Saturday, May 31, 2008


Is there a difference between father-son connections and daddy-daughter ties?

Can you guess the gender of the child who duplicated a dad's grand feat to the day? Whether it was a boy or girl who went into the restaurant business with a culinary naif pop? If lymphoma cared which kid it first manifested itself in before being discovered in the dad? Or, if it was a boy or girl who gave dad the financial leads that led them both to be arraigned on charges of insider trading?

At the back of the book of connections you'll find the answers.

It was Huffines (Texas) Middle School's Cameron Champagne who hit his first home run twenty years to the day that his father Stephen hit his first four-bagger over the outfield wall in a baseball game.

Gina Dandrea, 18, and father Pat, 50, are teaming the daughter's restaurant experience and father's construction capabilities (he demolishes and then rebuilds restaurants) to open up Cafe Amenity in Rochester, N.Y.

The malady first infected Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester and now threatens his father, Pierce County (Wash.) Sheriff's Deputy Pat, who credits his son's ability to battle with inspiring him. "Having lived it with him and going through the whole thing, he knew that I knew what he had gone through," said Jon. "There was kind of that understanding between the two of us."

And it was
Donna Murdoch, an investment consultant, in Oaks, Pa., who was the dutiful child and shared some inside takeover info from a friend of hers. Although perhaps here's where she really went wrong: dad made less than one-sixth in illegal profits than she did.

So, how are your gender identification skills?

** Father and child isn't just biology. **

Friday, May 30, 2008

Just a Chip Off

Confused for the celebrity father? Not often. Not really. Even if a child has inherited the look, the talent is different.

So, for those who care about such experiments, the waiting game has begun to see the results and whether Clay Aiken Jr. (or whatever 40-ish producer Jaymes Foster decides to call her artificially inseminated — thanks CA — child) is a greater or worser idol than the American Idull.

How will people compare him/her to the sire? Will they begin comparing immediately, think of the child as sui generis or only care when the context of the person is revealed? The, unfortunately, seems to be the fate of Rain Pryor, author of "Jokes My Father Never Taught Me" and still (?) on tour. She has both her father Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor III's legacy to live up to and his death sentence (multiple sclerosis) with its hereditary considerations to worry about.

Even if the look is the same, there is almost always a talent difference. We are more interested in the father when the child is the star and put pressure on the child to step-it-up when daddy has already gone big-time. But not every child really is bothered by the pressure. Fred Trevino, for example, may be the spitting image of the hot club swinging Lee, "... but once [anyone sees] me play they know I am Tony Trevino, not Lee."

** The search for star power adds to the mysterious link between father and child. **

Thursday, May 29, 2008

(Growing) Strength in (Increasing) Numbers

It's getting a tad more crowded around last bell — although far from overpopulated — school days at the edge of the playground. That's where the dads stand waiting for their kid(s), usually one, occasionally two, sometimes three ... and almost never together. While the ladies chat away about who knows what, the men stand mute, reading, staring at cell phones, nodding their heads in greeting. (Or at least that's what I did while waiting for the release from school of Things 1 and 2).

Oh, a mom will occasionaly drop a comment on her way to networking with the other estrogenies, but only sometimes is it encouraging. As Kevin Mitchell, author of St. Louis Dad: A Manual for New and Expecting Dads noted in an interview:

Moms were suspect of a dad at a playground at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday. I was almost always the only man at library story times. At the grocery store, I got, “Oh, you’re babysitting today, huh?” Babysitting?!? It’s my baby.
But reinforcements are arriving for dads. The calvary is being called and blowing the horn (or perhaps serving as an echo chamber) are the dads' groups. A recent piece about Chicago's "Modern-day Mr. Moms" (how much longer does the world have to put up that the icky MM abused cliche) noted amid statistics and stories of the growth of SAHDs and other father-centric caregiving that the Chicago group underwent a leveraged buyout — web page speaking — and now have their news found with notice of dads groups from around the US at, "a resource and community for stay-at-home dads, fathers who are primary caregiver in their family, and other involved dads."

** The promised land of playground parity for pops lies far in our future and Moses is still in the bullrushes. **

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Daddy Tales

When CBS lets a bunch of good looking male athletes blather on about their dads in "Who Made You," a June 15/Father's Day tribute, be assured that there will be pathos, but no revelation of the deepest of emotions.

For real depth of feeling you have to get someone to be much more revealing about their dad. For example, you might ask Iain Dalzel-Job to describe his dad Patrick — a war hero the son claims was a major model for Ian Fleming's James Bond.

For an equally passionate story, even if it isn't told with the same amount of pride, consider the plaint of the anonymous questioner seeking guidance about what to do concerning his 50-year-old dad's grandly displaying nipple rings.

** It's not the child's story that makes the dad ... but often it will make the dad's story more interesting. **

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Even a vehicle of destruction can tie together a father and child.

For example, "the law" is usually considered a necessary evil, serving to pull families apart through divorce or estate fights or a lawsuit over a business gone bad, even such an evil has its use to bring fathers and children together. But like any business, a father's work can offer a child a look at something grander than otherwise imagined. Martinsville (Va.) Circuit Court Judge Carter Greer, calls his late father, T. Keister Greer, "a lawyer's lawyer," who also inspired him through arguments including one in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The law (and legal system) also tie together New York father and son Marquez. Father Raymond made a fairly substantial for years living running numbers in Harlem. Life was good and comfortable enough that son R. David off to prep schools, college, and business and law schools. Of course, there were the occasional drop-ins to the slammer: “I was never mad at him for what he did,” says RDM. “I always understood that we were living the benefits of his activities. I wasn’t raised poor.” And now, a growing part of the son's practice has become the trying to clean up from the dad's choices: trying to keep him out of jail and even suing the City of New York for the air quality (a non-smoke free environment) at the Riker's Island prison.

Tom and Ryan McLelland, the two Utes will be having each other's back in a very different way. Together, they graduated from Ohio Northern University law school in (who knew) Ada (did you know the tiny palindrome town was also in Michigan and Oklahoma), Ohio.

** The law, very different from natural law. Neither are necessarily what a father will lay down when he gets home. **

Monday, May 26, 2008

Remembering the Warrior with Secrets

The secrets of his war are inculcated into the veteran who served. The question for his child is whether it is better to let his or her father serve as a strainer for those secrets or to learn them to get closer to him.

Chicagoan Settimio Damiani's daughter Lee has had her father's war diary translated from the Italian as a way to get closer to her late father and the harrowing life he led under fire.

Gadsden's (Ala.) Bess Estis unpacked her late father's war souvenirs and came closer to understanding his wondrous sense of life and love: “Really, I think it came from the killing and knowing you could be gone at any second.”

While the good news in both those cases is that children grew closer to their late fathers, learning secrets of dad through war does not always lead to such fairy tale endings. For every secret gained through battle that children go looking for about their warrior dads, there are probably an equal number that come looking for them. Recently, a forensic psychologist discovered by poking at the bones of a WW II vet that it was a stepfather, not a father, who a son had worshiped.

And there is the promise/threat of more to come as the army now has the ability to use DNA testing on the remains of its fallen soldiers and there are estimates that from one to three percent of fathers are misidentified. In the (May 26, 2008) Boston Globe story, Deputy director of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command Johnie E. Webb Jr., is qutoed as saying, "You could really do a lot of damage to a family...We haven't totally come to grips with how we're going to handle it."

** Take heed and handle all of a father's secrets with care. **

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Daddy Daredevil

The cliches and seemingly timeless maxims tumble forth. A dad would jump through any hoops for his kids; a man's got to do what he's got to do; every day you're a daddy you face danger; from the moment your first child is born your feet leave the ground ....

That none of those have any relation to this week's Objet d'eBay doesn't mean it couldn't have served as a wonderful metaphor. It doesn't. But it could ....

There is some connection — definitely genetic, possibly cultural — between old Evel and son with his first wife, Robbie Knievel, the only of Evel's kids who followed in his flight path and just jumped a herd of trucks to break (?) his father's world record of jumping over a flock of buses. (When you convert slide rule notches to abacus beads you are well on your way to translating buses into trucks — for jumping record purchases anyway.)

Just before his leap in Mason, Ky., "Kaptain" Robbie (who began jumping over stuff at age 4 and is ever available to power over your junk, just let him know) is said to have sent praise to the late daredevil sire, saying, "I'll be up there to see you soon, Dad, but hopefully not today."

** Every dad must face the leap of faith. Some master it. **

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Out from Under a Songbird's Wing

"[My dad] never tried to hide anything from anyone, he's a very honest person," says Mahalia Barnes on the eve of the release of Soul Mates Volume 1. For 10 years she has toured with often alcohol and/or drug addicted father Jimmy Barnes and band and stayed away from releasing anything on her own because she "...didn't feel like [she] was ready."

Barnes claims to having learned "life's lessons" from dad on her way to adapting and improving over the model. Taking a different tack, albeit with a different musical model is Seun Kuti, the Nigerian Afrobeatist who is leading veteran musicians from daddy Fela Kuti's Egypt 80 band. The younger proudly admits to being just like dad, "Crazy," although hopefully not in the way that had his father's compund attacked and overrun just over 30 years ago by soldiers of the Nigerian President Obasanjo, who is again in power.

Where is the reliance of the child on the musical father? Hard to say and rarely the same from one to the other. Eulaulah Donyll "Lalah" Hathaway, for example, took inspiration from her dead father. Soulman Donny, who died nearly three decades ago, came singing to her in a dream to inspire "On Your Own," a song on her "Self Portrait," scheduled for a June release. "I am his daughter and that's the truth of who I am, every day."

** Lessons. Inspirations. Life. All dads' gifts. **

Friday, May 23, 2008

Daddy (Dog) Days of Summer

Here's a celebration of fathers mothers can start planning for (i.e., being on the lookout for the perfect "greeting" card).

July 5 will mark the 100th anniversary of Father's Day in the States. It's not that dads actually care a hoot about the cards — this is some sort of (generally speaking) women delusion for insincere sentiment expressed in caricature, ink and cardboard — but they still are a market for cards. And so Hallmark (among others) is hot on the commercial case.

This year they are not only noticing that not all dads appreciate being accused of being the stereotypical goof, but they are even going so far as encouraging dads to dance with an online and touring contest.

Once again, the Hallmark father moment promotion will involve MC Hammer — father of A’keiba Burrell-Hammer who was part of the MTV kiddies "Rock the Cradle" and five others.

Last year's version:

** Not only will he be forced to cookout, now daddy will also have to get his boogie on. Next, he'll have to do it at the same time ... can't we ever just let him be? **

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Daddy Poesy

While it is easy to make fun of sentimental nonsense, it is harder to do so when it involves the poetry efforts of a 10-year-old poeticizing in rhyme the loss of the father felled by a brain tumor seven years previously. Strikingly enough, Press Packer Edward is not the only poet working the dad vein.

In fact, if you're feeling all poemy (and are under 17) there is still time to enter the (NJ) Daily Journal's Father's Day poetry contest. If you've reached voting age by now, you can always hope to make the rounds of e-mail in-boxes like Tony Hoagland and his "The Story of the Father." Hoagland's TSotF is Papa-ic Ode to a man who publicly cremates his private grief at the loss of his son.

So, apparently, the run-up to Father's Day is a time for poetry (who knew?). Even a time for a son to make a Bollywood musical using his father's translation of the Sanskrit epic poem Bhagavat Gita ("Song of God") — envisioned as the ultimate poem from and for the

** The most basic: He's my dad/I am glad. You will do better. **

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Yessir, That's My Baby

Sometimes, maybe, it will be better to let the child find a father figure on his or her own, rather than have a paper dad thrust upon him or her. That at least is the hope in Britain, which has just changed laws (and birth certificate wording) to make it easier for single moms and lesbian couples to have children without also having to select and/or name a father.

Along with the need for a named father (and, since we seem to be moving ever closer to lab grown children we might not need to name either parent soon) we can now also question whether dads have to hang in the same room as their partner, who is giving birth. A somewhat questionable study suggests dads just get in the way. Apparently, some people — a few dads-to-be, in this case — aren't as good in stressful hospital situations as others.

** Based on the bills I received, he should have smacked the gonif anesthesiologist. **

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Love between father and child is never about money. But being wealthy never hurts.

It's even an easy excuse. For example, take the story of the 11-year-old Indian boy, who "loves both parents equally." Given his options thanks to a mano-a-womano custody battle, he chooses to live with his richer father. We can hope his mom isn't too angry, given his maturity in using that as his reason, even though the court did note, " ... But it would be wrong to say that [the father's financial status] is the only reason why he wants to be with his father. There appears to be some bond between the two."

Another child with a special bond beyond her father's affluence is Juliet Hartford, who has been taking care of her father — the late grocery story heir, a one-time bon vivant and latter bankrupt, Huntington Hartford. Despite his profligacy with what could have been her inheritance, she kept plugging away at trying to save him from himself ... and after all the years it was cancer and age, not his libertine ways that got him.

Bankruptcy also played a key part in the relationship of CEO Jun Haraguchi and his dad. Fortunately for him, papa Haraguchi's company fell down the tubes, freeing him to pursue his dream of rockstardom. And the pursuit of that dream gave his dad the opportunity to confess his own musical dreams, cementing a bond that had already existed without words. Young Haraguchi's quest for his dreams led to wisdom, other opportunities and, of course, making papa proud.

Because, no matter what other's say — and no matter how many times a child comes palm face up and awaiting allowance — it's never the money that forges the bond.

** This isn't to fight the truism that "money makes the world go 'round," only to aver that it isn't what keeps fathers and children together as everything spins around them. **

Monday, May 19, 2008

Movie Equality

It may be shortsighted to bemoan the lack of father and female child movies. After all there is always "Nim's Island" (the typical, tepid, two fish-out-of-water tale of daddy-daughter). BUT where are the good ones? Or at least the interesting ones?

Where are the "buddy" flicks, like the father-son "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." The first IJ in nineteen years is a bit creaky, perhaps showing the absence of Sean Connery, the real father to Harrison Ford's (60+ year old son), but it will still make scows of moneys.

Are there ones little heard of by western audiences, like Bollywood star Anil Kapoor's "Gandhi, My Father?" [Earlier: Moving Images] Couldn't there be a daughter facing difficulties with an overwhelming pop whose story could fill a megaplex screen?

Why can't one dad get so obsessed and made so delusional by his daughter's fate that he takes over his child's movie studio and creates a rant, à la Mohamed Al Fayed. The father of Dodi, Princess Diana's final beau, threw an estimated £7 million at the screen to promote the idea that Britain's Queen is "a corrupting force;" her hubby Philip has Nazi links and that "the establishment" and media are colluding to cover up the murder (of D&D).

So that's the WD challenge. Go crazy. Let's hyperbolize the daddy-daughter relationship to the same extent as the father-son one. Equally good or equally bad. It's time for equality.

** And while we're at it let's change the name to "cinepa." **

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Blah, Blah, Blah, Sex, Blah, Blah

Can there ever be enough written or said about the talk?

Paradoxically, no matter how many words are proffered on what a father should say to a son about sex, they are never the right ones. Today's Objet d'eBay is a highly limited edition of a 1948 Hallmark (?) edition of the "Father and Son" chapbook from the Digest of Hygiene (Australian version).

The table of contents offers pretty clear evidence that however unuseful editor M.A. Horn's tome was during its time, it has even less utility today — beyond the few minutes of amusement if offers during an eBay search.

It may serve as an artifact of its time and testimony to how uncomfortable is the talk about the birds and bees — not that WD recommends discussions of bestial miscegenation make for dinner table conversations. And perhaps it offers the suggestion of father-son bonding ... although the idea of a father-son marijuana biz has a nice glow of fellowship about it as well.

But while the stereotype remains of father uncomfortably confronting son over sex, there are attempts — sophomoric as they may be — to get beyond that and offer information in new (albeit disgusting and somewhat inappropriate ways:

Maybe there can be enough said ...

** It may not be what you say that makes a difference, but the way you tell your tale. **

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pride in Achieving

"It's an interesting experience getting beaten up by your daughter," says 41-year-old John Hutton on losing out to daughters Laura, 19, and Amy, 15, as well as Joe and James, ages 13 and 10, respectively.

Hutton, who followed his kids into blackbeltdom provides an interesting take on achievement. Was John Quincy prouder of his own achievement or his sons on getting his face on a dollar? Will Brian or Brittany Gegner be happier when she gets her GED (and keeps dad out of jail)? [Earlier: A Father's Got to Do ...]

It's hard to say who is happier with the other's achievement, the father or the child. But, fortunately with Father's Day coming up, there are contests the two can win together. The (Middletown, N.Y.) Times Herald-Record has a contest over which father-child duo looks most alike. And the (Hilton Head, S.C.) Island Packet wants to offer bragging rights to daddy chefs ... with respect to what their kids think of their kitchen prowess.

Achievement. Pride. Fatherhood.

** No matter who wins, it's always a together achievement. **

Friday, May 16, 2008

Father's Day Proclamation and Various Declarations

Announcing that Latvia will recognize and celebrate a "father's day," Children and Family Affairs Minister Ainars Bastiks proclaimed that "...the father has still been left unnoticed and underestimated."

Which doesn't mean a big to-do needs to be made as tribute — that's not "A Father's Way." A tie you make for the big guy will be fine. (Does anybody still buy ties as a Father's Day present? how many fathers are still wearing them or are they all ending up as an accessory for a day or two in the wardrobe of teenage girl's?)

Just make sure that whatever you do on FD, you don't scold him to death. If that is your plan or practice, why not just leave Daddy-o unnoticed and underestimated. Many thanks.

** The presents don't matter as long as he knows (without having to put up with too much fuss) that you appreciate his presence. **

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dads Taking Baby Steps

When Peter Leonard published his first book, Quiver, father Elmore weighed it like a newborn, before noticing that the new author son had dedicated his book to his 45-time published author pop.

When Tori Spelling's newborn Liam was born, she thought he had inherited the soul of her father, television "genius" Aaron Spelling.

So, it appears to be okay for fathers to weigh and (sorta) even be newborns. HOWEVER, they should absolutely not try to join a group of people (i.e., women) who have actually given birth to newborns or an estrogen fueled wraithful wave will wash down upon them, as it did to misguided daddy Gary Traffanstedt, who tried to join the 300-plus moms on

** It's better than the back of the bus, but dads still have to fight the power that thinks we might not know our place. **

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Judicial Mumbo Jumbo

Can a legal system really unmake a dad?

Soon enough, according to British law, Yohane Banda will no longer be David Banda's pop and Guy Ritchie will. The new dad, along with mum Madonna, felt compelled to search Malawi for a kid to adopt and Banda has now agreed that insanely rich Europeans can outcomfort a child beyond the means of a well meaning, caring, but dirt poor, Malwaian.

Also, according to the Kentucky Supreme Court, the husband of a woman who gives birth is the father of that child even when he contributed neither genes nor chromosomes (or anything else biological) to the newborn.

On the one hand we have love not being enough to make a father; and on the other we have biology not being enough to make a father. So, it must be on the third hand or maybe fourth that we have whatever it is that actually defines a dad.

** Very often the law is used as a bat to whack two balls. **

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Monotypes (?!?)

"If I couldn't tell you how my dad ended up with seven kids by four women [and been a great role model]," says Ta-Nehisi Coates, "I wouldn't have done it.

Coates, memoirist behind The Beautiful Struggle, weaves a tale of his larger than life dad, his bend-but-don't-break brother and his own dreamy, chronicling self. His dad was a Vietnam Vet, Black Panther, and small press publisher. Not quite a stereotypical black father.

Along the vein of stereotype busting comes a reminder of the Reverend Paul Moore from his daughter, Honor Moore. Her memoir, The Bishop's Daughter, weaves her own search for herself into a portrait of her dad, an Episcopal priest, social activist, father of nine and bisexual explorer.

Perhaps trumping both of these revelations of cliche-busting comes notice from Scarborough (news from Canada?) of black fathers (in Canada?) gathering for their third meeting to support each other in being better fathers (men talking with each other about being better dads?; in Canada?; African-Canadian fathers?; no hockey involved?).

Are there actually father-stereotypes left other than on television?

** No dad is "every dad." **

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Father's Got To Do ...

Fathers are defined by their ability to adapt to the unusual and better their child through it.

So, we have a new hero, Fresh Kills' (Staten Island, N.Y.) Anthony Occhinero Sr., who delivered Jr. at home on Mother's Day, after his wife was sent back from the hospital: the medical geniuses there said Jr. wasn't fully cooked and ready to pop from the oven.

We also send a shout out to unemployed Canadian film reviewer David Gilmour who let his son drop out of school in exchange for accompanying his father to work (sort of, maybe). The resulting memoir, The Film Club, tells the tale of dad schooling son ... and vice versa.

And, even though his daughter, with renewed motivation, will get her GED, possibly freeing him early from prison, we still extend sympathies to Ohio's Brian Gegner who will serve 180 days in prison because — if the Fox News report is to be believed — his daughter skipped school two years ago when he was responsible for her education but she was spending time with his ex-wife.

** A father does what he does. Does he gotta? Usually, yes.**

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy MD, Daddy Do Wrong

Usually, dads do better on Mother's Day than on Valentines Day. There is something about the day that seems pretty simple — just do whatever wife or mother says she wants and it will be over soon — that seems to work. (Yes, sometimes dads get caught in the middle, but no worse on this day than any others.)

But it doesn't always work out. And this week's Objet d'eBay pays tribute to the daddy who will have one of the worst Mother(f**r) of all Mother's Days.

"The Chocolate Cowboy and Daddy Whistle" are two songs that speak to New York Congressman Vito Fossella's position today. He had never told his wife about his Virginia family and he didn't tell the mother of his 3-year-old that he was lying when he said he was separated. So he has to pay homage to two women who are angry and will be disappointed (not to mention honoring his own likely PO'd mom) and no amount of chocolate or bells and whistles is going to get him out of this Daddy Do-Wrong mess.

**Perhaps we could make Fossella "Scapegoat Daddy" and free ourselves by giving him all our sins to take with him into the wilderness? He is going into the wilderness, right? **

Saturday, May 10, 2008

What's Next, Marriagewise

For reasons that can only come from the file labeled "Sometimes Kids Have to Make Fathers Crazy and Fathers Better Suck It Up Because There Is Nothing That Can Be Done about It," Thing 2 (and sometimes even 1) adores Adam Sandler movies. Which means I have repeatedlly seen or endured the background noise of cable broadcasts of Big Daddy — admittedly not as nails-on-chalkboard bad as some of his others.

Fortunately, there is no such love (yet) exhibited for today's most powerful father-of-the-bride, U.S. Prez Bush who gives away one of his twins today in Texas. He'll be the first First FOTB in 37 years.

What could tie the two together (hypothetically, of course) is a treatment making the rounds from Sandler's production company. Currently entitled, "I Hate You Dad," it will be the story of a dad who moves in with his son and begins battling his daughter-in-law-to-be. Sandler and POTUS 43 do seem to share a public personna and 43 will be out of work in January '09 (not that he seems particularly busy now), which would be about the time IHYD could be ready to begin production. With favorability ratings yet to find a firm foundation, Bush is probably fairly well prepped to take on a role of someone annoying and (by title, at least) hated. But, basically, what else does he have to do.

It's not as if he is even going to work as hard another FOTB who actually sewed his daughter's wedding dress and made the three-tiered wedding cake. Which would be a much less grating (hence un-Sanderlike) movie.

** Probably a test of how well you did as a dad (how many horrible movies and other travails you endured and for what purpose) is what you get back when you give your children away in marriage. **

Friday, May 9, 2008

Big Screen Fathers

Are there even missing mom movies?

Not missing parents, but missing moms? Well, maybe, But who cares because the missing — either physically or emotionally — father is one of the easiest ways for a screenwriter to add character development and possibilities.

He (the father) doesn't even have to be a part of the plot. His lack of presence — i.e., that is the denying of a character the possibilities of a pop — revs viewers minds. A few current (more or less) examples.

Clint Eastwood will be parading his new movie The Changeling (soundtrack thanks to his son Kyle) to the folks at Cannes at the end of the month. In the movie, a father is doubly absent as a son is "returned" but not the son of the single mom to whom he is given.

In City of Men missing fathers and their secrets which kept from two boys in a Brazilian slum drives the war withing the drug war.

And in The Stone Angle a wealthy but emotionally withdrawn dad sets his one daughter on a picaresque travail via marriage and children with a man who is set in counterpoint to her father.

** Movies offer life with dad in its many forms, only [hopefully] with the dull parts cut out. **

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Kiddies and Pols

A shoutout to Freakanomics for a post that begins with how daughters change fathers' votes; meanders through how George Washington became America's president in part because he didn't have a child; and ends with thoughts on how children may play into the electability of their parents.

** Have more kids; get more votes. Usually. **

Girly Biz

While nobody second glances a "Blah Blah & Son" sign, something about "Yadda Yadda & Daughter" creates a bit of buzz.

You might think it wouldn't be true in terms of restaurants. After all, girls are made for the kitchen. Right? Wrong, at least based on Things 1 and 2, who relish the idea of cooking, but rarely the practice. And wrong again when taking into account the newsworthiness of Glasgow daughter Daniela who began washing dishes in dad's restaurant and ended up paying pop Sandro £5million to keep his restaurants in the family.

Just under the radar are the North Carolina daddy-daughter car wash duo Ted Kennedy and Karen Johnson bringing some beach vibes to the clean-your-ride experience. And Rawle and Jeralene Mohan, who work together as car mechanics in Toronto. Father and child Chet and Erica Swenson brew up Swedish vodka from California.

Sometimes getting traction for the idea of dad to daughter is even a struggle within the family. Such was the case with Chuck Kellogg, who publicly crowed he would be handing over the family's Hubbard-Hall to his new son-in-law, before daughter Molly — working in the chemical manufacturer — was able to set him straight.

** For the dad-daughter working together/business evolution extreme tune into the Shari-Sumner Redstone soap opera. [Earlier: Daddy Dreary] **

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Bragging Right

"Maybe everybody who gets a boy starts thinking about their daddy," claims Rick Bragg for the inspiration of why he began writing "The Prince of Frogtown."

So what did he learn in the course of writing to discover who his dad was? He discovered himself, of course.

** Maybe searching for stories of your dad is a bit like the moral of The Wizard of Oz where you had it in you all the time? **

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What Do Children Want

The son kills the father. The daughter has an unreconciled physical feelings for him. Such are the Oedipus and Electra complexes, the shorthand left us by Sigmund Freud (132 years old today) on the nature of dads and der kinder.

Did he pull those theories from his own life? As best is known, there were no attempts made on his life by any of his three boys and while he was very close to his youngest daughter, psychoanalyst Anna Freud, there is nothing to suggest anything more.

If only it wasn't too late to take a ride on the "way back machine" with the late Ted Key's Mr. Peabody and and his adopted son Sherman to analyze Freud's own fathering and how he learned what children desire.

** In the comedy is the truth of fathering; in the truth usually comedy. **

Monday, May 5, 2008

DNA (Do Not Ask) Concerns

Suppose we made him sing — or swivel, insisting that DNA was just a theory? Could we still determine the paternity?

Him, James Brown II (actually, II as in "too" since there are so many little JBs), is the formerly presumed and now DNA-verified son of papa soulster James Brown and backup (so to speak) singer and wife/not wife Tomi Rae Hynie. [Earlier: It's a Man's Man's Man's World]

Once upon a time a child's whose father was in question would be passed around the jury box. Twelve good men (it was a while ago) would consider if kid and dad looked alike. Now, there is DNA, but while we assume it is always accurate, there are questions. For example, one "expert" is worried that in the case of the 416 kids from the El Paso cult there might be some mix-ups. And fathers and children could be denied their link. So, let's find out what the dads can do and see if the kids do it.

Let the kid get down like James Brown and see if that clears up any questions.

Kids will follow dads. Just ask Justin Townes Earle who had to move through a period of drug addiction like his dad before he began to follow in father Steve Earle's chord progressions. Speaking for all kids, he admits, "I thought for years that I was nothing like my father, and it turns out I am exactly like him."

So let's use that for a paternity test.

** Maybe the cult actually had a good idea, only go further and make all dads claim all kids? **

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Father Son Spotlight Dance

What eruptions in the human paradigm could possibly take place if there were father-son dances like those for daddies and daughters?

Suppose we said it was just for bonding (which it surely would be) or to encourage ballroom dancing — would wives and girlfriends be encouraging then? What if both the father and son's sexual orientation was clear and usually male desirous?

Presumably none of those things were in mind when Luther Vandross and Richard Marx began work on the song "Dance with my Father," the CD's promotional poster for which is this week's Objet d'eBay. Still, it is a song often chosen by brides for their spotlighted dance with the ceremony's FOB. (Anyone out there know if it has been part of a wedding or civil ceremony between two men?) And it is pretty clear from its use on YouTube that a bunch of men are sincerely moved by the idea of one more dance:

Mop up the tears and bid.

** Dancing. Crying. What is becoming of fathers? **

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Polished Personna

Nail polish is the answer.

It just depends on your question.

For example, if your question as a new father is, "how can I tell among my newborn quadruplet daughters which is Autumn, Brooke , Calissa and Dahlia?" then your answer — at least according to wise beyond his years J.P. Jepp — is a toenail palate ranging from red to yellow to pink to purple.

If your question is, "what should have adorned the piggies of ancient Egyptian king Akhenaten?" then, again, it is polish the ancient king (and father of six) could have used to dress up what was recently described as a particularly girly figure.

And (Things 1 & 2) it is also the answer to the question of what chips beginning about 10 minutes after it has been laboriously applied by spa slaves on girls and looks raggedy for the next three to seven days until daughters finally agree to stop daddy's complaining by using nail polish remover — or mommy takes them back to the nail salon?

Actually, when thinking about it a bit, maybe those are all the questions that "nail polish" answers?

** Could the two-day beard growth be the daddy version of tarted up toenails? **

Friday, May 2, 2008

Acting Dad

Two-time dad Colin Firth will be the premier screen daddy for the next few months.

In the just-opened "Then She Found Me" he plays the father of a student whose teacher (Helen Hunt) desires a love interest. He is the son unreconciled with his father in "And When Did You Last See Your Father?" (released in Ireland in 2007, but not scheduled for the States until June 2008). He will take a bit of being a father — playing the cast aside fiance — in "The Accidental Husband," opening in August, but returns as one of the possible daddies that are part of the bare plot that gives a reason for ABBA's songs to be haunting radio airwaves and MP3 players when Mamma Mia (the movie) hits screens in August.

** A not yet made-for-tv movie has a father and son meeting up for the first time on death row. **

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Drink and Drank ... but Drunk (?)

Lost to the sands of time is the link between the ascension of Jesus &mash; this year on May 1, a date known annually for less ethereal celebrations — and the German fathers who until now have had a free pass to head to the fields with schnapps and beer and (eventually) return drunk as a Prussian skunk.

Be warned, German pops. Be wary. Things don't always end that well when the spirits begin flowing. There was the father who forgot his 6-month old in a shop. Oops.

And, most distressingly, there is Dolt Hall of Famer Islambek Baimukhambetov who tippled a bit too extremely and, in his liquid wisdom, decided that his teen boys should be circumcised. With sheep shears. To make real men of them. If not quite fathers.

** Childless French poet Charles Baudelaire, whose ex-priest father married his mom when he was 60 and she 26, offered a paean to drunkeness, but much seems not to involve alcohol ... for what that might be worth to a dad. **