Floyd Mayweather Sr. never had any hesitation about letting the world know who was the father of boxing champ Floyd Mayweather (jr.). Sr., however, does have some problem with loyalties, reportedly willing as he is to help out in the corner of Oscar de la Hoya (for some pretty big bucks) in the rematch of their May 2007 fight that Mayweather Jr. won on points. [Earlier: Mano a Mano; Dado to Sono]

** Sell your daughter's name? Help someone beat up your son? Yes, God please help them. **

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Men's Pain

This Sunday's objet d'eBay was a public service message for men, but now turns out to be a bigger warning for fathers. The prostate cancer awareness stamps — featured here as a plate block with a First Day of Issue cancellation — were issued in 1999 to bring attention to the second largest killer of men after lung cancer.

But there's bad news. Recent research suggests that a dad's chance of suffering from prostate cancer is 16 percent higher than his bachelor brethren, although it does drop five percent for his third and every subsequent child.

** Everyone knew kids could be a pain in the ass, but this isn't fair. **

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Claims and Aims

Where does a father turn when a judge rules he owes $1.5 million for claiming he was raped by the mother? In the case of rapper DMX he turns to his deity.

Obviously, the rapper born Earl Simmons, has not yet left his dogs behind to embrace fatherhood:

** Daddying is not for every man at any time in his life. **

Friday, January 11, 2008

Screened Life

John Turturro's son Amedeo was born while he was being filmed acting as a an aspiring screenwriter in "Barton Fink." As preparation for that part, Father Turturro began scraping together notes for a screenplay, which has become "Romance & Cigarettes" (partially released in 2005 and scheduled for wider rollout this month) and in the process of bringing that to the screen he consulted with Amedeo on the work the grew with his life that also become son/younger brother Diego's film debut.

As James Gandolfini (musically) deals with his and Susan Sarandon's children (Aida Turturro, Mandy Moore and Mary-Louise Parker) of a marriage now-dying one can only wonder at what types of conversations father and son had at the various stages of the movie's and boy's development of the expressions of love between a father and an angry child:

** It's what every father wants, to bring the kids into the family biz. **

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Big D

It was and wasn't Valentine's day when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a verdict awarding plumber Johnny V. $750,000 in exchange for loss of sex with Sandra V.

Oh, and there was a baby girl involved. But it wasn't his work with the pipes that was responsible.

And Ms. V. claimed she only stayed around as long as she did before beginning an affair with a local millionaire (did we mention the rich, older guy?) for the children. Who maybe JV didn't care about as much as he should have ...

...because it turns out that one reason to stay in a bad marriage is not "for the children" as so many people claim to. One reason to stay in a bad marriage — if you're not willing to do extra work on your relationship with your kids — is for you, as there is new evidence that divorce may distance dads from their teens.

Now, you may ask yourself what doesn't, but do you really want to end up as Texas father Bob, sire of Hilary and Haylie Duff, who was penalized another $100,000 in addition to the $20,000 he is already paying his soon to be ex- during the $1 million dollar proceedings, and also has to face the accusing faces of his daughters in support of their mom (who admits living off the celeb sisters for the last five years) during the trial?

** Dads divorce moms, not kids. **

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


The penalty varies for carrying out a father's wish to "ice him" or "ice it." It comes down to semantics and, of course, context.

When Elizabeth Turgeon, a left-wing on the U.S. national under-18 hockey team, commits icing at former hockey star Pierre Turgeon's direction, the puck is brought back to the defensive side of the rink.

The punishment possibilities were always a little less clear when someone like Salvatore (Bill/Bananas) Bonanno put someone on ice. It was a little more a question of all or nothing for the son of a gangster who, according to his eulogizing son, "... committed himself to his father’s life as a young man and he never looked back. He never wavered from his beliefs, from his code, from his way of life.”

** And when dad says "shoot" ... **

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Rue This

The LA Times article "Changing Abortion's Pronoun" about men fighting laws opposing abortions closes with one man's vision of a multitude of male protesters waving signs of regret at "their" abortion.

The person with the vision chose to leave a check for $200 as a goodbye present when one girlfriend had an abortion years ago and wasn't that troubled when he sent off another girlfriend to abort "his" child. Now, a father — hopefully a conscientious and wonderful one of five fabulous kids — he regrets the "stain" on his soul and is supporting anti-abortionists. Would he have been as good a dad? That he can't answer ... at least for the person interviewing him.

Perhaps his vision should be of the multitude of his current compadres in this campaign making public their regret at not being responsible partners and wearing condoms before they were ready to dadicate their lives.

** Be a dad. Take responsibility. **

Life ... Death ... Dads On Paper.

"The thing you need to know about me is that I am George Corrigan's daughter, " begins the prologue of Kelly Corrigan's "The Middle Place." The memoir is about survival from cancer (hers and her dad's) and its backstory is about when you begin a dream. She told USA Today that "publishing seemed so 'fluky'," but facing the possibility of death — hers and her dad's, again — started her to consider their connection, among other things.

And death also plays a part as Julia Wright finally brings to publication her father's unfinished novel, "A Father's Law," tracing a policeman's inquiry into his son's (possible) crimes. Wright is the daughter of novelist-of-the-American-canon Richard Wright, whose novel of murder and race complications, Native Son, became in 1940 the first Book-of-the-Month Club selection by an African-American author.

** Eternity is made from how dad memories are captured. **

Monday, January 7, 2008

Genius, Not Genius and Cooking

It doesn't take a genius to be a good dad. Not that a genius couldn't do the job, just that great smarts are no guarantee. Being stupid doesn't help or guarantee anything either. Such are genius Galileo Galilei and not-genius Jamie Spears.

The former — who first observed Jupiter satellites Io, Europa and Callisto a few years ago (1610) today — had three kids out of wedlock in a Roman Catholic country and shipped the two girls off to a monastery since he couldn't marry them off. Escaping the fate was son Vincenzo, named after Galileo's musician father, who was left free if not smothered in love.

The latter reveres as "a god" the idiot pop-psycher Phil McGraw — who nevertheless seems to be a reasonable father — andis going so far as to have him try to clean up the mess he and wife Lynn have made for daughters Britney and Jamie-Lynn.

** Fathering is like cooking while always being search for the secret ingredient. **

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Right Thing

This week's objet d'eBay, a dollhouse-sized To Kill a Mockingbird, is (in full size) Harper Lee's paean to her father, Amassa Lee.

The fictional Amassa, Atticus Finch, is single father of two (and guiding spirit to Dill ... the fictionalized Truman Capote) who serves as a role model for the town as someone who always knows the right thing to do. A sensibility unfortunately lacking in, among others, the Sprint company who wouldn't cancel the contract of a dead dad.

** The daddytrick is taking the right thing to do from thought to action. **

Saturday, January 5, 2008


There is no easy transition to fatherhood, but shocks at the beginning don't seem the paving stones of an easy road.

So, good luck to John Richardson, whose home bathroom-born daughter Kalista chose to follow her father's own path into the world. "“It was more personal,” said new father John of an experience much different from when he learned about the birth of his first son while stationed in Iraq. “It was just her and I and the baby. It was scary, but it was special.”

And good luck — or medical misinforming — has already befallen Campbell Gillespie. A bit over four years ago, the sales exec was shaken by a million volts of electricity from electricity. When he came out of his coma docs said he'd never be an active conceiver. If 8 lb., 8 oz Brogan, born new year's eve (tax deduction bonanza!), continues to defeat expectations, it will be quite the challenging fatherhood route for CG.

** As it is, to greater and lesser degrees, for every one. **

Friday, January 4, 2008


Reconciliation. Not a life or death issue, but important to every father-child relationship.

As Calvin Broadus [Earlier: What You See, What You Get] says about how he became a real man, "... those three babies are all wanted, and I wanted to be with them." Broadus, of course, is better known as Snoop Dogg, and currently starring in the reality freak show (aren't they all) Father Hood.

While Broadus reconciled with his wife, press releases and news flashes covered the Christmas day star realignment as Angelina Jolie called odd father Jon Voight, who a few years earlier happened to mention something, something about her "serious emotional problems" around the time she was marrying Billy Bob Thornton. Which she didn't take too well. Not that he was necessarily wrong about that.

Actually, peace between father and child can be a death issue. Seventeen years ago, Martin Tankleff was convicted after he was pressured into a confession by being lied to by interrogators that his father had awoken from a coma to finger him as the killer of mother and (then) father. He has been freed from prison, has hopefully found his peace with his father. But not everyone (i.e., his also orphaned half-sister) is happy.

** What mistakes can be forgiven by a parent? By a child? **

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Sharing Footsteps

Fathers take many paths to get their children to follow in their business footsteps.

Mark Olmstead has established a money-making synergy with daughter Marla in their joint art operation. Mark is a talented if not genius painter. Marla is four, with some interest in line and form and color. Together, his "encouragement" and her "talent" produce abstract expressionist (i.e., the viewer creates his/her own story from the non-realistic buildup of paint and shapes) works that sell for thousands. An amount that keeps it from being magnetted to the refrigerator.

Whether or not she really draws on her own, the Olmstead story is a far cry from the kitty litter king, steady Eddie Lowe, who was recently remembered — he died in 1995 — for escaping his dad's clutches to make million bringing the outside into the house so kitties could do their business in relative odor-free peace. Dad went so far as to get him fired from a job so he could return to the family business, but Lowe longed to breathe free. And, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars that live on, he eventually did.

And, finally, there is the path of working together. Even happily. As do the Hoosier father-son Luke Weinmans III and IV who will be featured on TV later this month "flipping a house" for about twice what they originally paid for it. Almost every weekend is a project together, although not always such a profitable one. Says IV, "We have a pretty good working relationship."

** Is there any better father-child connection than a "pretty good working relationship"? **

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Money Moment

Could Abigail Johnson, next-in-line at Fidelity Investments, be scheming but laying low so the police don't get involved?

If so, it is a wise move for the woman who waits, as does the entire financial world, for her father, 77-year-old Edward "Ned" Johnson III to give up his position heading the mutual fund giant his father began. Johnson says there is a secret succession plan in place. Meanwhile, he shuffles the deck of successors at the company he rules. So far, the 45-year-old Abby, who fell from #12 (2005) to #16 (2006) to #42 on Forbes's 2007 list of richest people bides her time, not publicly displaying concern and moving through the company and keeping out of trouble.

It is wisdom and patience that might have come in handy for the Srinagar (India) teen Ahsan-ul Haq, who tried to extort Rs. 5 Lakh (about US$63,500) from his dad with a fake kidnapping. The scam seemed to him like a good idea at the time — that is, before he headed off to prison with his cousin and other collaborators — "knowing his father could do anything for him."

** Dad's miss out on much, but they do catch on to kid plans often enough. **

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Pregnant Thoughts

Girls get a movie heroine and boys get a literary protagonist.

So Thing 1 can go off with other daughters to bring their collective wisdom and experience to learning the lessons of the the PG-13 Juno. And since all the boys of her cohort don't read, it seems unlikely they'll be influenced by Nick Hornby's first YA Novel, Slam, a teen boy's look at being a father.

So where does a dad find the teachable moment — is it even there — to be found from a movie about a 16-year-old mom-to-be and the story of a boy who gains wisdom from a Tony Hawk poster?

Or is any attempt to guide a child's thinking doomed (hopefully only metaphorically) in the same way as the father who became NYC's last man of 2007 killed, murdered because of his 13-year-old's eyeroll.

** If only girls had the book and boys the movie. What were the culture mavens thinking? **