Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On the Beam

Imagine hulking dads displaying the gravity-defying gyrations of a teenage girl on the (work-life) balance beam. It would certainly be a comical sight.

But in real life, somehow, fathers stay on that beam. They work overnight so they can coach their son's team and be a regular part of their childrens' lives as volunteers in schools and communities. Of course, just like those flying teenage gymnasts start out with trapezes attached to them as they practice and have mats on the floor in case they fall, so do the fathers flourish outside of work when some infrastructure is in place.

For most men, work is not as much fun when compared to the fun and fulfillment to be found with their kids. But there still has to be work and, as with all conflicts today, dads are faced with legislation and court systems making and breaking the rules by which they live.

Here come the judges' scores ...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Caring Fathers to Dance on the Political Stage

Admittedly, it is foolish to predict a trend. Still, it is hard to avoid licking one's chops in anticipation that just as 2008 welcomed "hockey moms" to the political lexicon, the presidential election of 2012 could well be the year of the Hair Braiding Dads as a make-or-break demographic niche.

Soccer moms drove kids in minivans around and around; NASCAR dads sucked down beers in front of the tv; and HBDs will be the cohort of single dads who are their child(ren)'s sole or primary caregiver. [Earlier: Daddy Demographics] The prototype is current candidate for VPOTUS, Joe Biden, who lost his wife but carried on raising his children alone for many years. [Earlier: Veep Daddies]

Coupled and single moms get most of the buzz, but in a quad of annums it will be the single pops' turn to pirouette on the grand stage.

And, to dive head first into the predicing biz, while the spotlight will shine most blindingly during the United States' election year, the international nature of the group is easily grasped. In India already, a near equal number of single dads and moms are equally, heavily involved in their kids's schools (46 percent to 48 percent). In Jamaica, men are breaking through the braiding and class parent barriers. And even in Australia, home of the super Sheilas, there are emerging clusters of HBDs.

Four more years ...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Father Gone

Many times one thing isn't really significant for what is really is, but for how it makes you think. So it is with this week's objet d'eBay, a Laser Disc of Dad, the 1989 tearjerker of a father and son learning about their love for each other, which starred Jack Lemmon and Ted Danson.

The movie is mostly forgotten and many believe for good reasons, but the idea of a movie about a father on a laser disc, a once brilliant and now mostly lost technology, still calls to mind movie man Paul Newman, a significant star now lost to his public. Some of his magic as a man will be dimmed by age, but among his forever fans will be his surviving daughters, who honored him as an extraordinary inspiration.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Not Your Dictionary Definition

Dad is not always what [he] seems.

"I hope they know I love them," said a Nebraska father of nine. "I hope their future is better without me around them" continued the man who lost his wife, quit his job to take care of his children and, overwhelmed, abandoned the kids (five boys and four girls between 1 and 17) under a "safe haven" law.

And what is there to think about a father scraping a living out in the jungle with his three boys by stealing scrap who takes off with police in pursuit, but leaves the his boys to the law?

Finally, don't be confused. D.A.D. was not begun as a musical band of fathers. It was originally Disneyland After Dark, but had to change its name under threat of lawsuit. Which doesn't mean the four guys haven't morphed into fathers, just that like every man they didn't start out that way and the idea of "father" may not be a completely accurate description of everything they are and mean to their kids.

Even Notorious Dad may not be what you think:

Friday, September 26, 2008


To make a dad proud remember the simple things. Remind people of him. Dance for him. Maybe just talk him up.

Tamil screenwriter/director Gautham Vasudeva Menon took his father's death as an inspiration for his new film about a simple man, Vaaranam Aayiram, which he says is both autobiographical and, "a tribute to all the fathers in the world. It is mostly from my life and the lives of some people I know."

For Nigerian dancer Emmanuel Adejumo, winning his comedian father's heart was all matter of footwork. So, while being son of actor Moses Adejumo (aka Baba Sala) is a bit of a step up in the country's art world, it also brings with it a host of pressures ... if nothing else, disappointing dad. And while he has pursued his mother's passion of dance, it all began with drumming in a small theater his dad built: "...my daddy is always happy with me. He is proud of me. What he saw in me [while drumming in the theater] has manifested. He has many children, some medical doctors, lawyers etc. But I am one of the few in active practice."

Taking pen to paper was all it took for Carney Mitchell to win for his dad Eddie Mitchell the honor of being The Fiji Times "Dad of the Year." As Carney tells it, "I wanted to do something special for dad but I didn't have any money so when I saw the advertisement in The Fiji Times, I went for it and told my dad to drop it in at Tappoo. I am proud to have won something for dad. It is the first time I won something for him and I am very happy about it.

While his blind father, a single parent raising Carney and his younger brother Justin, was honored, he was also very surprised, "I didn't know the boy was so observant. He asked me to drop his form and to promise him not to open it, so i did as he said. He has made me proud.

In fiction, it might take fighting off thieves trying to steal your scientist father's government secrets to win his respect, as happens in Hari Puttar: A Comedy of Terrors in standard Bollywood song and dance in reality, it is more often the simple things that matter.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What Do They Really Want?

Perhaps the news of the launch of a site for new fathers — do we really need one more fountain of wisdom collected from the same sources? — really is good news?

Not that a site for dads can be bad in any case, but perhaps the Bounty parenting "club" announcement that that fathers of newborns can have all their questions answered and fears conquered by traveling to http://www.newdadssurvivalguide.com will change the world.

After all, do we really know what dads want? And, no, that they want sex and when they don't get it from mom they want it with someone else does not count as an answer. It is also unlikely that donuts for dads, while a nice way to attract the attention (i.e., bribe) fathers to show up in the early school hours to hang out with their kids and their children's teachers solves too many problems either ... and those donuts might actually be creating a few others.

Since Sigmund (father of shrink Anna) Freud famously wasted time pondering of what women want, maybe it would have been a better use of his brain to work out the problems to dads' desires. Or maybe dads need their own Christine Aguilera, who somehow worked out "What a Girl Wants," which reads like she needs her dad.

In any case, so far it remains a mystery. You certainly can't trust fathers to discover it on their own. Consider the case of Leonard Nimoy. He chased fame and financial stability and, at least according to the new "anti-memoir" by son Adam, My Incredibly Wonderful Miserable Life, things were okay for father (and son), but ultimately what he thought he wanted was not enough.

In short (and, yes, it is too late for that) when it comes to what a dad wants, your guess is as good as mine.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

No Mo' Fakin' Aiken

Apparently, Clay is Aiken to let his newborn know the truth about his sexuality: "I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things" he announces from the cover of People Magazine. [Earlier: Judgment Days]

So let the debate begin on what he will teach his son about being a dad and about what his coming out will mean for the lessons passed on to other fathers-to-be. Of course, make sure to throw in two cents or so on what will be gained by teaching 11-year-olds the consequences of turning into delinquent fathers and failing to take responsibility for their offspring. (Offspring? At 11?)

Or, folks can always hold off blathering and just stick to the basics. A dad teaches by what he does and by what he is saying while he's doing it, like when he builds a car with this son, who's on the cusp of getting his driver's license.

Will we be able to judge Clay Aiken by his son's ability to build a car, or will it be enough to see how he teaches his son to sing? Or can we just all hold off until we see what kind of person the kid becomes?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Not Everyone Can Be SuperDad

Life with kids is complicated and sometimes dads need help. In the Philippines, they have themed this years Family Week Fathers and Families: Responsibilities and Challenges. The general idea seems to be that all institutions should help pops out and follows up on a United Nations declaration earlier this year of an International Family Day with the same theme.

That declaration included the thoughts that, "Now, [fathers] are expected to go beyond their traditional responsibilities and role as moral teacher, disciplinarian and male role model. ...to be fully involved and actively participate in both the emotional and practical day-to-day aspects of child-rearing. [even as] ... the challenges to fathers, to society and social policies are as strong as ever."

Interestingly, even as the challenges for fathers come in all different flavors, so does the aid, including such as new hostels for single dads and groups for dads with autistic kids (something of a model for dad groups as the Chicago gathering was started because the "parent group" that was first set up was completely dominated by mothers).

Some problems are too big, the issues too complex to be handled alone. Why, it even seems sometimes that SUPERDAD needs at least a little help with his cape ... and the laundry.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Daddy's Girls Grow Up ... and then what?

When is it necessary to answer the question of whether a father sees the same thing in his daddy's girl that others see?

Particularly when money (lots of money, specifically lott and lots of money) outsiders have a difficult time taking successful girls seriously when her father is a many of means and moolah. It certainly doesn't help that very often the daughter chooses to launch herself within a very safe haven created by daddy.

But may fathers (and others) argue that it is part of a dad's ongoing responsibility to build and maintain a comfortable place for his daughter to live &mash; not just to give the land and help build the house, but even to contribute with the occasional Roomba and a hug, for example, metaphorically at least.

The real question is what happens when the money (or the daddy) disappears. It's another test that fathers probably never learn whether they have passed or failed. He has created daddy's girl, but she alone (with whatever she takes with her on the next step) is responsible for the woman she'll become when dad isn't there like he once was.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Beatle Boy

Perhaps "never what it seemed" would be a good title for the story of any dad? It certainly suggests the complications in this week's objet d'eBay, Real Love. Drawings for Sean by (his father and Beatle/Guru/pop icon John Lennon.

The pictures within were collected and published posthumously by John Lennon's wife and Sean Lennon's mum, Yoko Ono. In her telling of the story, the sketches were a way the father kept trying every day to connect with his second son — but just as his father, Freddie, had not been an accessible and positive guide for him, so it was for John and Julian, the son from his first marriage.

Fatherhood is a cycle. Unfortunately, no matter the best intentions or even the sainthood bestowed upon the father by fans of his "other work," a legacy of damage can — anger, selfishness — is a hard one to free oneself from. And so it is that John caused Sean a loss of hearing as a child that pictures drawn in love couldn't ever heal.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Teen Time

Love the child, not necessarily the behavior. Thus the mantra of the dad of teenagers, girls especially, but boys too.

From Thing 1 come the eye-rolls and exclamations that I neither know anything nor am capable of learning what's important whether it is about match, science, writing, clothing, music or what's good and what's dangerous in possible liaisons with potential boyfriends. From Thing 2 comes the sullen sulkiness that marks burning hostility to even the best of suggestion. No, screamed, shrill dramatic "I hate you"s and slammed doors. But I suppose I'll have to face those as well ... there are too many teen years left.

When I read there's a girl out there whose dad doesn't go to her soccer games and she wants him to know it hurts that he doesn't talk to her, all I can think is how to get in touch with the anonymous she and have her talk to my daughters. I'd love to talk with them — if only they could find the time and actual patience to listen to me and talk (quietly) back and only to me, not at the same time to their cell friends and IMfriends and textfriends and probably other electronic friends I can't identify.

I suppose it's good to learn that I am not alone, that every teenage girl (and boy) has within their job description the task of trying to grind dad into the ground and expecting him to listen up and respond in her best interest. But even as misery may love company, it's still miserable.

Natch, it could be worse. There are those dads who are in court fighting another adult related to their child to get time for their kids and those who have given up and have to be reminded what it is important.

But it's painful. I wonder how bad it will get when I look at these as "the good old days."

Friday, September 19, 2008

The House of the Rising Son (& Daughter)

It's probably not fair that children are rarely said to follow in their mom's footsteps, but who cares? That's the way it is. While it may make mothers jealous of fathers, it can't be helped.

Now we have no particular reason to doubt the mother of the new president of the Los Gatos Rotary is a nice lady, but the new president (the second women in eight years) has the distinction of being the first woman to follow her dad's lead. Elizabeth Cilker Smith takes the same office her father Bill Cilker held. She told the Los Gatos Weekly Times it was as if there was no choice: "Smith says her own membership was preordained. 'When I was growing up, I thought everyone's father was in Rotary,' she says. 'When my husband and I became engaged, the first thing my dad asked him was when he planned to join. It's almost ridiculous–we're all a little over the top.' "

Similarly, Randy Waller didn't decide to go into his mom's business. Instead, he took on the task of leading The Country Gentlemen, the band (really an ongoing pastiche of musicians who come together to form a very identifiable style and attitude toward country) that his father Charlie founded in 1957. He wasn't born when the group started, and it wasn't until after his dad's stroke in 2002 that he stepped up from Gentlekid to Gentleman, but his dad's biz was always a part of his life, which you can tell by just listening to the footsteps in the house:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The F Word


It remains a possibility even in the most uncomfortable situations, assuming the actual scenario is not quite as disgusting as it might be. So, it is likely that the ashamed three kids of Martyn Lamb, a British pest controller who handled pressure in a rather socially unacceptable way, will eventually forgive him — particularly since a judge let him off for exposing himself after the newspapers exposed his predilection to gain serenity now by dressing in public in such fashions as headpieces, thongs, high heels, stockings and suspenders.

Nineteen-year-old Jack Ball was sort of forgiven — the judge handed down a very lenient sentence — after a high speed police chase of him and his dead dad on dead dad's motorcycle. It is true that DD was in an urn and that the whole ride was conceived as a tribute to the late man's final wishes. But that didn't make it right ....

Speaking of not right, a son should not talk about f*******ng is father, no matter how handsome and eminently f***able he is. Such is the lesson we can take away from Josh Brolin admitting about his father that

“My dad is probably one of the handsomest guys ever,” says Brolin. “I was making a joke and I said, ‘If I was a chick, I’d f—- you.’ He was like, ‘You can’t say that! Shut your mouth!’”
And, no, forgiveness is not forgetness. Some ideas just can't be erased from the brain once they get there.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

L of H

Become a dad. Become your dad. The stillborn dad. Today it's three choices, each with its on aura of suggestive sadness.

The Chatham (Ont.) Daily News reports on Matthew Humphrey, a 20-year-old Chatham, Ont., father-to-be who "realizes he must 'grow-up" to face his upcoming responsibilities. Can the crack-oxycodone user pull his life together before it's too late for his girlfriend delivers their twins in January? Everyone hopes so and a court has weighed in with a lighter sentence for his legal transgressions in sympathy to his situation. But history is a bit mixed on whether or not having kids makes a man of a boy.

A maker of history, although in a way likely to include the mesmerizingly mean, is Jean Sarkozy, the second son of the current French president Nicolas Sarkozy. He is engaged at 21 (dad waited until 26 for the first of three tries); he has just taken over a political party in a dazzling display of allegiances of convenience that remind observers of his sire and, in general, is evincing the sort of political machinations (Machiavellian? Metternichian? Sarkozian?) that have propelled pop to power.

For better or worse Sarkozy fils had dad as a model. And maybe young Humphrey will turn things around in time for his offspring. But these aren't the only worrisome role models. There is also the spector of nobody as father, and the resulting bewonderment of the child is the subject of essays in the soon to be released, Nobody's Father. Actual men who are biologically related will make their appearance in the collection, but they do so as real characters, not at all in the way they act in the lives of their children ... or in the way that the children act in the lives of men with no child to pass their legacy to.

Not quite a legacy of hope today.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Roles and Play

There has always been father-son bonding in the military. And some friendly competition is one of the ways boys and men take each other's measure. So, it is not really much of a stretch in thinking how the role of fathers is changing to read of an old block and his little "chip-off-the" having an F-15 dogfight over Japanese airspace, as did Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula and son Capt. David Deptula.

But the very idea that daddytime is built into a contract does offer a bit more evidence that something is up. Aside from the news that — for people who care about such things — Spiderman IV and V will go into production shortly with Toby Maguire, the biggest news to come out of his re-uppping is that by contract with Sony he will be allowed to shave time off the beginning and ending of each shooting day so that he may spend more time with his 22-month-old daughter Ruby Sweetheart.

There does not seem to be a provision that the actor is allowed to breast feed on set — not that his daughter needs it — but everything else about the deal does seem to be precedent setting for Hollywood, treating a father just like a mother bringing her child onto the set.

But not only has a new style of fatherhood pushed its nose into the movie maker's tent, it has also been put on display in tiny panels. Soon to celebrate its second anniversary in America's newspapers, Daddy's Home is a comic created from the foibles and family of a stay-at-home dad. Intriguingly enough for those worried that SAHDs aren't mainstream, the comic's creators, Anthony Rubino and Gary Markstein, are, respectively, a single man and a not staying at home father of two who find humor in the universal and singularity of a dad serving on the homefront.

In the air, on the set and in the kitchen, something certainly does appear to be up with the changing father's role.

Monday, September 15, 2008


It's all about the bonding.

Jerry Skeabeck, an overweight Highland Hills, Ohio, police sergeant, agreed to be part of the television "reality" show "The Biggest Loser" (he was 380 pounds and readier to be a desk than even to sit behind one) with his daughter, because "This meant a lot to her and was a big part of her dreams, and all I had to do was say one word, yes, to make this dream come true."

When the bonding isn't there, the dreams can very easily be of different paths. Consider, for example, the dreams of Blesa Kegbameni, a Ghana man who just wanted to expand his farm and buy a pick-up. Doing something pretty much every father — certainly those whose daughters have reached teenagedom — can understand, Kegbameni considered pursuing his own dreams by cutting the bond with his daughter ... actually, putting the 8-year-old up for sale.

Unfortunately for his own dreams, the buyer he found was an undercover policeman. And he is off to jail while his daughter loses a father ... not thatcutting the bond is a bad thing in this case.

What exactly is the secret that Skeabeck found that avoided Kegameni? Who knows but if you are single, try finding it quickly. In a report coming out of Ireland, half of all single women are eyeying their male friends as fathering material. Not necessarily husbands; not even necessarily fathers, per se; just material. Where exactlly is the bond in that to be found?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Those Who Can't, Write

This week's objet d'eBay, a DVD of the fairly forgettable The Confession, is of note mostly because of the irony geyser offered by having Alec Baldwin near the title at the same time his new book is prepared for release.

The crux of the movie is whether Baldwin (as attorney for Ben Kingsley, a murderer who killed to avenge the death of his son) will tell the truth or risk losing the trial. The pit of idiocy from which emerges Baldwin's new book, A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey through Fatherhood and Divorce, includes his divorce from Kim Bassinger that has made many attorneys wealthier, as well as his own inability to control his temper, even when leaving an insane message for his daughter — for which he has been rightly publicly drawn and quartered.

Although Baldwin promises practical advice in his new book, one can only assume that whatever the merits of his message for father and others, they will be lost to the cacophony of criticism over the merits of the messenger to be delivering them.

Line. Bottom. Good actors don't always make for a good movie. Good messages don't beatify bad messengers. Do dad, don't talk dad.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dads and Movie Cameras

It's probably too much to insist upon although it is still nice to say that a father is catalyst for the story, no matter what kind of movie is being made.

That a dad is always the story, even when he isn't, is the quick takeaway from a look at recent film news. One's eye may be drawn to the article because of the Mariah Carey picture or headline, but the movie in which she is featured, Tennessee, tells the (tearjerking) story of brothers racing against mortality in a search for their estranged father.

There is also The Alaska Ranger Film Project, which will document the experience of Karen Jacobsen in her travels to learn about the father who set to sea after divorcing her mom and lost touch with his daughter.

And just a click away is the version of Star Trek that comes from the imagination of Paul Jones, a father of two, who was hooked on the television fantasy while sitting with his dad and watching uber-father figure William Shatner steer his crew (like pop guiding his kids at a carnival) through the universe as envisioned by father of two, Gene Roddenberry.

Maybe it always is dad?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Daddy Demographics

As sometimes happens in election years, the world of snarky bloggers and real news collides. So, a subset of media focused on rumors of Wasilla as the state of Alaska's crystal meth capital and a story of a St. Paul, Minn., dad sentenced because his daughter "shared" his meth with schoolfriends suggests the possibility of a new political group for reporters to hype.

Alaska Governor Palin has made much out of being a "hockey mom" in her run for the American vice presidency, so it is only natural political reporters must — for the sake of balance — search for a male equivalent of a jazzy nom-de-previously-unmonikored-voting-class. In 2004 it was the NASCAR Dads who ruled, in 2000 it was allegedly the year of the soccer moms. In the sillly struggles of new and old media is there any hope this could be the year of the "Meth Dads" as the voting group that will decide the election?

If not, perhaps this could be the year of the "pipe daddies," usually gentlefolk like Deltona, Fla., dad Raul Colon, who are encouraged to take up a pipe and start smacking boys their teen daughters have been sneaking into the house for pre-connubial bliss. Or could all this talk of service actually take hold, leading to this being the year when "band daddies" finally get their turn in the sun as the agenda setters? What other fathering groups are in the running?

Maybe we should start the last few days of the campaign with an election to determine which group of fathers should be the candidate for pundit-validated key demographic group?

Thursday, September 11, 2008


What exactly is a volved? More and more fathers are volunteering or being asked to be in one. And it seems to be working out. But can anyone pinpoint the definition when the men and the situations seem so wide ranging?

There are the dads who have just taken part in the annual fathers' walks around the country as dads strolled with the kinder on the first day of school. There are pops on patrol in schools, volunteers who for a few days each school year serve as peacekeepers and and role models. And there are homosexual men who are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars and jumping through all sorts of hoops to become fathers.

Everyone seems pretty happy in each of the reports — there is even a science of involvement — so whatever the volved is, it must be a pretty good and complex place to be in.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Poor Them

Back of the envelope figuring. There are one billion plus Indians; say half of those are men; another half are fathering age; and a recent survey says only four percent are involved in bringing up their kids. So that give us about 60-70,000 Indian pops to feel sympathy for because they are raising their kids and million, MILLIONS of subcontinent dads to feel horrible for because they are not.

And we can feel bad and better off than similar others as well

Kid-away fathers don't get the satisfaction of feeling as connected to a new life as the Clayton Heights (UK) father who done birthed his little newborn Misty in the back of the family Alfa. Nor do they have the lifetime father-son link like the Michigan State Robells, Rich and Mike who lived in Emmons Hall dorm room B310 30 years apart. 8,000 rooms on camput to be assigned to and both Robells get this one, identified by the same broken latch. And they don't get the excuse to stay at home working-by-taking-care of the kids like the Minneapolis SAHD, who had enough extra time to pursue "fantasy fishing" (who knows?) and win $1 million.

There's even a study that kids make fathers better people, that even so-called "evil dads" should see their kids more (albeit, in very supervised ways).

So, if chillaxing with the chillin' can do that for the bad (adams) apples, imagine what other fathers are missing.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Unmarried (Teen) Dad Smackdown

Among the newest paths to celebrity is fathering the child with a girl/woman to whom one is not married, perhaps not even with in a relationship.

What happened while I was sleeping?

New teen hearthrob Levi Johnston [Earlier: Teen Dad] discovered celebrity as father/groom-to-be for teen m-to-b Bristol Palin. While the hunky hockeyist may be very similar to BP's first dude dad, — and there is recent science again insisting that daughters favor the looks of their father — suddenly there is a possible smackdown for his celebrity.

"Kevin," an LA urban rap artiste claims via YouTube that he's the real spermmaker behind Bristol's bulge:

Call him, Bristol. Because if you don't, he's obviously a guy on the go (maybe not something to be said for LJ) and he still has time to step up and claim the paternal spot of Minnie Driver's baby daddy.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Bad Boys of Daddy Humor

The more pervasive and unfortunate strain of fatherly humor is the laughing at dad the dolt type of jokes that make up much of the oeuvre of Seth MacFarlane — he of Family Guy and American Dad — now unleashing in conjunction with Google, a "calvalcade of cartoon comedy:

Expect lots of dumb dads to work their way into the rotation.

Perhaps such excesses of dross make the funny, smart dad even more of a revelation and blessing. Kudos and relief therefore for the more subtle and funnier musings of such as Matt Mendelsohn, whose Father Knows Best brings the rare light touch of political satire to the wisdom of pols' pops.

Offering even greater surprise by finding humor in the nexus of rap and SAHD stories is the Jon Lajoie video celebration of the joys of raucous poop metal, "Stay at Home Dad:"

Laugh last. Laugh best.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Imagine This

This week's objet d'eBay, a 1956 ad peddling Watkins vitamins, suggests there once was a simpler day, when the generation sandwich was one of joyous outings with son, father and grandfather.

Have times changed much from when halcyonish images ruled the imagination? Or is it just advertising mores as an ad for today's dads is more likely to be the one for Sexyland that is part of the Australia and New Zealand fathers' day campaign creating controversy over whether or not it is actually encouraged kids to go into the adult toy stores and pick up a little amusement for pops.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Slicing Through the Nonsense Clutter

More often than not one hears only silliness and the hyped fantasy daddyhood. For example, there is the "revelation" that celeb ditz Jessica Simpson has decided Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo is her FBD (future baby's daddy).

Still, it is important to remember that sometimes the drama of fatherhood slices through the nonsense clutter of our world, breaks your heart. One case of fiction to find has been celebrated, with honors sent to Benjamin Percy's story of sons without fathers, "Refresh, Refresh." The tale will be read aloud and broadcast Sunday, Sept. 7, as part of the Selected Shorts series in a program dealing with war.

Other times, the facts of being a dad are so painful that the world would be a better place if only the facts were fiction. Such is the story of Rafael Sanz, who had to make the only choice he was given, to take his son off life support. It was eight days after his seven-month pregnant wife was knocked to her death under an oncoming bus by an outlaw driver. Delivered prematurely from his deceased mom, Sean Michael Justin Sanz struggled for life for those eight days, but his was not to be. Nor the dreams — the fantasies — of his father.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Dog Days

Ladies and gentleman, we are sniffing around in a "brave" new world. Snuffy done up and got two bitches pregnant.

The progenitor is an afghan (talibark?) hound, also the world's first cloned dog, according to the Korean scientific husbandriers who brought him to be and pimped for him. Heading up the effort that first brought Snuffy (an acronym for Seoul National Univesity puppy) is out-of-favor researcher Hwang Woo-Suk, who has continued in animals after he got kicked out of people in a stem cell research scandal.

So, it is not unlikely we'll be cloning people dads soon, too. Maybe they'll all be like the average Australian dad with his 2.3 kids — cloning can have consequences?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

OMG, He's Alive

When Britney Spears says of father Jamie, "I owe him my life," as she did in a recent Daily Star (UK) interview, there must be ever more inducement for those without dads to seek them out ... assuming they weren't already looking.

Richard Terwin spent 30 years trying to find his dad, although all he knew was the name of the ship on which his father came to East London. He "fell in love," impregnated and then returned to marry the girl in Greece to whom he had promised himself. However, Terwin kept searching, ultimately tracking down and visiting pops in Cuba.

Sharon Emery at least had the full name of papa in her 38-year search. Not that she had much else in trying to track down the guy who didn't even remember her mom, much less know there was a daughter left behind. Still, when they met, "After we both stopped crying" Emery claims," I felt instantly comfortable. He said initially it was difficult, but by the time we left each other he said he could feel a bond and that made my day. It couldn't have gone any better. It was brilliant."

And perhaps to experience that "brilliant" is why John Renehan kept an eye out, even after dad "died." And a good thing he did, as he happened to spot the old man on the telly eight years after he was lost and five years after he was "found" and "cremated." Daddy Renehan wasn't, but somebody was. And so there's one more odd family reunion bringing new life to a child.

Never stop looking around for dad.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Teen Dad

In ancient Rome armed men were thrown into the ring against each other, unarmed men were thrown in against wild animals, and, basically, the ancient audience was constantly entertained by one or another man being torn apart or hacked to death. Sometimes, the man won.

And, with an admitted slight difference, the same ethic is often at work for dads today. Even as the people in charge of the Republican convention announce everyone should respect his privacy, they are dragging Alaskan impregnator Levi Johnston onto display for the nation. His MySpace page has already been deconstructed and his family laid siege to.

Johnston, of course, is not alone at being a teen dad dragged through media muck. But the question has to be why? Just for the public's amusement?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

King Gone

Sorry to be late to this party, but the most ironic of festivals was celebrated Saturday in Nepal.

According to Nepalese sources, No Moon Day of Bhadra (i.e., Nepal's Father's Day) fell this year on August 30 — wikipedia schedules it for later in September. What made this year's papa party most interesting was that fathers were honored in the context of a new government.

The Maoists were democratically elected mid-August. Their path to power — with their pledge to find a Nepalese way of combining the best of their culture with lessons gained from watching China progress — and their succession to the royal family was paved by Crown Prince Dipendra, who massacred his father, King Birendra, and the rest of the royal family because they denied his desire of bride choice.

So the Nepalese honored the dead fathers, fĂȘted the live ones and gave all dads who think of themselves as kings of the castle something to consider regarding what a Father's Day really means.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Comedia Zelousosity

Too much zealousness and the father spoils the child, who becomes resentful. Too little fatherly zeal and the child and the child also becomes resentful. Finding the right balance is a dad's quest and one that is making the television airwaves sing in a new way.

From Canada came The Tournament

which ran on the CBC January and February 2005.

Now, updated and revised a bit comes the BBC series about overzealous sad dads of Britain and their pursuit (I mean, their kids' pursuit of Under 11's) The Cup.

Since, it does seem possible that fathers' sports dreams could be played out in their kids around the globe — and that when it is someone else who is doing this it is often hilarious — expect that fathers who can't quite find the balance of cheering for their kids and keeping their own internal sports demons where they belong will be television fare localized for its comedic potential in every country soon.