Monday, June 30, 2008

Sailing, Sailing

One of many unfair stereotypes about fathers is that there are two types: the ones who are more devoted to golf than they are to their families and the ones more devoted to their boats. But just because a father isn't more devoted, it doesn't mean he can't be devoted, or that he can't share that devotion.

For example, Sarah Mergenthaler, who will be on the U.S. Olympic sailing team in China began crewing for her dad when she was 7 and is now on her way to living father Bill's dream — he was to sail in the 1980 Olympics boycotted by the States.

And a bit more on living dreams, New Forest (England) father and son Alan and Rhys Jones are planning to sail an origami-inspired boat down the Mississippi. Sail it as "in it," not as watching it course down the river as they follow its progress from the bank. Jones fils already has the record as the youngest (he's now 22) to scale the highest peaks on all seven continents. And it was this industriousness that got his father itching to do something: "After seeing me jet off in the past he wanted to do something himself."

Most likely the British duo will have better luck than Peter and Christopher Hyers, a South Carolina father and son who sailed themselves aground. Of course, sailing down a river doesn't require the same mastery of directions as does sailing the Atlantic. So — while we hate to involve another unfortunate stereotype — it won't be necessary for the Jones, unlike the Hyers, to consider putting aside their manly mania and asking for directions when they are clearly lost.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Snip, Snip

While men's natural tendency to DIYing does give pause, we nevertheless present this week's objet d'eBay, vasectomy forceps — but no scalpel. Presumably, these could serve as fairly inexpensive study materials if you or someone you know were considering ceasing your/their daddiability and wanted to do some homework.

Even with the fear of running into the Gloucester Girls and having your life changed (not that the boys/men involved couldn't have taken some precautions), this is not an operational option for the squeamish.

But the thing to remember is that sometimes being a dad means figuring out it's time to stop your fathering.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

More SAHD News Is Not News

Can you say SAHD in Quebecois?

There are five times as many stay-at-home-dads in Quebec (per capita) as in the the other Canadian provinces according to a Statistics Canada report. In the last few years, the province has increased to 35 weeks the benefits provided for men's parental leave, offered a parental insurance program, and even began a five-week leave program just for new dads.

Not that this is the only news on the SAHD front. In fact, there are so many stories being written about the "phenomenon," it is pretty much not phenomenal any more. It has become harder and harder to make real news.

So, let's not pretend its real news ...

...When, for example, lets talk about the son who will be spending years of quality time with his stay at home (sort of) dad. Beacon (Ill.) father Angel "Doc" Luciano hadn't seen his son in a few years, but thanks to the U.S. judicial system a reunion is in the offing. Son Michael Luciano — who was a good enough son to follow his father's orders and kill Willie Arce — has been sentenced to some prison time.

...Or when South Dakota guys decide that careers in engineering or law aren't satisfying (or don't pay as well as the wife's) when compared to staying home and being with their children. as o take care of the kids at home because the wife can make more money as a doctor than he will make as a lawyer.

...And not even when a guy wants four children and his wife wants three so they have two older daughters, a one-year-old and quadruplets in the middle. And he stays at home to take of them — and even pimps them out (literarily speaking) for pay as the Quadfather.

While it is good to know of the welcoming Canadians and that more kids can mean more material and money, unfortunately, the basic lesson from today is that more SAHDs equals less new and even less news.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Picture This

Somewhere there's a line separating what is and isn't appropriate daddy-daughter behavior. And it is a hard line to draw for another pairing, particularly when the judgment is being made based on celebrity photos.

Still, there is something creepy about the Billy Ray - Smiley Cyrus picture taken for the Vanity Fair article on daughter "Hannah Montana." [Earlier: Achy Breaky Dad] And Cyrus's explanation may be true, but it still isn't satisfying to read him explain the picture away as, "I'm sorry if I offended somebody, but that's just a daddy that loves his daughter a whole lot. I'm her daddy, she's my daughter so if a daddy hasn't hugged his daughter recently, I recommend he does."

And, yes, it is true as aspiring singer/porn star (?) Brooke Hogan says about the paparazzi pic of daddy Hulk rubbing suntan lotion on her backside that, "I know I'm a grown woman, but it's like he's touching an old car ... He used to change my diaper!" And it is also true that unlike the Cyri the Hogans didn't pose in the position so perhaps even more slack should be cut.

But neither one looks right and perhaps every pop needs not to condemn, but only consider from the flack-facers what his own actions look like from the outside — and whether or not he gives a damn about what others think about his daughter((s) and/or sons) and him.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mayo Men

Suppose they're married? Or at least civil unionized?

The two dads, I mean, including the Gene Hackman-like ("I Never Sang for My Father") one making sandwiches, who the kids refer to as mum.

The ad has been yanked in Britain because 202 people complained. Was it because of the objectification of the wife as a deli man? Was it the "sweet cheeks" endearment? Did they not think that a dad could make a lunch sandwich?

Or did they not think these two were meant for each other and so probably weren't married and might even have been living in sin together?

They seem like reasonable and caring fathers. Fortunately, their mayonnaised union will live on forever via the internet.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Jungle Rules

For dads it's (sorta) a jungle out there.

Corpus Christi (Texas) pop Joe De La Garza was killed by a cockatiel — a parrot like thing — according to his grieving family and perhaps a court, someday.

Perhaps the only thing that could have saved him would have been a house call from
St. Charles' (Minn.) Bernard Allen Corcoran, the "mastermind" behind the death of a cat that killing birds in his yard. (Or, maybe they should have called the cat?). Now, the judge did outwit Corcoran by asking if he knew that killing a kitty was wrong before allowing his guilty plea. And it was actually his son — acting on an "unspoken understanding" between father and son — who took up bow and arrow to take on the tabby. Technically, it was the vet who killed the cat, but he was only carrying out the endgame for the diabolical father-son duo and so his hands remain clean — legally speaking.

Or perhaps it was De La Garza's original choice of winged pet for his daughter that was the poor choice. Maybe he would have been better off getting his child a bear, like Ram Singh Munda, who adopted a pet for his daughter after they both lost her mother. Not that it would have been completely without complications. Munda, too, finds himself in court. Apparently, he (or his daughter) had threatened wildlife ... and there are laws against that.

For every jungle there must be a guide. Perhaps a team. And so, to help dads make it through the animal kingdom, it may be necessary to turn to the directing Reitmans [Earlier: Sonday], after all the father was responsible for Animal House, a movie made from "the worst script the studio ever read" and the son is busy outgrossing his father.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Learning the Duvet Way

Exactly why single dad Matthew Collins hates duvet covers isn't clear. (Actually why he feels the need to clean them once a week also seems a bit murky.) But he is clear and even eloquent on what he does well as a father of two boys.

And fathers doing well by children is becoming less and less the unusual. Although the tone taken in articles about fathers doing more fathering everywhere from Canada to various points of call in the States is still similar to what might be expected when describing a talking dog.

While moms can learn something from dads about life and parenting, it is probably best when they gain from each other as they try to achieve together for their children.

But, back to Collins, as much as he says he learns from his mom friends, the smarts he offers most in his essay seem to be the result of time he has spent with and thinking about his kids. (If only they could explain duvets to him ....)

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin

The late George Carlin be remembered by most not as a father, but more like the off-center uncle. But for all his fame he will forever be the father of one, Kelly Carlin-McCall — whose world view was shaped by both the light of his mind at times when he (for example) explained that the sun had exploded as well as living in the shadow of his fame.

Perhaps he never felt completely comfortable with the idea of a dad. Sure, he took his turn as a father in Jersey Girl, but the staple comedic target of "dad" was missing from most of his comedy, although it did rear its (slightly skewed) head in the the last episode of The George Carlin show included the skit of a son learning his dad played for the other team during the war. But maybe he stayed away from the subject — and seems to have left his daughter with both connection and distance — from his own experience of having a bullying, drunken dad [fortunately] skip out on him.

He could say the things dads couldn't and in ways they wouldn't and and sure make fathers laugh. Blessings to him and sympathy and condolence to Ms. C-McC.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Less Complicated Is Less Likely and Just Less

'Twas a simpler time for fathers in 1953 (actually not, but let's pretend), when this week's objet d'eBay originally appeared. Gibson's ad to sell more it its Fathers Day Cards depicts the family of dreams — not necessarily mine or yours 7mdash; but the dreams at least of the artist and account exec of what the dadcentric family looks like.

Even then such imaginary families were probably only a disguise for complications. The difference appears to be that today the complications aren't hidden. Even a pleasant story about fathers day is complicated, as was discovered by The Columbus Dispatch, which ran artwork for story on this Hallmark (and Gibson) holiday adjacent to the story on the death of newsman Tim Russert (son of big Russ). Apparently, the visual appearance was a message of Happy Fathers Day dead guy to at least one degruntled reader.

But not everyone gets the message that fathers are best celebrated for dealing with and solving complications. Misguided folk keep hoping to create a reality to match that Gibson image by denying the complications. It won't work. People get upset and the kefuffle grows bigger than the problem.

For example, Scottish schools decided to cut out the tradition of schoolkids making Fathers Day cards because not every kid had a dad. And while that might have created more buyers for the manufactured rather than handmade card variety, the hullabaloo still rained down so rather than children encouraged to look for a father figure they were called out as lacking one and needing extra sensitivity.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dancing Daddy and Daddy-Daughters

What is the point of being a father alone? You may get a certain amount of acclaim out of doing something in the category of "best dad to..." But compare that to the joy of doing it with your child.

In this case, DANCE. First, the winner of the just completed 2008 Hallmark Daddy Dance Off Contest, Ronnie Bell. And then, some dads kickin' it with their babies.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Imagine That

“One time I asked [my father] how can I go visit those stars?" remembers Philipina novelist Lualhati Bautista. "And he said, someday, I'm going to build a ladder that you can climb all the way to the stars. I asked, and what about you? Are you coming with me? And he said, no, I'm staying down here to catch you should you fall. But I'm sure you won't fall. Because you are not afraid to climb. ...My father opened my imagination wide” — a gift Bautista hopes one day to celebrate via the big screen.

Because opening imaginations is what daddies do. Even when their not biologicals, as in Tarsem Singh's "The Fall," in which a man builds a daddy-daughter connection by telling her tales while both are injured in a Los Angeles hospital. (He is hoping to build the connection will lead to her helping him kill himself, but nobody imagines all father-child activities are always and completely sweet.)

Landing somewhere between imagination and competition are Will and Willow Smith. The father's starring turn in "Hancock" (superhero to lose superpowers ... sounds a bit like a dad's tale) will be competing (?) at the box office when both open July 2 against the daughter's supporting role in "Kitt Kittredge." In the schismed media either she is fine with daddy bringing home the bigger slice of the bacon, or daddies little girl is planning on sandbagging the old man.

Surely, that's a competition that leaves much to the imagination.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Court Side

Folk wisdom has it that dad is prosecutor, defense attorney, judge and jury. Of course, folk wisdom also insists fathers can't give birth. [Earlier: Daddy Mommy]

The facts are that some daddies do find themselves in situations that call out for a little bit of judicial and judicious help. So, Jamie Spears, who has the (un)enviable task of trying to bring financial order to the personal disorder of daughter Britney, has to ask — and has received — permission to sell off her white elephant abode.

And Lancashirian Neil Metcalfe received some help weening his son from the gang teet. It meant ratting out his son to the police, but son and daughter have forgiven him ... so they say.

Desperately needing aid he has yet to receive is the anonymous Kuwaiti pop who got bopped, plopped and mopped up by his brood of three. He tried to discipline them for making a nuisance in the house and was proven right in charge, if not in execution of authority as they beat him up (in the house) and sent him on his way to the hospital.

But, like everything, there is a need for moderation. A line that should probably not be crossed. And, again, as always, no line remains uncrossed. So it is with some weary shock that WD also takes note of the Canadian court that cut the legs off a dad (so to speak). Quebec Superior Court Justice Suzanne Tessier has ruled that a father can't ground his 12-year-old daughter. He took away some of her internet privileges after she posted pictures — and argued with her step-mom and the ex-wife got involved and .... well, there's probably more here than it being reported.

Long, complicated, family dysfunction short: sections 159 and 604 of the Quebec Civil Code, give kids the right to take their parents to court to challenge an exercise of parental authority and Her Honor said he couldn't keep his daughter from a school outing she wanted to attend. And he lost custody. This won't end well.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Paternity No News ... and News.

Sex makes monkeys out of men. No news.

Ah, but monkey sex making monkeys out of scientists? News. And so WD passes along the report from Geneva of the 9-year-old daddy. DNA testing at the Swiss Zoo reveals that Viatu, not Kisoro, 17, is the father of baby gorilla Chelewa.

Also, a dad never really rests. No news. ...But we'll never let a dad rest in peace. News, again.

So, let's dig up the former (and deceased) Australian premier Charles Cameron Kingston to check his DNA and see who he might have fathered and who are among their spawn. And bring us the body of Eddy Arnold (famous for crooning "Make the World Go Away," among other country hits so we can see whether the mommy of Christopher Edward Tanner, 47, was telling the truth when she told him the late singer was his daddy.

In fact, let's not even leave daddies in peace when he AND scientific testing says he didn't happen to father the particular b*****d in question. So salute Meadville's (Penna.) Lisa Miceli, who doesn't care that former basketball superstar Michael Jordan denies fathering her 4-year-old; isn't bothered by his having "passed" two paternity tests; and doesn't feel court orders limit her right to free speech either. Most recently, for not shutting up about the man she believes is her baby daddy, she got thrown out of court — and not in a good way.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

In Search of Daddy Kewl

The cool dad is the hot dad? Or does it make one cooler to be hotter? [That is, as in looking good, not sweating profusely.]

The report from Bollywood is that because Johnny Depp "[is] a child at heart. ... he bought [his kids] an island and everything," and Brad Pitt just keeps daddying up for every kid Angelina Jolie brings home they both lead the hot hunk hubby list. But maybe they're being cute doesn't hurt their ranking.

No real surprise. After sex there is always money and the other expedient way to be the cool daddy is to spend the big bucks, whether you have the greenbacks — other colored backs also often work — or don't.

If you're not a hunk or willing to play sugar daddy then it is still possible to be cool — as in wanted, but at least according to one list of the Ten Reasons to Keep Daddy, the cool bar has been lowered significantly.

Monday, June 16, 2008


As this year's celebration of daddies quickly recedes, along with memories of the good behavior of children and partners and sincere (at least when uttered) tributes to pops, it may be time to degild the lily.

Fathers make life greater, as in more resonant, not as in always better. Barack Obama sermonized eloquently on the importance of fathers in the life of their children. He found support for the theme in his own example as son of a father who found other things to do besides hang around for his child. Even though he was passionate and convincing about the importance of dads in their childrens' lives, he left one question unanswered.

Not that it makes the case for fathers fleeing, but exactly where would Obama be if his father had done the right things? How could he fly higher?

Fathers don't always bring job; can't always stand in the way of tragedy. Poet Tony Hoagland describes a father mistrodden path in the wake of his son's suicide. Left unanswered is the question of whether he caused or could have prevented the loss.

And mystery, too, is the real life story of Christopher Kirsch, stabbed to death by his schizophrenic son Michael, on Father's Day. What did he bring and what has been taken from the life of his son?

What the father changes is unknown. All that is certain about dads and their children is that in absence there is almost always a tragic presence.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dad, Do Not

Dylan Thomas may have written the greatest love poem ever to a dad. "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night" (not an official title, just the first line of the otherwise untitled poem) is included on this week's objet d'eBay, an LP (i.e., long playing) record of the Welsh poet reading some "hits."

Thomas aimed the poem squarely at his dying father, a school teacher poet who never reached the lyrical heights achieved by his son. However, it somehow also captures the lightening of existence in a few sparse words. There is the glory and pathos of his own life, an episode of which will be appearing shortly at your local movieplex as "The Edge of Love." However, the poem is more universal in appeal, somehow also touching all who read or hear it.

So Happy Father's Day, dads. And don't die. But if you do, make sure to have left something brilliant of yourself with your child that he or she can memorialize you forever.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bond. Father-Child Bond.

It is very difficult to say the word bond without immediately trying to say it in the accent of Jason Connery's father, Sean (the real only James Bond). Not that this is much help when considering the different opportunities available.

A father's chances for gaining an eternal connection with his child are as plentiful as a father's capacity for loving. And as father of 13, Gary Chapman says, "...when the second child comes, you hope to love it as much the first, and then the same with the third, and then the fourth and so on, until you realize you have an unlimited ability to love.”

So, father and son Robert and Sam Stovall, investment advisers who take opposite directions in gaining extraordinary financial success, stay away from shop talk — it seems to promote competition — and find their peace on American Civil War battlefields.

Owen Morris, a Kansas City writer, could never quite buy into his dad's car passion, but the journey of father and child — the stories to tell and the stories told as the two ventured across the country to reel in the motoring dreams the father discovered by looking on the internet — turned out to be an unusual and perfectly normal bonding experience.

Also both usual and surprising are Archie and Daniel Echols. Son Daniel followed his father's calling (and his father had followed his father) right into the ministry. Now they are bonded together in the pulpit of St. John's United Methodist Church in Lubbock, Texas.

** In fact, the bond between father and child is perfect for this world and still almost always otherwordly. **

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fight the CW

"Oh, everybody knows about fathers." Except that what everybody knows might not be true ... at least not always.

So, everybody knows that political families are close — at least during election times. But not in the case of the race for cheatin' Vito's Staten Island seat in congress. [Earlier: Happy MD, Daddy Do Wrong] In that race, the Conservative/Republican candidate will be retired financier Frank Powers, 68. In addition to others, he is likely to face a challenge — and probably not for the first nor last time — from Fran Powers, his 47-year-old potential rock-star son, who lost the libertarian parties endorsement, but is trying to pull things together for his own anarchist party ticket.

There is a conventional aspect to the challenge, of course. Including, the father having reportedly instructed the eldest son of his first marriage — a father himself with two kids — "to to wise up and straighten out his life."

There is a conventional aspect to the unconventional situation of "model father" Darryl Woods Sr. Junior says, "He's a great leader."

While father chimes in, "Just knowing I can influence my son is remarkable. My worst nightmare is that he would repeat my mistakes."

But that conversation and the respect between both has taken place in prison. It is at the Detroit's Ryan Correctional Facility, where almost all the lessons of the father have been passed to son, since the elder's incarceration beginning when the younger was 1.

And, finally, comes news of an extremely unconventional birth expected in mid-July. The stork will be dropping newborn weedy sea dragons into a puddle at Georgia Aquarium. Which would be less strange to many people than the reality of a father giving birth. In this case (and with seahorses and pipefish) the seadragon daddy does the heavy lifting with the babies.

** Daddies are most always the dialectic of the (un)conventional. **

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Telling Tales

How does it feel to tell a dad's story?

Describing the book he wrote about his father in Iraq, Westfield, Ind., second grader Sean DeRue says, "It felt good to write about him, but kind of sad, too."

Meghan McCain says, "I am truly excited ..." (although that might just be the publicists talking) about writing of her dad, presumptive Repub prez nominee John. Her picture book will be part of a trilogy of candidate books due out September. (And, no, Chelsea didn't write of mum Hilz and neither Malia Ann nor Natasha penned the tale of their pop Barack — although one could reasonably assume they are equally excited.)

And the Greenspun children, the force behind “Where I Stand,” the new documentary on Hank G., the former editor and publisher of the Las Vegas Sun, knew they had to have their father's story told. They had, after all, "...a story here of a modern day hero," in the words of son Brian.

** Fathers tell their tale one way, but it's more important what their kids say. **

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sugar and Spice?

... and everything nice? Everything? As in always nice? Not the girls I know. Not that it ultimately matters.

Thing 1 battles with attitude and begrudging (even though she thinks of it as martyr-like stoic) acceptance while Thing 2 draws from her arsenal both fury and sulking withdrawal when it is Go Time. But it will probably work out in the long run.

After all, a Holyoke (Mass.) student has come to grips with having her father also act as her basketball coach. As her disciplinarian coach. As her, he-makes-me-so-mad and it-is-to-unfair coach. But is it as a loving daughter or player trying to suck up to the coach for more playing time when she writes, "[our strong bond] makes me know he did everything for all the right reasons."?

Fortunately, that epiphany came in time. Australian Minister for Sport and Youth Kate Ellis acting the hellion as a child, didn't feel her father's connection until she was losing at age 15 and saw him spend his last months focused on what would be best for the family he was leaving behind. Now her country's youngest federal minister, her life as a hellion (drugs, sneaking out, various rebellions) was turned to its present course by her father's example. "I think it's about how you honour somebody's memory," she says. "...I like to take the values that I learnt from him and put them into play in my everyday life. That's what I think he would probably ask of me."

The wisdom that did not come in time belongs to (among others) Canadian writer Maggie Marwah who fought and fought and fought her father, even up to his last breaths. And then came the learning:

But daughters like me – nursing wounds for too long – must learn the grace of forgiveness. Not because our fathers asked it of us. But because our childhood is long since over, and it’s time to grow up. ... one day we realize we like who we’ve become, and our fathers were a large part of getting us here. And occasionally, we can even glimpse the best of our fathers in ourselves.

So I stand today, before his oak coffin, to offer a humble nod of thanks. And, quietly, ask his forgiveness that I couldn’t do better.

** And every father will offer that forgiveness and ask for some of his own. **

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Good Intentions; Dumb Results

In general, fathers are superheros; shoulders to cry on when a relationship sours; providers of sustenance; and often a source of a laugh at difficult times. But specific pops at particular times do f*up in those roles.

Two dads in Britain, members of Fathers4Justice — a rabble rousing bunch of lads ticked at mums getting more kidtime — dressed in superhero costumes and "scaled" the roof of British Minister for Women and Equality, Harriet Harman. She moved out of the house. One dad is and one dad will shortly be under arrest. They look foolish and, oh yeah, how are they helping their kids again?

In other HUHnews from the UK, Mitch Winehouse announced he was upset with daughter Amy for her "affair" with a roadie/manager while husband Blake is behind bars ... not that he is any fan of the druggie hubbie. And how was going public with that going to help her?

From music to film, there is a news item that a thin dad served his thin (but apparently not unhealthily so) daughter a fat-free- sugarless birthday cake. Father and Bollywood mainstay Anil Kapoor was just trying to de-chub daughter Sonam since all the competition were competitively sticking it out.

And, finally, there is the stone soup of pop culture created by Lionel Ritchie. Trying for a chuckle, he only managed to remind the public of his daughter Nicole's heroin addiction, poor taste and other criminal endeavors.

Maybe we could blame the heat for their brain spasms?

** Stupid does put the kebosh to good intentions. **

Monday, June 9, 2008

Daddies in the Dark

There are many reasons to be thankful for being a dad. One more became obvious this past weekend with Kung Fu Panda cashing $60 million of tickets, the week's highest gross in the American movieplex market.

The key to the movies success — based on purely nonscientific research (i.e., a dad's gut feeling, which should but usually isn't allowed to trump "a mom's intuition") — is that daddy could legitimately (and in the dark) get in touch with his inner boy. Men are deemed silly when going to cartoons alonbe, but fathers had a ready companion, uncles had a legitimate claim and other adult males will just seem creepy trying to entice a kid into attending KFP with them.

In contrast to Panda, a movie for kids that may really be for adults, there is "In Memory of My Father," a movie for adults that is really a celebration for kids of how they could be gloriously juvenile, if only "selfish" dad would get out of the way.

And on a tangent, a combination of dad and child, is found with news of Tom Bupp, pere and fils. Papa was a kiddy extra in 1930s American cine and son devotes his retirement (thanks to eBay, et al.) to collecting memorabilia featuring the oeuvre.

** No father, no matter how he is portrayed on the screen, is ever only two-dimensional. **

Sunday, June 8, 2008

All Dolled Up

The clothes may be a bit formal for many on this particular occasion, but the plastic smile and hint of nervousness in the eyes of this week's objet d'eBay, a dolled up father to be, pretty much captures the mien of most men pacing on the cusp of a new offspring.

Although there is some overlap between expectant and under fire, so far dolls are staying in one father category or the other, thanks to two North Carolina-based moms who created hugahero dolls — sorry ladies, apparently only men go to war ... or at least get dolls to celebrate it — incorporating the father's face and voice.

But even as there are male dolls being created, the conventional wisdom is that future fathers won't play with them unless you call them "action figures," since dolls are for girls. Not that AF is a particularly useful name except for marketing purposes. As metal maniac Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister said of the action figure created in his own image, if it's not anatomically correct, ".. then it's not going to get much action then, is it?"

Is or was the FOB doll anatomically correct? The picture gives no solid hint.

** Once they really were action figures, now, for most fathers, it's just an in their mind game. Alas. **

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Connect Grad and Dad

June is the month for "dads and grads." But don't forget that there is a right way and a wrong way to merge the two.

The wrong way is to show up at school, driving behind your daughter, who is riding a pony to combine celebrating her last day in high school with protesting something or other about gas. The police charged the two — but not the 20-year-old, blind in one eye equine beauty &mash; with breaching the peace. The father Ronald Friedson, 50, of Westport, Conn., claims it was about free speech. [Here's free speech: shut up, pay the fine, and don't make every dad look stupid.]

The preferred way to to be the ideal gift recipient, both dad and grad, like Robert Bucarey of Victorville, Calif. After years of wending his way through the halls of academia, Bucary, 45, got busy, got serious and received his diploma in the same ceremony as his son and daughter.

** Smart, not stupid. **

Friday, June 6, 2008

Screening Death

Let's watch dad die so we can figure out why we ever loved him.

That's an idea for a movie?

Some people seem to think so. "When Did You Last See Your Dad" (somehow we have lost the "And" preceding the current title for Blake Morrison's book ... and that is also the soundtrack title) received good notice when it opened in Britain last year and is now on the American market.

A large part of why the movie succeeds is thanks to the situation of the director, Anand Tucker. Asked why he chose this script, he explained:

Well, I have a complicated relationship with my dad, and I'm an old father with a young son who is four and a half, and so it arrived at a point where I was thinking all about my relationship with my dad, and becoming a dad myself. All of those big things when you get to your forties and you start thinking about all that kind of stuff. Weirdly enough, I found there was a lot going on in the script that really was going on in my head ...
** And doesn't that speak for most fathers? **

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Unusual Circumstances Don't Negate Dad Rules

Even if you can't point out where the rules are written, you still know them. They apply no matter how unusual the circumstances. And getting old is never an excuse to ignore them.

So, the 72-year-old father has no excuse to walk away from the IVF twins he had with his 59-year-old wife ... just because he wanted boys.

And all hail to an 81-year woman, Jan Morris, for continuing as a father — even (re)marrying the woman who is the mother of their five children, 60 years after their "divorce" — rather than using gender identity questions and a sex change operation as an excuse not to be a great dad.

** Just like they say in the playground, real father's rule and fool's drool. **

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Are you jealous of (or perhaps astounded by) the success of Kevin Federline? K-Fed, failed rapper, dancer and insurance spokesperson and father of four with two women (one of whom he didn't marry and who he left for the other, a blonde-haired deep purse) has been named father of the year for the second time in six months.

FoY! Twice! And the "honor" comes with a night out without his kids as the celebrity draw (male whore) at a Las Vegas club. His previous honor, from Details magazine, was as co-FoY. He shared the honor with Larry Birkhead (court-decided popi of Danielynn). Both are fathers with dysfunctional women (Britney Spears and the late Anna Nicole Smith) who happen to have been loaded — monetarily speaking only, of course.

If that should happen to be the primary achievement necessary for FoY status, then let us now propose former tennis great John McEnroe as a contender when the next "annual" award is made in a few months. He, after all, is dad of six (one adopted), three of whom were with the just arrested (because of her dog) Tatum O'Neal.

Of course, if you happen to believe that maybe deserving FoY status should be for more than being married to a crazy woman (or crack addict), then consider a contest that rewards the honoree with a trip to New Orleans. The Meridian (Miss.) Star just wants your essay for their Father of the Year award. Winners and runners-up all get fabulous prizes. So,

If you want to nominate your dad, just write a letter to The Meridian Star, saying in, 150 words or less, what makes your dad the best. Include a photo, and send your letter by e-mail to or by mail to:

Father of the Year
c/o the Meridian Star
P.O. Box 1591
Meridian, MS 39301

People of all ages can send in nominations, the only requirement is that you have a great dad.
** Who knows, maybe K-Fed will threepeat in less than a year? After all, a crazy mom can go a long way in making the father look fab. **

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Faith of My Fathers ... Indeed

Like father, like child.

Like son. Carl and son Rob Reiner are preparing to be fĂȘted by LA's Film Society with a joint 2008 Achievement in Film Award. Carl, is at least much funnier publicly — having been a genius behind the Dick Van Dyke Show and partner with Melvin Kaminsky; Rob, much more involved with movies such as "This Is Spinal Tap," "When Harry Met Sally" and "The Bucket List."

Like daughter.
Jim Beal, 43, and daughter Rachel, 18, are both members of the Lisbon Falls (Me.) Fire Company. He's a 10-year vet, she a volunteer since age 14, who couldn't wait until she could join and now plans to make it a career.

Like president? Admiral John Sidney McCain II, the senior military official in the Pacific region from 1968-72, believed the U.S. "lost" the fighting in Vietnam by not staying long enough and fighting hard enough. Among the many other similarities, Senator, Son and author "Faith of My Fathers" JSM III is committed to pursuing his father's Vietnam experience (?)/policy (?) in Iraq should he be elected Commander-in-Chief. [Earlier: War Daddy]

** Always more than just a chip off the old block(head). **

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tuned In

Music can bond father and son, be either a footnote or the only link in a dad-daughter relationship or manage to memorialize a bit of family dysfunction.

Shooter (son of Waylon) Jennings, quietly boasts, "I'm not trying to mimic or even do anything like my father but I'm not scared to play his songs." He seems pretty comfortable living in the shadow of "an outlaw," leaving it to critics to draw the comparisons that could mess up his life, "He was the best at what he did, and I'm trying to be the best at what I do."

Also seemingly comfortable living in a musical shadow is Nancy Sinatra, daughter of legendary Francis Albert. When her first marriage went south, the papa she sorta knew advised head north with music. And that was the path to some pretty fair celebrity, though nothing like Ol' Blue Eyes'.

Not quite living in the penumbra, but just peering through it is Bobbie Jett Williams, out-of-marriage daughter of legendary Hank Sr., a man who mixed a heavenly voice with a hellish collection of personal demons. Jett, born five days after Williams' passing after 29 earth years, claims she only knows that man through his music.

And speaking of country music and dysfunctional families (and, really, who doesn't), a song waiting to be written is surely the sage of the New Jersey 1-year-old who allegedly slopped Tylenol PM into daddy's tea to encourage somnambulatorianism. With her father asleep, she could go escape the house to play with her friends. Except it didn't quite work out that way.

** When and why do the lullabies stop? **

Sunday, June 1, 2008


Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du
Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, Ba du dop
Ba du bop, Ba du dop
Ba du

How will you tell if the person making those noises (lyrics of MMMBop, if that helps) is the dad or baby. Such is the first thought upon the news flash of the birth of John Ira Shepherd Hanson.

Today's objet d'eBay, a collection of fan crap for the long forgotten — hardly known even then — boy group, Hanson, is part of the second thought upon hearing the new daddy news: the sleep deprivation of having your own child might make you old (along with the other aspects of being a dad), but the stake in the heart of your youth is hearing about others' children.

In this case, new dad Zac, was also the baby of boy group Hanson — who knew they were still even touring (?) and, no, apparently not a lot of imagination in the Hanson family when it comes to band names.

So, does the news that the baby of a boy band had a baby depress you? Or has the senior memory thing already kicked in so that you can't even remember that you barely knew any part of this to begin with?

** Perhaps the only good news to take away is that now that he's had a kid, Zac is the same age as every other dad: OLD! **