Thursday, July 31, 2008

Down by the Riverside

You can't step twice into the same river, because other waters keep flowing is the "weeping philospher" Heraclitus wisdom that has wended its way through the ages. (H is also sire of the saying that "War is the father of all things..." so you can tell he was a fun guy to chill with.)

And what is true for one is also true for two: father and child. Still, there is a natural interest in following in one's father's sandalprints. So, we note today that Amber Martin — after being clear that dad wouldn't compete — is running for the city council spot once held by her dad Harry. In an intriguing bit of campaign rhetoric, she does note her low income as possibly appealing to voters at the same time her campaign bio mentions that she works for her dad. Something about the river seems a bit murky but it's not so easy to pinpoint it exactly.

Nor is it clear whether young Myco Coker thought he was honoring or disgracing papa C when he took the latter's wheels out for a bit of a gambol. MC claimed to be helping out with local traffic in his fancy ride — by pretending to be a deputy sheriff &mash; but the fact that he was pretending to be his dad, an actual deputy sheriff seems to have had little positive affect on the the judge who has grounded him for the foreseeable future.

Honor, disgrace and anger are also ingredients the recipe Sheryll Cashin proffers in The Agitator's Daughter, her look at the river in which her dad fished: "As a teenager, I seethed with anger about [my father's] priorities. As I approached middle age and Dad approached his 80s, I simply wanted to understand the origins of his altruism and share my journey in a book that might motivate others."

As she describes it, she inherited his passion, but as with every child, it did not come to her in the exact same "blind" form and has taken her to a different river.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Term Limits?

Once again we ask what is in a name.

Men take care of children and sometimes don't even go to an office when they do it? Nor is this a new concept. For example, where was Noah and what was he doing? The mythical lone farmer out on the prairie works on farm, just like the farmers wife, which I don't think meant nobody took care of the children?

But the "stay-at-home dad" descriptor still makes for a headline and "news" as in the story of Hamilton, New Zealand, papi Evan Mayo, who left his job to take care of his new son. Now, he started architecting out of his home ... and its news ... and he's better at constructing buildings for having slapped a nappy on a wriggling kid.

The moniker is even used to humorous effect in telling the story of Robert Hackett, a SAHD forced to leave off taking care of his children because of his wife's parking tickets.

And, to be honest, the SAHD label is used more and more, but it's not always clear what it means. For example, can a gambler really be a SAHD?

Maybe the news is that we're just at that point in history where everything is location, location, location ... and children. So, if you don't work out of an office and you have kids, you're now a SAHD. Who knew?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Composing Bonds

Fathers use music to lead their children in a variety of directions.

For example, George von Trapp corralled his brood into a singing septet and escaped an increasingly threatening Nazi Germany, a family tale eventually immortalized as The Sound of Music. How far did he take his family? It is only now that his 94-year-old daughter will return to the family home.

And Lee Ferrell took the pressure from performing off son Will, helping to lead him from sportscasting to sophomoric movie stardom. According to the son and Step Brothers co-star, his father's wisdom was something like, " 'if it was only about your talent, I wouldn't worry about you. But it's all about luck.' When he said that, it kind of took the pressure off of succeeding at something like that and demystified it."

Another Lee, Bill Lee, had a different vision of how his music would play out for his kids: "
“I always tried to inspire creativity in my children ... I wanted them to do what they wanted with their lives." Which seemed to work out for son Spike, whose movies often feature his father's compositions.

Of course music doesn't only only build paths for the famous. It can be a connector from the first days of life as it is for Jeremy and baby Jonah Eichler. Or it can be a spiritual path for a daughter to understand her father, as Annegret Schmidt did upon hearing the compositions of her father, who she lost when she was five.

For all, whether alive, dead, famous or anonymous, music offers a way beyond words for fathers to move their children.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Money often provides a twist to the path of a fathers footsteps.

The Australian "Mister Sin," Abe Saffron, purveyed much that was illicit into a relatively noisy fortune. He did bring son (currently talent agent) Alan into the business a bit, but also kept much from him. Some of what he kept from him — in the form of money from the estate — might have played a role in the son writing a tell-all memoir of the pain his father put him through.

Richard Branson, also known for the decibels of news his fortune lets him create, has laid a very different foot path for daughter Holly. And when she was waylaid by medicine from following him, he began a new medically-related venture to seduce her into the family biz. No doubt the Virgin family business will soon have something environmentally induced to make sure son Sam stays within the fold.

While Saffron and Branson used fortunes to encourage their kids, Richard Garriott created a fortune to spend on following his father's trail. Garriott, son of skylab astronaut Owen Garriott, was told by NASA docs that he didn't have the vision to lives his dreams in space.

But it turned out he did have enough vision to a series of electronic and online games that built him a fortune. And the vision that created games millions want(ed) to play now means that he can spend $30 million to book 10-days of space travel on a Russian space station.

Money may serve as stepping stones along a father's path, but the stones are laid in different places at every turn.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Read It, Don't Weep

A child's love in the heart and memories in the head are so much stronger and nuanced than whatever s/he may put into words.

Surely, Doro loves daddy much. But the testimony of daughter to Bush 41 and sister to Bush 43 that is found in this week's objet d'eBay, an autographed never read first edition of My Father, My President, probably pales next to her actual feelings.

While this book seems to have quickly headed to pulp mills without leaving much of a trace — it was published less than two years ago — a father-loving blog has the opportunity for a much longer life. Even so, words of another politician's daughter, these found in McCainBloggette, Meghan's McCain's campaign paean to daddy John, also suggests more than demonstrates her deep feelings for her father ... and surely it is just coincidence that she is feeling the blues in her most recent post (July 23).

Maybe the point is that no matter what is written, the act of writing is the tribute and enough in and of itself. The actual love of a dad is found by what is read into the words. And so, while Tina Maat and Corrie Schuurman have pen palled with each other for 45 years, writing about their own lives, the passion for sharing their lives with someone they would only come to know is a monument to their fathers — the two holocaust survivors who first encouraged them to communicate.

And that is something that can't be auctioned off.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Drunk and Lyrical

Fathers have often found poetry in alcohol. So,

A fortunate young man of Bray
Enjoyed his Irish too much on one day
But the judge set free
The father-to-be
Insisting he not again stray.


There once was a father and son
Who thought making bombs and drink fun
When the Feds came looking for drugs
The two met the officers with shrugs
But their neighbors knew a crime had been done.


A father and child took to drink
Alas, they first did not think
A sotted underage son
Even one having fun
Is a crime when police smell the stink.

Unfortunately, while it may make them more interested in a gambolic verse or two, fathers (or anyone) rarely find good poetry at the bottom of a bottle.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Created Fathers

Saving a father from debilitating illness is a great trope for art. Not that great art necessarily makes life easier.

In Undertown, Jim Pascoe's manga of Sama's search for the Sugar Stone that is his father's only chance for salvation, an entire dark imaginary universe is lit with hope. (Vol. 1 is out; V.2 is due in Nov. '08.)

And Phillip Toledano's tribute to his "Days with My Father," thirty-five images and text of his father's journey into Alzheimer's, is an extraordinary creation of joy and even sadness stolen from encroaching death. Physically, Toledano's father can't be saved, but something about his spirit and the connection between father and son has been built to last for an eternity.

Alas, art may inspire life, but, unfortunately, it can't fix it. Sama will no doubt find the cure for his father many, many volumes from now, it will be a fictional fix. And, no matter how wondrously Toledano has saved his father's image and spirit from death, the shadow over his art is that he (and now we) will lose him to memory.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Sometimes children blur vision. As a result, father's might not see the line they are about to cross.

So, maybe a judge really should cut Jude Sherlock some slack during sentencing. Father Sherlock claims that when he was arrested for trying to unload €10,000 of marijuana, he was just trying to raise the deposit for an apartment so he could regain custody of his daughter. This time he really was doing it for a good reason, unlike the 14 previous times he was nicked for drug offenses, plus the drunk and disorderly citations.

Another man confused by sentencing is Demetri Korzh, whose 8-year-old daughter Anastasiya, was disqualified for wearing an earpiece. An earpiece that happened to allow her father to help her out during a tennis tournament. He says that while he had taught her to play tennis, he hadn't taught her to keep score so well and so the other girls were cheating her. Tournament officials disqualified her, even though he had already taken it off and was adamant that his being able to talk with her was actually a disadvantage (something about offputting her coordination).

And like Korzh, David Farnham was only thinking of his son, 2-year-old Justin, when he kept the windows closed in the parked car where his son was (unfortunately) "crying and sweating" outside the theater where he was taking in the midnight show of "The Dark Knight." He was probably Ferberizing a child who really should have been sleep — who would take a todder to watch a midnight movie instead of letting them sleep — and Farnham wanted to make sure his son was stolen.

It was just another case of love, sort of like the interest a 69-year-old father took in his son's girlfriend. Realizing she wouldn't be true to his son, the father started dating her. Unfortunately, the evidence daddy dearest presented didn't convince his son of how he should dump his girlfriend. Instead, it resulted in son kidnapping dad and leading police on a 60-mile, high speed chase.

Maybe when young Andrew calms down — now that he's in police custody — he'll realize that his father, like the others above, was really (maybe? sorta? possibly? hopefully?) blinded by paternal affection when he stepped over the lines of normal decorum and won't simply write the old man off as someone deliberately looking the other way.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fathers Time

Hope and sadness are mixed in the news that 60-something Lonesome George may finally father.

The most famous of the dwindling supply of Galapagos tortoises has lived his bachelor days in relative peace and without sowing any wild or even tame oats — as far as anyone could tell for thirty, forty years. But now he has mated twice. And there are babies. Lonesome no more.

In a similar situation is Nanu Ram Jogi, who shortly will be celebrating the one-year birthday of his youngest, a daughter. It is his 21st child and presumably (?) last as the nonagenarian is getting up there. Of course there is no way to rule out his going after the record of Australian miner Les Colley, who offsprung at 92. Jogi takes his responsibilities as a dad very seriously: "I go hunting most days and eat whatever I catch. Lots of food is my secret to staying healthy. I will survive another few decades to take care of these kids!"

Could George and Jogi one day find themselves in the same "daddy and me" class?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

More than Reading, Riting and Rithmetic

Just a quick for those potential businessmen and woman out there who are down on their luck in these economic times and are thinking of marketing fatherhood. ("Why?" you ask. I don't know, ask them.)

It could be a trend, but it also seems like an turnoff for a large part of the audience to make prepping for daddydom like having to go to school. But the school metaphors do seem to rule these days as Duncansville (Pa.) pop Matt Good enrolled in a four-week "Doctor Dad" course — at least he'll get an advanced degree.

Also along school lines, Chicago dad Harlan Cohen has just released a sort of Sparks Notes version for those studying up on fatherhood. His new book, Dad's Pregnant Tool, pulls on his experience as the father of a newborn son and that of a few others to push out an overview of other people's experiences that (hopefully) will be of use to student daddies.

And, finally, it is not as if the learning ever stops as veteran dad Tony Hicks offers with his melancholy paean to how he has to "relearn" everything, now that he's got a six-week old daughter.

Alas, that's dad, the perpetual student.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Abridged Version

Imagine there was a book given to fathers on the birth of their child that explained everything they'd need to know. Now there is such a book, at least in New Zealand.

But it doesn't quite explain everything. Mostly it's feel good stories and surface explanations of what to expect. Fathering goes a bit deeper. With birth can come re-birth, the blessing for each dad of the possibility of a do-over.

Some things still have to start in a dad's own head or heart. Such as why you need to be dragging yourself out of drug addiction to take care of twin daughters or why now is the time to learn to read so as to be a better role model for your son.

When do we get the book that explains all that?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Money Matters

Would it be easy or hard to spend currency on which your father was honored?

Few people have to face the dilemma of whether or not to put their smudgy digits over daddy's face, but it is not likely to be much of a concern for a daughter "blessed" with that opportunity. Aung San, pictured on the (ironically) uncirculated 1958 Burmese one-Kyat note that is this week's Objet d'eBay, is honored as a key in the delivery of his country from British rule.

His daughter, (Myanmar) opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has little chance to spend her dad's face. She has been under house arrest for the last five years and 12 of the last 18. She was not even allowed to attend the annual Martyrs' Day commemorations of her father and others slain while leading along the path toward peace and democracy.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ready or Not

Life sticks dads into odd juxtapositions. So, today, we take a quick look at a father who's a "Kid," a "good" dad going wrong and a dad whose surprise child gave him both love and business.

"Children can balance you out sometimes," claims single father Robert James Richie (better known by his musical moniker, "Kid Rock"). Based on what he reveals and what gossip sites celebrate, it appears that "sometimes" in no way means balance much, much less most of the times.

And while it's nice to have testimony from a girlfriend that "He's a really, really good dad. He is..." it's probably best when that opinion isn't being offered in defense of a dad who, two blocks from where he began, passes out drunk (on his way to pick up some cigs) with his kids in the backseat.

Drunk and backseat in the same sentence usually conjurs up thoughts of other risky behavior and that is where Zac Mazzotta comes in. While an unmarried 23-year-old racer, he lived a life that gave him a young daughter. And, while he loves her very much, he also now has a new biz, bringing some marketing magic to a new baby (and disease) preventer, Bravo condoms.

Mazotta admits he wasn't ready to be a father, but when baby came he daddied up, ironically helping others to delay the very love he now couldn't live without.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Man or Mouse?

Recent news (not really news, more like notice) has popped up that genes have taken a slight lead in the race between heredity and environment for is more important in shaping kids.

Not that it would matter if the question were to be eternally decided — dads can be blamed or credited no matter which is primary. But if environment meant nothing while heredity turned out to be all that, fathers could pretty much head to the couch with a beer to punch in a football game after the sperming was done.

Which would be ironic in light of the recent study that suggests couch potato mice are more likely to have couch potato offspring. More likely, as in they might also have couch ottoman mice or a footballer like Joe Montana might father a future quarterback — but this not being an exact science, so might skater Wayne Gretzsky. And, oddly enough (and a monkey wrench in the process of figuring out evolution), the young Montana and Gretzsky are joined on the same high school football team by the son of actor Will Smith.

Maybe it's the sport? NASCAR dads seem to be pretty consistent at breeding just NASCAR kids. Or, maybe it's just that we haven't yet solved the mystery of the argumetn and we're not yet ready to write off a father's influence on a kid through either heredity or environment?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sporting Gents

Since flexibility is a requirement for dadding, perhaps there should be something like "stretching" exercises required before someone becomes a father?

There are different theories about limbering up but it's generally recommended before participating in a physical activity. And given how flexible dads need to be, particularly when sports are invovled, there really should be something in the preparation to address it.

Not that a dad's physical activity can't include finding motivation from his child. Consider Olympic hopeful Deontay Wilder, who wouldn't be thinking of himself as a future world heavyweight champion if it weren't for daughter Naieya. She has suffered since birth with spina bifida and the 19-year-old papa had to change plans. He dropped out of school, put aside his dreams of NBA or NFL glory, got two jobs and began fighting for two lives.

Changing plans (with a dash of Olympic spicing) also became a touchstone for Noel Jones. The California sports fan was a bit late coming to the daddy party — at 51, with his 44-year-old wife. Obviously, having a child changed his life. But, almost more importantly, it also changed his sports preferences: now he watches synchronized swimming. And watches. And watches. And even appreciates its subtleties (?) as his daughter prepares to head off to Beijing.

And while it is more usual for kids to have to pick up and go because dads have found reemployment, in the case of Alpine Canada CEO Ken Read, his son's success cost him his job. Erik, 17, is too good a skier ... and the rules are that nobody in management can be making decisions that can affect their own, highly accomplished child.

But it will be no problem for him to be flexible and get a new job. After all, he's a dad, which means he has to stretch himself in new ways and to new places on behalf of his kids.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

On the One Hand, On the Other ...

Goodnews-badnews for Bob (cat, father of Tasha and Taylor) Goldthwaite.

His heart has no doubt taken wings with the news that his projected indie film, "The World's Greatest Dad," has inked stars Alexie Gilmore and Robin Williams. But his bowels are likely clenched and grinding their teeth (so to speak) with the USA Today report that a doofus wearing a t-shirt-proclaimed "world's greatest dad" was arrested for keeping an appointment with a "14-year-old" he met on the internet and with whom he planned sexual escapades.

Maybe the soundtrack for the movie could be courtesy of the son of the most enigmatic dad as Jakob Dylan (a father of four of Grandfather Bob's grandboys) has recently issued Seeing Things. Not only is it a vision of what the son of (perhaps) the world's most famous dad sees, it is also a statement about the bizarre world that must have existed in the head of the "alleged" WGD.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy Pappy

What makes a dad really content?

Could it be some father-son bonding at fight night in Scranton, Penna.? Finding "balance" in Florida? Yammering on about intimate issues in front of tens, hundreds, thousands ... more ... as part of the "million man march" (bloggers are talking to you Sen. O)?

Maybe it is being a part of "take your father to work day"? Probably not, if you are actually there to rob the place ... and your daughter claims she didn't know you'd be dropping by.

Or, maybe it is just the birth of kids, more kids. That's what made Brad Pitt claim he was the "happiest father ever." Although being rich, famous, relatively untroubled by life, happy in work and married to Angelina Jolie probably don't harm the happiness quotient.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Succession without Happiness

A blah, blah, yadda, blather report comes (surprisingly) from the BBC News to the effect that more and more fathers wouldn't recommend their children follow their business footsteps.

But they should.

If for no other reason than to give the public more office tower and courtroom dramadies. Perhaps CNBC could finally buck up its ratings with a "reality show" starring The Redstones. "Tune in next week" for the next mindbending episode of a mercurial, undying father vs. determined and very much estranged daughter. Or would you rather come home to a Tivoed The Murdochs, where an old cuss visionary father plays real-life King Lear, shuffling and re-shuffling the children's portfolio until, eventually, they begin to overcome his position. [Earlier: Plenty Peso Papi]

Not that every dramatic family has to end unhappily. Consider the Stewarts, father Patrick worked so often and hard that son Daniel had it imprinted on him that he had to keep quiet growing up because dad was always learning his lines.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Religious Father

Fathers aren't always fathers. For example, religiously designated or founding fathers don't necessarily have wise words for children, specifically their own.

The convolution of thought is sparked by this week's Objet d'eBay, a two-record set featuring Jesuit Priest Filas explaining his views on sex to parents for them to pass along to children. For WD purposes and perhaps nobody else's, it would be kindakewl if Daddy Yankee (not one of whose three kids is a bit Yankee-ish) would sample the SEoC. It seems unlikely.

But just being a religious doesn't rule out knowing something about children. Among those to listen to are "Father Dad," the Reverend Frank Wallner, who has become the official adoptive dad to a child a parishioner couldn't handle on her own. Church rules say he has to leave his current parish in Kingston, N.Y., when he retires in a few years. Which means he might become your neighbor and you'll get a chance to learn from him ... assuming he doesn't cut a CD or get hooked up with a podcast broadcaster. Rock it, Father Dad.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fighting Words

Most children never have to struggle to claim their father's verbal legacy.

After all, who would want to steal someone else's father's phraseology? Certainly his family are admirers but not to-the-death defenders of Daddy Ott's language contributions such as, Did they suck your brains out at school; Park away from other cars; and Don't buy it unless you need it, then don't buy it.

And at least part of the love Diana Sholley has for her late father is revealed with her remembrance of his warnings such as Empty barrels make the most noise; Take it easy, greazy, you got a long way to slide; and Everybody wants to hug the bear, but nobody likes it when the bear hugs back. She even seems to admire his way out of sharing some spending money with her when she was growing up: My name is crime and crime don't pay.

But Elisabeth Sifton, daughter of Reinhold Niebuhr, one of America's most influential theologians, finds herself in a media maelstrom. The fight is over her father's authorship of the words of comfort and hope beginning, "God Grant Me the ..." A Yale librarian claims he "misspoke." Sifton, author of The Serenity Prayer, — a tale of her father's life, work and current influence that begins with the idea that his words are often misattributed to others — has been forced to take up arms (or maybe just pen ... or keyboard) in defense of her dad.

Apparently, a dad's word may be law, but his jurisdiction is questionable

Friday, July 11, 2008

Dads spark stories. Novels. Movies, even.

Unfortunately, not all are interesting to a wide swath of folk and so, for those in a particular niche, it is worth noting that Art Rooney — the man behind the Pittsburgh Steelers — has been memoirized by his son in a "nonfiction novel."

Gaining a bit more traction is Craig Glazer's The King of Sting, a story mostly about how extraordinary the author is as he turns from ripped off, drug-dealing frat boy into avenger of justice and personal enricher. But it is also a story that's told in a way suggesting none of it would never have come about if his dad hadn't been such a prick while he was growing up — not that they don't love each other dearly now...

Not that their love (?) even in its slightly fictionalized form it measures up to what is on display in Rachel Dooley's, Pig Candy, the memoir of trying to save her dad's life while learning all about the man "... [who's] cruel and baiting and grudge-holding and bitter and broken, broken, broken. I love parts of him. I hate parts of him. I forgive much of him, who he is and what he's done. And no matter how hard I try, I can't get past wanting him to turn on me a gaze of absolute, unfettered love."

Physics Professor Ronald Mallett, whose story will be coming to the multiplex thanks to the efforts of Spike Lee, is another who tried to save a dad's life — and does rescue it through his Time Traveler — through his own life and work. His work brings honor to the father he lost at age 10, while his work includes a theory of time travel that maybe, maybe, possibly, maybe would allow the more knowledgeable son to return in time with the medical info his father needed to live longer.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Less Fearsome

It's hard to make the case that fathers are completely powerless. But New Yorker writer Ian Frazier makes an interesting point about how times have changed when talking with Downtown (Manhattan) Express:

“Fathers are a joke now, and they didn’t used to be,” said Mr. Frazier. “There aren’t very many grown-ups in the United States. Most people in authority are just grown kids. Look at Bush.” In reference to the Bible, he noted, “Look at God. Back in the day, there were stern fathers who were afraid of God. Now fathers are powerless, and people aren’t afraid of God anymore.”
It's also hard — at least at first glance — to make the case that Senator Obama is a DODO, but Wisconsin Badger dad Greg Gerber killed some pixels with a press release looking for some publicity for his Dads of Daughters Only site so in the interest of dodo solidarity it may be worth noting that Obama is.

Although, he is certainly a dodo (as in "dumb obviously, dumb obviously") like the Reverend Jesse Jackson,who seems upset that his son, Chicago Congressman Jesse Jackson is more relevant to everyone except Fox News. The father is not a part of Senator Obama's inner circle and clearly is hurt by it and occasionally — as in his I'd-like-to-cut-his-nuts-off comment — lashes out for the attention he is missing.

No father is powerless, but, over time, as the younger suggests, they do lose a bit of their fearsomeness. Regarding the reverend's mouth, the congressman said, "Reverend Jackson is my dad, and I'll always love him . . . [but] I thoroughly reject and repudiate his ugly rhetoric. He should keep hope alive and any personal attacks and insults to himself."

Times do change.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


In the current Essence, songhawk Usher unveils his son and offers some non-lyrical thoughts on being a father:

“I think I’m learning how selfish I really can be as an individual. Man, before you just get up and go everyday and you work people to oblivion —- and I do. But when you have a child, it’s like, ‘Wow! All of this time now goes towards making sure that one, he has the milk that he needs. He’s being burped properly. Diapers are being changed —- and Lord knows he has let me have it! I am changing diapers!”
Previously, he offered an apology for his dad — who died in January, but had walked out when Usher was two, with no reconciliation until about two years ago — among his lyrics to Anything.

Since, he, like many artists, overtly incorporates his world into his work, it shouldn't be too long before such an opinions on being a dad manifests itself into raps. Similarly, expect to hear from Aussie countryman Keith Urban soon about life with his young'un, Sunday Rose. He, too, fits chords to his life ... and previously hit gold with his (Song for) Dad:

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Money and Thrill Seeking

To what kind of danger should you expose your child(ren)?

And how much should the goals excuse the jeopardy?

Consider U.S. Army recruits, father and son Gary J. and Joseph M. Rankins. Father G couldn't find a job so the 40-year-old re-upped after a bunch of years and then decided "he wanted to spend more time with his son, 19 ," who was now living with the divorced wife/mother and was only bored with his lot in life.

Similarly, money for college was the motivation for 18-year-old Gabrielle Alejandrino to take up a gun. And after considering how highly he esteemed her thought process, her father Mario joined with his only daughter in preparing to possibly be shipped into some hot zones. As dad explains of their coming new life: ""A new life is ahead of us. Luckily, we're doing it together."

Not money-motivated, but certainly with the sense of sharing excitement, Lewis Coleman gave his son a cigarette. And thus he was busted for child endangerment, even though he claimed he just didn't want his kid playing with a lighter when setting off celebratory fireworks.

Money. Thrills. Danger. Just some of the ingredients of daddy stew ladled out to kids.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Do You Know Who It's Going to Be?

Is it more exciting for a kid to face questions of who your father is, who daddy will be or who dad was?

"Was" sounds the least interesting, the most passive, and that appears to be what needed to be covered up by glitz, star turns, spandex and glitter in "Mamma Mia", readied to open worldwide. [Earlier: Acting Dad] MM is promoted as the story of a mother and daughter coming together, but they are coming together and the dramatic tension (such as it is turns) over the question of whether Moe, Larry or Curly (so to speak) are father of the bride-to-be.

More interesting is the question of who your daddy is. Particularly interesting is the question you get when you know who he is but the question adds a bit of glamor to the public's desire to learn who you are. Such is the case of Welsh wailer Duffy, whose debut album Rockferry is named for the hometown of her biological dad, has to face question and rumor after supposition that she is really the illegitimate child of iconic crooner Tom Jones or (Sir) Thomas John Woodward to his dad.

But perhaps the most interesting — certainly the most historic — question is who three girls daddies will be. 'Cause who their dad will be and where they take them will determines their future. Malia and Natasha or Bridget — the first two progeny of Barack Obama and the third the 16-year-old, youngest child of John McCain — will live in the White House ... and that could make all the difference in their lives.

So, as a dad gets defined, his children get answers.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tea Time

"I'm a little tea cup, short and stout ..."

No, that's not it, although that is this week's objet d'eBay, an oversized cup honoring the idea of the father, if not exactly any father in particular. But we certainly should find an honor for a specific dad ...

Oh, wait, I remember, "I'm a little teapot short and stout ..."

And so a Welsh dad is. Ian Lowndes has become the container for his son Jon's daily cuppa. To keep his dad close to him in death and their tea time together forefront in his memory, the 54-year-old father of two had his dad's ashes mixed into the clay that has become his daily, tea time companion.

I wonder what Jon's offspring might have in mind for him.

(Probably unnecessary to add, but hat man/teapot is not Ian.)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Wither the Cocoon

When a father looks at his newborn swaddled tightly in hospital blankets he sees the butterfly to be freed from the cocoon. Unfortunately, sometimes he forgets that the cocoon has to come off, so there might be a bit of overprotectiveness that needs to be curbed.

So, for example, locking your kids in a cage in the back of your pickup will keep them safe from others, but some of those others may begin proceedings to keep them from you. Not having a babysitter (BTW) is not an acceptable excuse.

And denying your child because of your experience can backfire. First, if the desire is strong enough, s/he might start to sneak behind your back to play baseball, for example. And gauge that desire carefully, because even making it harder and setting conditions can backfire when your child rises to the challenge — or you may end up with a pro ... unless that is what you secretly want.

Finally, at some point you are likely to have to face the pressures from outside to break through your cocoon. So, father Dung Doan, who tracked his son down when he stayed out late — at age 25 — has eventually had to (sort of) give in to American societal pressures while trying to raise his sons with traditional Vietnamese father-knows-bestness. In fact, his sons have to change their child-is-always-smarterier ways and accept and appreciate that a father is a river that never stops giving.


Friday, July 4, 2008


In a Q&A about his own life/work as well as his father's, Christopher Rauschenberg said of his father — pop-conceptualist Robert: "Kids think their parents are the best. The best plumber or whatever. They grow up, and it isn't true. I grew up, and it's still true."

It is a wonderful thought and legacy that a father leaves a son. Will the yet-to-be-named baby girl of Thomas Beatie the transgendered pregnant dad [Earlier: Daddy Mommy] be just as pleased with the notoriety she'll face throughout her life thanks to her pop. One hopes. But it is also impossible to imagine how often she will face controversy, after all just having her father pictured pregnant means that traditional media outlets are breaking from their usual conservatism and showing the naked breasts of a mother (?).

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Root of All Something

Money is not necessarily the root of all evil.

In fact, money is the reason hunks of Australian gay fathers will bring up American (at least partly) children. Apparently, since the U.S. allows surrogate moms to rent our the wombs of their own, there's some commerce that is encouraged and conducted statesside that others countries frown upon.

And money is a tie entwined with love as Dads and offspring pull together in Arizona family businesses.

But anger over money issues is certainly the creator of the rift between the Herscus, an Aussie father and son who are slugging it out in a Los Angeles court, legally speaking. Emotionally speaking they are ambushing each other around the world.

And, at least as Oliver Stone imagines it in the forthcoming "W," money success was the mercury in the respect thermometer used by father George Bush when he took the current president's "temperature."

Even the simplest father-child financial exchange, allowance, is fraught with trouble. There's the "allow," of course and then there is the "ance," the unknown that either the adult or siring uses to surprise and challenge the other.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Ben Karlin, author of Things I've Learned from Women Who've Dumped Me, offered the perfect answer to the New York Press in response to being asked about his expectations of becoming a dad:

I’m not going to say it was never the plan, but I never had a strong picture of myself as an adult, and I still have a hard time seeing myself as an adult, but apparently I am one, because I have insurance.
Presumably, he is joined by Tony Hawk — the skateboarding coolest dude on earth — who has never grown up and yet, presumably almost in spite of himself, has become now a father of four, with his daughter Kadence Clover, joining the clan of his older brothers (with a previous wife) Riley, Spencer and Keegan.

Surely, at some point both the humorist Karlin and well known "lost boy" Hawk can expect changes to their life since they're fathers. No doubt that was the expectation of father-of-five Terry Wright as well, although it seems unlikely he or anybody expected his changes as a dad to include turning into a woman against his will.

But even Wright's change pales (sort of) beside the change of Argentinian Raul Prudencio PiƱel, who (it is alleged) evolved from sentient human being into his son's dinner.

As one-time gender-bending now father of two David Bowie wrote for every dad, "
Just gonna have to be a different man/Time May Change Me/But I Can't Trace Time...."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Anger in the Family Biz

Every father knows that he can be the target of anger at any moment from his child. Let's just say that the vast majority of the time it isn't deserved. The daughter is hungry; the son is tired; someone else has been mean to them.

Anger doesn't negate love. And so we remain optimistic that disfavored Nepalese crown prince Paras gets over his pique at papa, dethroned king Gyanendra. The ex-king managed to lose a 239 monarchy and cost the son his place in the family business. Now, since junior can't be Nepal's top dog he is threatening to move his personal circus to Singapore — ignoring his father's plea to stay in the homeland — where at least he can be more prominent fodder for Asia's tabloid culture.

Also having some difficulty in the family business and provoking some ire are two of Korea's Lees, the disgraced Samsung leaders Kun-Hee (father) and Jae-Yong (son). J-Y isn't outwardly outraged at K-H, but he wasn't quite showing the big love when he told a court he knew nothing at all about how his father managed to [almost] give him control over Korea's largest company.

So, at any moment Joe DeVoy may be turned on by beloved 13-year-old daughter Olivia. For now, the two work harmoniously on the tower clock of Vanderburgh County's Old Courthouse, but beware Joe. Like any teen, Olivia may at any moment upset the love that flows like clockwork between father and child.