Sunday, August 31, 2008

Confusion Say

Most kids have the experience to claim, as does Bill Cosby on this week's objet d'eBay, the LP "My Father Confused Me."

Although through his television show and books Cosby has come to be thought of as everydad, at one point his material included much more about being a son. While the reviews for this particular 1977 release suggest this may not have been Cosby at his best, it might still be worth considering both for what the comedian did with the material he had as well as for the idea of what he could have done if only his dad had become a woman and then married another ex-dad who had also become a woman.

Now that would truly be a dad who confused.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Wild or Too Mild?

For all the good that fathers do, it is still the dads gone wild who often make the headline.

So, once again we have Michael Lohan, father of "Mean Girl" Lindsay, making gossip mag noise for being a "public embarrassment" and "bully" because he is not making nice about her girlfriend. Not that being nice about a girl friend is an obvious route to popularity ... but maybe it depends upon the circumstances as an unnamed Ocala, Fla., father is being hosted by the local cops for getting his son a girlfriend. Now it happened to be a one-time girlfriend, and his 15-year-old son wasn't happy to be set up with a hooker by his dad, but it was really the mom, who ratted pops out, who seemed the most upset with the father bullying his son.

Perhaps it's all part of the daddy-do-this conundrum. Too much hands on and interference and you're blamed like the dads above. Too little, like the billionaires just passing on money to their richie rich daughters and you're blamed. And while completely walking out on your son like father Obamaa did to follow his own ambitions may eventually be part of what makes the son a hero, it certainly doesn't seem that the complete hands-off approach is the way to go either ... even if by hands-off you really mean shoot a man over $2 as did Freddie Edwards and miss the chance to sit in the stands to watch your son (Armanti) become a possible Heisman hero.

Once again the message is to search for the middle. Daddies gone wild or too mild may make for good stories, but it doesn't necessarily make for good parenting.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Every Breath You Take

Chillax, daddy-o.

There are times — Thing 2 has a fit about not getting to buy a pair of shoes ... Thing 1 can't believe that at her age she has any bed time at all — that it is best to take a breath and spend that breath evaluating one's limitations.

As the breath is expelled, use the air to dun the child.

In other words, actor George Clooney may not be a dad, but he did have one. And from Prof. Nick he learned that it takes certain super powers to raise a child. Info that Clooney internalized enough to know that at this point in his life he doesn't have the patience or dedication to be a father.

But if you are a father and your child decides to take you for a ride, there is now a daddy cabby meter that lets you bill your child for the cost of their behavior and its inconvenience or other drain on you.

Because, the last thing you want to have happen is to get so upset that you have your kid clock you (since you should never pop your kid), like 39-year-old baby Arnelle just did to daddy OJ Simpson, 61.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Father and Child of Invention

Invent with Dad. It's safest for everyone that way.

While Glenn Martin — he of the Martin JetPack — was getting a cup of tea, he almost burned his house down. As a teen, he was building a kayak in his electrician father's workshop in the basement and when he left, he left on a welding torch.

He should have been working with pop like Theresa Smith, who only wanted a more convenient spice measurer, but still knew safety first. She called father William, a retired aerospace engineer, and together they incorporated as the home-based Dynamic Designs.

Martin might also have given a wassup shout to the Davies (assuming he had also invented something that would take him into the future). Son Paul talked daddy Brian out of retirement and into joining him in the invention of a machine to help people bio-diesel their car or home heating. The result, nothing yet blown up.

One final warning, it's not just the child you shouldn't leave completely alone. Robert Kearns, father of the intermittent windshield wiper and son Dennis, could not be stayed from his obsession. He invented alone and seemed to live his life solo there as well. And, while it might make for an interesting film — Flash of Genius, starring Greg Kinnear is scheduled to open US-wide Oct. 17 — it doesn't seem to have made for a very happy life.

It's got to be father and child, not one or the other.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Letting the Child Fly, Kick or Even Crawl in Books

Fathers are noteworthy between the pages of some recently released books as inspiration, adoring daddy and co-author.

Making big news is father Mitchell Siegel. According to Brad Meltzer in his new novel, The Book of Lies, Siegel was murdered (by heart attack, although a gun shot was involved) and that led son Jerry to create Superman with friend Joe Shuster. Oddly, Batman becomes who he is when his father is actually shot, but perhaps that's just a coincidental comic tangent.

Trying to make big news is W.D. Wetherell, whose Soccer Dad is the story of how much he cares about his son and soccer, although it may not always be clear in which order his loyalties actually lie. It's the son's last season of high school soccer and while only college looms immediately, a strong overt tie between father and son is about to be broken.

Still building the tie is Steven Oscherwitz, who with his son Max, created a fairy tale of a snake and even managed, as equally credited authors and photographers, to bring to life Gilbert's Adventure, the story of a snake who is forced to leave his natural home and responds by going out and doing good deeds.

Which sounds a lot like what every father wants for every child.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


It's never part of the plan, but there are times when it is up to the child to "reinvigorate" the reputation or image of the father.

In that vein, Jack Osbourne, who actually played a part in making father Ozzy look ridiculous in the MTV "reality series", is undertaking a documentary of dad, the future living legend who also happened to accidentally bite the head off a bat and strangle wife Sharon — who loves him dearly nevertheless. As the to-be-auteur says, "My dad’s not an idiot — he’s nothing short of a genius, in my opinion. He does have huge flaws, and we’re trying to really paint an honest picture of that."

Not quite reaching for a re-imaging, but certainly trying to achieve a resurgence of daddy's fortunes is Isaac Hayes III. His father, the late music visionary who his family believes was shafted by a judge in his 70s bankruptcy proceedings. Young Hayes, promising more of daddy to come for years, told The (London) Times:

My father had a volume of unreleased work that nobody knows about, from the Stax Records days and beyond ... There was often too much material to release at the time, but it's still great music.

There are some good songs, and music that can be remixed, used for soundtracks, samples, ringtones, so many things. And he was working on a new album when he died. People will be hearing Isaac Hayes for many years to come.

And, even when things don't go wrong, a child can refocus a spotlight on dad, as Aruba Red will be doing for 60s bass legend Jack Bruce. AR, born Natascha Eleonoré, is moving from the London club circuit to releasing her own material. Not surprisingly, publicity includes reference to her roots. But as she told a recent profiler, "Dad always said 'people may think that because I'm your dad things will happen automatically', but it will only happen if it's right."

And when it's right for the child, the father gets his rights, too.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Inherit Tense

It would seem correct to say that throughout history there has never been a dad who didn't die; but then you have to admit there are a bunch of dads still roaming the terra firma. While one is probably on safe ground suggesting their mortality, you never know until you do.

So let's consider inheritance. For example, actor Sean Connery has given son Jason a certain amount of genetic talent and name recognition. But how much of his money the father has to leave his son is a current gossip kerfuffle between the real Bond and his ex-wife (as of three-plus decades). Is no money okay?

It wasn't, for example, with 29-year-old Benjamin Holding, a (fellow) Scottish TV exec, who knocked off his 70-year-old dad and picked himself up a nice BMW, as well as a few other toys, before getting nicked and sentenced to life in prison — which turns out to be only 15 years, but that's a whole different post.

On the other hand, not getting the money doesn't seem to be the problem for British chatterer Jenni Murray, who for more than two decades has been going on (and on) about women's issues ... as she sees them. Murray, instead would have been happier whether in life or upon his death getting a dose of her father's love and attention, at least according to a reading of her recently published autobiography, "Memoirs of a Not So Dutiful Daughter." Of course, she does admit she became who she did and good at what she does in large part because of what her father wouldn't share.

Finally, sharing the inheritance doesn't seem to be a problem between Congressman and Senator Kennedys. Son Patrick has never had to worry about the money that spouts copiously from family fortunes and father Ted has never been shy about sharing his thoughts also. Tonight, at the Democratic convention, they are likely to be on screen together often — as backers of the nominee, as reminders of the assassination and promise of their senator uncle/brother Bobby 40 years ago and president uncle/brother Jack 45 years ago.

They will also be featured as a father who passed along a message of service to his son:

My dad would always say when I was growing up, ‘From those to whom much is given, much is expected,’” said Patrick Kennedy. In their family, that meant that when his brother, Edward M. Kennedy Jr., lost a leg to cancer as a young man, their father would cite their access to good medical care as a reason for striving to spread such gifts to the less fortunate.
So, when assuming the father actually will die and wants to consider the right inheritance, it seems the ideal is to show the money, but don't forget to pass the wisdom as well.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Poster Man-Child

Once again this week we will see how history is passed from father to son. Forty years ago Mayor Richard J. Daley — the political poster child for this week's objet d'eBay — may truly have been good for Chicago, but as mayor of the city where the Democratic party held their national convention, his belief in the heavy hand of police reaction to political protest led to riots, variously ascribed to unruly kids and the police. [Earlier: Dad's Derailed Dreams]

This week, son Richard M. Daley, the current Chicago mayor who learned important lessons in political power from dad and may now break his record for length of service, will also be prominent at his party's convention in Denver along with having the ear of party presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Politics, like every business, can be a family business, but is best run when the child learns from the father's wins and losses. Richard J. went from power broker to political goat; son Richard M. has avoided the traps that cost his father, but instead learned how to consolidate power and has gone from local goat when he lost the 1983 mayoral election to national power broker.

Once again, 40 years later, a Daley has his critics, but probably, generally, really is "good for Chicago."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Dumb and Dadder

Admit it, try as you might, there are times you as a father awake to what may generously be called, bad, hair(brained) days.

Hopefully that some people seem to wake that way every day will offer some solace. There is, for example, Michael Lohan, famous for making daughter Lindsay's life worse in small ways every day, who wants to fight Kevin Federline, another media leach pop.

Also seeming to wake up many days on the wrong side of right is the dad who called in a bomb threat to a shrine to the Prophet Mohammed the rest of his family was visiting, because his daughter didn't want to get married to the man he wanted her to and on the day he selected.

Sometimes, of course, the stupidity isn't really of a dad's own making. Consider Albert Speer Jr., son of Hitler's architect, who just like his dad was signed up by a totalitarian regime to provide the architectural vision they project to the world. Welcome to Beijing and an odd place in history Al.

It's been making the rounds for a few months, but if a picture is worth a 1000 words, then the ongoing saga dumb motorcyle dad, unfortunately, speaks for many:

Friday, August 22, 2008

Close, Closer, Close Enough

Inarticulately considered and stated, one of every father's missions in life is to get close enough to his children so they can go away (but come back when he wants or needs them).

But how to do it?

Some dads choose to drag the kids into the family biz. Joe Spano, a failed oiler from Brooklyn, opened a restaurant — not letting his lack of knowledge of how to prepare food get in his way. Joe Jr. appears grateful for the lessons imparted and has even grown up to buy dad's eatery, he still appears somewhat chagrined by what he had to go through, reminding his dad that,"You sure knew how to draw the line between 'son' and 'employee.'"

While the Spanos have a chance to spend a bit of time away, the Kindleys, unfortunately, went into a joint venture that will be forcing them together ... in prison. Father George Hoyt and son Bryan Scott are in the court calendar for trial on six drug-related charges, five of them felonies. It was mostly location, location, location that got their venture in trouble: they decided to sell their cocaine within 1000 feet of a school. Police objected.

If you are going to do something harmful as a dad that will bring you closer to your child, it has to be some sort of noble damage. For example, doing double duty on physical loss, Herb Barber is trying to lose 80 pounds so that he can drop a few ounces — a kidney for his 16-year-old daughter. When all goes well, she will be able to get around, but he'll always be a part of her.

Also, having given a part of himself that keeps them together is Robert DeNiro Sr. The painter brought his son into the arts by passing along an "obsessive focus on perfection." For the father, it means resketching studies and painting over well developed oils; for the son it means gaining or losing enormous weights and digging so deep into characters in preparation for acting roles that he sometimes seemed to getting lost.

But he always wandered back — as we hope all children do — to the path of life and work his father set him upon.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Daddy Defenders

It would be nice one day to overhear Thing 1 or 2 defending their father's name. In theory.

In fact, it would have to be because they were upset that something bad had been said about the sirer ... and that, of course, also reflects on them. So, in defending me, they'd be defending their own honor. But, still, without the circumstances, it would be nice.

So, it is nice and unfortunate at the same time that Roseanne Cash feels it necessary to say father John would not necessarily be endorsing a candidate, just because someone who never knew him said so. And it is a bit odd that Franklin Graham, rather than defend his own anti-Muslim views by saying he was just following in the anti-semitic mutterings of his dad Billy, instead has to say the Reverend Billy was never dressed down by Bob Jones (father of Bob Jones III who is apparently anti-Mormon) as he is in a just-released hagiographic pic..

One occasion where it seems nice, but not a problem, is when the name calling isn't that bad a name. For example, Robert Schlesinger seems almost giddy in reporting on having someone call his father, historian Arthur Schlesinger, a spook and even a technical delinquent in the eyes of his draft board.

Maybe the important thing is that even when it is insulting, at least the bad chatter gets the children thinking about their pop?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Veep Daddies?

It could still be anyone. That is, there are still hours left before Barack Obama and John McCain have to announce who they hope/expect their respective conventions to nominate as candidate for VP. So maybe there's a reason to consider the father angle.

Or maybe, like most other "media" speculation, it's just typed pixels doomed to float forever in the electronic ether making no diff. Still, if you are looking for a story that has political legs — that is, it should make it through a few news (re)cycles — consider that son of Joe, Beau Biden (aka Joseph Robinette Biden III, the Delaware attorney general) could be voting for dad with his National Guard unit in Iraq. That is, if Obama makes the senior senator from Delaware and son of a car salesman his veep.

In addition to the blah, blah about his son following in his footsteps (beware the political poison ivy of Bush-Bush comparisons) the other father angle to be reported on will surely be how Joe Biden lost his wife and daughter in a car accident shortly before Christmas and after he first captured his senate seat. Beau and brother Robert were seriously injured. Oh, and there's 27-year-old daughter, Ashley Blazer, from his second (and current) marriage.

There's already been much made (i.e., more than anyone really seems to care) about the leading candidate to be the Repub veep, father Mitt of the five roving rangers. [Earlier: Honor, Dad's Campaigns Not Big with PKFC and Running For First Dad].

But there are still others to be chattered about. Candidate Birch Evan Bayh III, the Democratic Indiana senator known best for following in father Birch's seat(steps?) has twin 13-year-olds, Birch Evans "Beau" Bayh IV and Nicholas Harrison Bayh. Perhaps after we see how he does with them we'll know if he really is ready to have his finger on the nuclear button?

And there's Virginia gov of three years — and father of Nat, Woody and Annella — Tim Kaine. Of course, he might not be tough enough on the death penalty for may people's tastes (he said his religion says don't kill, but if the people want him to as gov, he will), a "weakness" for any father whose kids have forced him beyond the exasperation point, not to mention a politician trying to stay out of controversy.

And sorta rounding out the Dem VP field (at this moment) is Jack Reed, son of a janitor and father of a teen girl, Emily. He keeps saying "no," but people who sound like they know keep saying "yes."

From the elephants to the donkeys, consider that former mullet head Tim Pawlenty, the Minnesta Governor, is the father of a truck driver and also has 15- and 17-year-old girls.

Also said to be on the McCain list is kosher dill Joe Lieberman, the democrat, republican, 2004 VP candidate, independent — and touted "revolutionary" pick — is also father to son Matthew, step-son Evan and madel Rebecca, once described as having, "the facial plasticity and natural comic timing of a young Madeline Kahn."

And, finally (unless it is none of the above), there's John Thune, the South Dakota senator who defeated likely Chief of Staff in an Obama administration, Tom Daschle. He, too, is father of teens, daughters Brittany and Larissa.

Whoever it is picked, the odds are it is someone with teens. So, for that father, it will be very good that being VPOTUS, is a job that requires waiting around to cast tie breaking votes in the senate and maintaining one's breath at least a little longer than POTUS maintains his ... at least in constitutional terms.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Keeping Jr. Off the Dole

Fathers don't have to agree with their kids, only support them. Otherwise there are consequences.

Case in point, Lawrence Quinn reportedly told a doubter of his daughter (NYC Council Speaker) Christine that he needed her vote: “I don’t agree with her, either ... But listen, if she loses, she’s unemployed and I’m going to have to pay her rent. So I am going to check you as a yes, thanks so much.”

Even if he does occasionally and loudly carp about his daughter's policies, Quinn does everything he can from his basement office to support his daughter's political ambitions — she is favored to be that city's next mayor. But imagine the possibilities if he were in office. Suppose he could near-magically appoint his daughter, as Illinois Senate President Emil Jones Jr. is doing for son Emil III, despite (probably) disagreeing about that college dropout thing and not seeming to do much else beside take a job his father arranged with a political ally.

Again, there is that unemployment thing looming.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Vacate the Daddy State

Sometimes it is true that pictures (and some musical accompaniment) is worth at least, probably more, 1000 words on the love of fathers and children.

Moving pics of daddy vacations:

Things 1, 2 and WD are off to battle with each other for today and build memories for tomorrows.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Musicals Men

In case you're not up on your circle of life trivia, the father of Simba is Mufasa, of Mufasa Ahadi.

We only bring it up on a slow, hot summer day to try and get your creative juices flowing. Why not a musical — perhaps as successful as The Lion King and it's circle — that also deals with your own (or someone newsworthy) daddy issues?

How about the tale of Dick Clark (not the AB/New Year's Eve one)? He had everything. A younger girlfriend; a 45-year-old son he thought he had finally come to terms with after battles that had begun in childhood; and that son's son, a grandson who made him proud.

Then, unfortunately, just like Sweeney Todd (who did end up murdering his daughter ... don't ask), the tale turns a mite dark, with grandson Ben shooting his father as part of discussions with his father, who can't forgive his father for lavishing money on his girlfriend rather than him.

From dark comes light and from death in war comes legacy and inspiration. So for a different kind of tuneful inspiration consider Camelot (an imaginary place inspired by love and war, which in its telling somehow loses Arthur's illegitimate father Uther Pendragon) and the story of Ernesto Nava, the son of Pancho Villa, who had hidden the tale his mother — not technically Mrs. Villa — told for almost all his 93 years.

If that still doesn't inspire art to set feet tapping and larynx crooning, why not take a crack at a story brimming with inspiration? It could be a sort of Sound of Music, with a stern father, but one that grows not from Nazi horrors but from those of the apartheid ways and days of South Africa? Consider what it might be like to be Mandela-Hlongwane, daughter of Nelson Mandela, who barely knew her father — a round-the-world hero — while she was growing up.

She has cute stories of how her dad wanted to impose a curfew after he was released ... and she was a grown woman with children. And she is also ready with the scene of how the great man demanded that to honor his granddaughter's wish his bodyguards sing "Barbie Girl," an insanely offensive song celebrating in lyrics he must not have listened to so much he abjures.

Wait, actually, don't use this one as your own inspiration as Ms. Madela-Hlongwane already has some collaborators on a Broadway musical promised for 2010.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bye Bernie

Too soon. This week's Objet d'eBay is a shirt that once was soaked with the sweat of Bernie Mac (Bernard Jeffrey McCullough), a self-proclaimed King of Comedy and the larger-than-life father of The Bernie Mac Show — very much a different kind of TV dad — who passed away yesterday morning at the age of 50. [Earlier: B/W TV]

He grew up without a father, and in his stand-up and on television he was constantly talking about how much he looked forward to busting on kids. The outraged father was clearly how he saw himself, but the busting never seemed to happen. His only daughter, Ja'Niece Childress, told the AP for his obituary that he was the "king of the household" as she grew up, just like the part he played on television. His television character — a late in life father who is stuck with his sister's three kids — was constantly exasperated and threatening and disturbed and outraged and ... and ... and caring and loving and hopeful and frightened for his kids.

Intriguingly, it turns out a guy who grew up without a father turns out to be a role model for other fathers ... although maybe not for kids.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Judgment Days

The stars aligned and this week became father judgment week in pop culture.

American Idol Claymation Aiken, 29, is father to the newborn son of a 50-year-old music producer Jaymes (yes, there might be something in getting a "boys" name that plays into all of this) Foster. [Earlier: Just a Chip Off] Intriguingly, while the conceptive insemination was "artificial" and no non-parental, non-musical partnership appears to be on the horizon, newborn Parker Foster Aiken is officially an Aiken.

Aiken père may draw snickers from those who doubt his talent and his heterosexuality, but so far anyway, as someone pledging to be a part of the baby's life he does stand ready to be judged as a father.

Not so, former senator/potential POTUS John Edwards. The father of three (confirmed) and husband to one — a woman scheduled to succumb to cancer in the foreseeable future — fessed up to an affair (finally) while under pressure to admit to also being the father of her child, which he continues to deny.

There is likely to be some investigation into money paid by organizations and people associated with Edwards to the woman who claims he's the father of her child. And the talk about who the child's father really is will not die down; probably not even after the DNA test results come in from the test Edwards claims he wishes to take post haste.

Wait until that child can google. Imagine what he'll find. Imagine what he'll find that is, if he can get over the famous "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" by puritan New England's Jonathan Edwards (are you listening Johnny E.?) that in part offers:

There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God. By the merepleasure of God, I mean his sovereign pleasure, his arbitrary will, restrained by no obligation, hindered by no manner of difficulty, any more than if nothing else but God's mere will had in the least degree, or in any respect whatsoever, any hand in the preservation of wicked men one moment.
The current Mr. Edwards says both his lord and his wife have forgiven him. Maybe? His children? The child he says isn't his?

And, finally, the jury was both called in and then sent out again on King Tut. He was thought to have died childless at age 19. But now DNA tests are being conducted to see if two infants buried with him were his? Was he a good father?

Not that we want to rush to judgment, but how much time has to pass before time will tell about Tutankhamun, or any other dad?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Appearances Don't Matter, Sorta

How the bond between father and child appears to others is not as important as the strength of the bond itself.

Sometimes it seems the bond itself is both strong and praiseworthy. Take, for example, the Millers. Hawaiians Mackenzie, 17, and father Mike, 54, are in training to swim the English Channel for fame (the first father-daughter duo) and fortune (not theirs, they're raising money for charities). The general ridiculousness of the enterprise — they sit themselves in ice cubed wading pools in the Hawaiian sun so as to acclimate to colder waters — is somehow ennobled by doing it together, but pushing themselves so they don't disappoint their partner. As Mackenzie says, "It's pretty cool. I mean it's like, I don't have to think that I am the only person doing this, I have my dad with me."

On the one hand, it is hard for a father to know how to get along with his teenage daughter. On the other, not every activity they both enjoy together looks good to the outsider. And so, a less glorious bond than that of the Millers is the one between the Bates, Gordon Allen and anonymous-because-she's-only-13 daughter. He beat a horse with a pipe while she kicked it in the head. They both agreed it wasn't behaving well.

A somewhat praiseworthy, somewhat silly bond is found with the Mount Dora, Fla., Deffes. Currently exhibiting together, father Chuck and son Adam both use birds as a motif in their work — a blue heron for the dad and ibis for the son.

And then there is the bond that looks normal, but is too complex to provide easy definition. In this case, consider father and son Bush, presidents 41 and 43, who sat on a stage to dedicate the new U.S. embassy in Beijing. The son wants to outdo the father, the father had trouble escaping his dad's shadow and seems at times sorry he can't keep his son under wraps. [Earlier: Eclipsing Sons and Bush Love] It is nice they can do things together, but an intriguing part of the relationship is how they often seem interested in stretching the bond between them.

Still, in general, it is nice when dad and kid do stuff together, even nicer as they both "grow up."

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Diaper Do

There is a spiritual aspect to changing a diaper — not unlike washing dishes — according to Coldplay's Chris Martin (hubby of actress Gwyneth Paltrow for whom he wrote Fix You as comfort for her lost father).

And there is a co-parenting aspect — dad's can't breast feed so they have to take care of the other end — practiced by Marc Anthony, aka Mr. J.Lo.

But, most of all, if you can forget that the change ususally occurs in a context of sleep deprivation — or at least hoping to get back to the game so as not to miss anything — aspect of a dad on diaper duty, there is at least a moment of humor in the bond between father (even fake father) and child:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Daddy Ciné

One daddy movie is here and another on the way ... maybe.

Sixty Six, the tale of a boy, his dad and a bar mitzvah (and the whole of England gripped by the success of their soccer world cup team), is swimming against the stream of independently released movies. Dad, of course and apparently overly predictably, saves the day.

Thomas Madden, scriptor of Father's Day Ghost Story — the still-in-screenplay son, at least for pitching purposes, from the union of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and Bill Cosby's idealization of fatherhood — has received recognition as the "August Writer of the Month" from the Literary Agent Showcase (a pay for notice web site for various writers getting at least some notice thanks to Madden, a PR pro).

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Throw Dad a Life Preserver

There's a dad fantasy — not a problem if the father is divorced or otherwise single — that the child he loves will comes to his rescue, relationship wise.

But children have their own lives. so don't count on Liv Tyler, interested in a potential Broadway musical career, or Amy Winehouse, reportedly reliving her childhood in lyrics and song, to take even a moment out of their lives for poor old pops Steven and Mitch.

It wouldn't be that hard. It would probably only take a few moments to sign their dads up with the British reality show "Date My Dad." But can pops expect even that?

Not likely. So, it's good to know that Mitch will get his own radio show and Steven, hopefully recovered from his latest stint in rehab, can continue his rather peripatetic dating dance on his own.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Contextual Love

The main thing, of course, is the love of father for child. There is even evidence that a father's love is more important than the adorative feelings of the distaff parent.

But this isn't why fathers are better.

It's just a note that love alone — as wonderful as it is — may not be quite enough. Or, perhaps, sometimes, maybe, fathers should also consider the way in which they give their love in order to make it matter even more.

Just-brought-to-justice fugitive father Clark Rockefeller (or whoever he turns out to be) was considered by many a loving, stay-at-home-dad, there are other choices he should have made to stay close to daughter Snooks, aka Reigh Storrow Mills Boss [Rockefeller]. Taking the money ($1 million in alimony) and running (with his kid) will only result in losing more time with her.

Also, raising his child in a loving, if odd, environment is the red-eyed pop. Michiganer Steve Walsh has a two-year-old and unusual obsession, re-re-redecorating his face. It should be noted that however unusual his choices as a dad, he is prepared for the future. Asked what he would do when his son wanted to follow in his father's piercings (and silicone implants, tatooed eyeball, etc.) he said, it will be "...Awesome, I'm so looking forward to that day, but I don't think it's going to happen. I think he's going to rebel." So, his son will probably end up a disappointment, a Big Three (or possibly Four) accountant.

Oddly, neither ending up as an accountant nor as porn performer or rap star or suburban parent will be rebelling against daddy Luther Campbell. The one-time outraging rapper is now just another settled pop — if you don't hold the porn business empire building plans or unusual parenting arrangements against him. He coaches a neighborhood football team, he struggles with how and when to intervene is his teen's life and he wants his kids to still think he's cool. So he got a reality show, Luke's Parental Advisory.

Unfortuantely for Luther, you can't escape being a dad so while he would be making a much more favorable impression on his kids if his show were appearing on MTV, he is instead on the Ford Taurus (a "dad's car if there ever was one) of music stations, VH-1.

Love is always love, but context does matter.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Love and War Song

It takes a bit of time to get to the point of squeezing a tear from the eye, but eventually, this week's Objet d'eBay does. The 1969 release, the Grammy-winning"Color Him Father" by The Winstons (a one-hit wonder band with a bit more back story) is a soulful ballad of love for a man by his son.

The father is a paragon of virtue, but about midway through, the lyrics offer the twist that opens the faucet:

My real old man he got killed in the war
And she knows she and seven kids couldn't of got very far
She said she thought that she could never love again
And then there he stood with that big wide grin
He married my mother and he took us in
And now we belong to the man with that big wide grin
Then it was a dad lost to Vietnam, now Iraq. Another day, another war. But ever a time for a song expressing the need for a man to be a father.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A Fool and His Father

Why can't a father get some credit when he raises a fool? Not your normal question, but today isn't your normal day. August 2 is the feast day (unless you go by the new calendar, in which case it is August 15) and 540th (or, maybe the 541st) birthday of Basil the Fool, son of Jacob.

But does Jacob get a cathedral? A feast day? Even a last name? Nothing, not even something catchy, but depreciative like "Jacob the jerk." He raised a saint, for God's sake. Shouldn't the papa get some props?

Nope, fathers of fools are condemned to sorrow.

Even Ivan the Fool's pop, who turns out to be happy his son has married a frog, doesn't get much. After all, once the folk tale father agrees to be happy about his son's union, he loses his whole czardom.

It's not fair. After all, it's not like the father is the fool.

Friday, August 1, 2008

With Your Own Eyes

For some, reading is nothing. Seeing is believing:

Kitty acupuncturist:

CHorse Chiropractor:

Alternative medical treatments aren't like pulling a rabbit out of water (er, a hat).

The More Humorous Unconscious

"Dying is easy, comedy is hard," goes the old saw. Thus the burden of Mike Myers.

His most recent film, The Love Guru, was horribly received and, most unfortunately, publicly labeled by Myers as a creation that began as a tribute to his father that began with his death from Alzheimer's.

And now he has announced a similar threat to his Austin Powers franchise. Although each of the previous three Powers films have fiddled and jiggered a father-son dynamic, AP4 is being envisioned as an homage to his dad, with a "a father and son theme loosely based on his own life."

But it was better when the comedy flowed more naturally, less self-consciously. Because, while Myers has never been a father, it was clear he was able to pull the funny from having had a father:

Now that he has publicly declared his goal to be both funny and honor his father, the pressure may be too much.