Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wholly BatDad

Thomas Wayne killing son Bruce seems pretty unlikely, no matter that the headlines scream Waynes' superhero alterego, Batman, dies. It's not that fathers can't do that, or even that kids won't do that — or maybe even for merciful reasons wish their father dead.

No, we have to go back in history, back to this week's objet d'eBay, the Detective Comic #235 that details how Bruce took over the "real-life" role of Batman from his father, following what is now being proposed as his father's "death." When dad's a superhero and son follows in his cowl-licks, it seems bad storytelling for pops to kill junior, not the twists and turns for the caped crusader promised by the writer for the next few issues.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Face it. As long as it does't involve you — or anyone you know, love or admire — it's pretty easy to imagine comedy growing out of tragedy.

Neither pretty nor admirable, it is a fact that a 4-year-old kid finding a gun in the middle of the afternoon under the pillow of his napping dad and "accidentally" shooting him in the tummy has a certain comic potential. Similarly, the picture of a dad up a tree with an electric saw seems rife with possibilities for slapstick scenes. It becomes less funny when he drops it on his daughter, but still there is the sense of wonder at what was the dad thinking?

And face it, the irascible father is a staple of levity. A deadbeat dad swearing at a TV reporter makes for entertaining viewing. The "journalist" is intrusive; the father is getting the infamy he deserves; and the bleeping of the curses only makes it that much better. Of course, one can't help be left amused and awestruck at the impotence of a system that sends a dad owing $126,000 back to jail only to release him and return him into incarceration a couple years later when he owes $200,000 in child support.

Add up the rage and stupidity and threat of violence and dad and child and what do you have? A "Saturday Night Live" sketch:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tuning In

Imagine how wonderful it must be to hear, "Honey I love this one. It's really good." Those are those are the words of Father Pink whenever his pop songstress daughter needs pre-release assurance. Amid the storms of the music world, her comfort comes from knowing, "[Dad] doesn't preach to me how I could make it better. He just likes it."

Now consider how different the situation of children who have to learn who their father was through his music and what others tell you of his life. Such is the situation for 12-year-old Christopher Wallace Jr., son of Notorious B.I.G./Biggie Smalls, who will play his father in an upcoming biopic. The large-boned rapper was assassinated when his son was four months old.

That killing was more dramatic in terms of biography than the lung cancer that killed Nat King Cole at age 45 in 1965, but not in terms of impact, stealing him from his then three-and-a-half-year-old twins. Unlike Biggie Jr., the Coles have memories of the father they lost, although the mists of time might have spiced them somewhat, at least as told by daughter Casey: "...when he would walk into the house he would carry both of us up the stairs in the palm of his hands, and he would like be singing a song." And in his memory they want that song to carry on through their foundation, Nat King Cole Generation Hope Foundation, that they established to honor him and aid music education in schools.

Still, dead or alive, the music lives. And when it does, so does the father through the child.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Supporting Star

Supporting star is not oxymoronic. Let's get that out of the way at the beginning. Dads often star in the role of supporting player. Some cases are easier to imagine than others.

It's easy enough to see how a dad puts his kids in the glow with (say) £4,000 of houselights. Although past mishaps (broken ribs, crashing through the roof, etc.) do let father of two Phil Burton take some star turns in the Christmas tale as well.

And when you put a dad on stage, as Stephen Belber has done with his new play, "Geometry of Fire," it's not that much of stretch to figure out how a father can support but also confront his Iraq vet son.

What becomes more of a stretch is the argument in favor of support accepted by a Miami judge ed in favor of two men who promise to support their son. Florida law was found to be discriminatory in not allowing two gay men to adopt a child together. The case is headed up the judicial ladder although fathers Mike Federau and Curtis Mellon aren't planning to go anywhere without being able to help 9-year-old Austin Federau. The men are making the boy a star as well as also creating a bit of celebrity for themselves.

Still, perhaps the most unlikely situation of a dad starring in a supporting role has come in the kitchen. Journalist Emily Weinstein has admitted in print that without her father, she would never have been able to reel in the great white shark of Thanksgiving baking, pumpkin pie with a dash-of-vodka-crust.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rehearsing Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving only a couple days away it is time for a dad to prepare, to remember last year.

First, he must catch the turkey

Then, he must cook the turkey

Finally, he must have the talk

Monday, November 24, 2008

Give It Up


It's what dads do. And not just at certain times of the year.

They donate kidneys to their children (even when it is not a part of their culture). They donate livers to their children — although if they really want to do it anonymously so as not to upset their children later on it is probably a good idea not to pose for a picture accompanying a newspaper article on it.

The father's example is a key to getting kids involved in charity. One example: Marlo Thomas's devotion to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital began by watching her father return to the dining room table with tears of sorrow or joy in his eyes after getting news of a child's progress at the hospital he founded.

When dads do it well, the impact carries on through generations. Such was the impact of Ted Neal on sisters Linda Cartwright and Carole Eley that they founded The Ted Foundation to aid the people of Kerala, India, who lived world's away from their middle class British lives.

So GIVE in order that your kids can live and so that they can live better lives.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


This week's objet d'eBay, a copy of the 1984 (now honorary Dr.) Feargal Sharkey single "Listen to Your Father," offers an interesting lesson that was probably not part of the original artistic vision. Despite the title, the biggest bass beat comes down on the phrase. "I bet you don't listen to your father." That phrasing is set amid a video that falls flat, a bunch of people doing nothing at all and smiling through it.

So, listen to dad (not Sharkey)so you don't come up with such a blah mess, unless he gets into his head some really idiotic idea like showing you in a sex tape to his friends as a way to defend your innocence on a charge of rape.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ask Him. Really.

Like most kids, Maryland running back Davin Meggett believes he knows all he needs about his dad, Dave, who was not much of his son's childhood and had a series of troubles after his NFL career. Still, it is interesting to consider how far he may go along the path his father ran ... and he might want to learn a bit more to try and figure out where the road's ruts lie.

Like Autumn Brown he might just learn something heroic about dad by just asking. Ms. Brown, a seventh-grader, interviewed her father as part of the local Kiwanis Club's "Interview a Veteran" contest. Not only did she win, she says she was "shocked to learn of all that her father had accomplished."

It's hard to know what a dad has done. Still, you have to start by asking. According to his youtube site, "Cooking for Dad" papa Rob Barrett doesn't ever seem to disappoint his two daughters with his easy-as-pie to make dining delights. His media persona exclaims that pretty much anyone (any dad, anyway) can do what he does as he travels on his way to celebrity chefdom. However, (since one of the secrets seems to be that he is not necessarily master of his own kitchen) his girls could well tell a different story if you ask them or if they try their hand at interviewing him.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Paid Leave

For separate — albeit equally wonderful — reasons, the Czech government and U.S. Navy are now offering new fathers paid leave upon the birth of a child.

Trying to win over more of the electorate, the government of father of two boys Vaclav Klaus has announced plans to overhaul the country's health care system. Included in the proposal is a plan to mandate that new fathers receive a week of paid leave and up to five more of unpaid leave to help around the home or watch some footie on the telly or change a nappie or two, or do whatever else new fathers do to bond with babies.

Hoping to keep more men in the service and compete with civilian companies, the U.S. Navy will begin giving tyro pops 10 days of paid leave. While this would seem like the ultimate perk for those sailors with a girl in every port, the powers that be have restricted the benefit only to men who have wives and whose wives have given birth.

As the father of Jakob Dylan sang (we think), "The Diapers They Are a Changin'."

Thursday, November 20, 2008


It's that time again! What time? That time ....

Creating an instant tradition, the Dads-Space folks announced they are seeking The World's Best Dad in what sounds like a competition that has been around for a while. Surprisingly, some of the contest details are a bit fuzzy. For example, the standards for entry are unstated, prizes are undetermined, and ceremony date unstated. However, the general idea to create a real contest — rather than just pretend a celebrity represents something other than himself — out of what otherwise makes for a barroom argument (if among males) or coffee or cocktail klatsch (should the arbiters of best dad be female) is laudable.

So, what actually makes for the WBD? Could it be someone like Mike Mone, who dragged his lawyer son into some pro bono work fighting for the unwinnable situation of trying to unite an Uzbeki father with his son by bringing the two to Ireland? The father of a 6-year-old he hasn't seen thanks to his captivity, Oybek Jamoldinivich Jabbarov, was kept at Guantanamo first without strong evidence he had done something wrong and now because there is nowhere to send him since his home country is likely to torture him.

Jabbarov would be an unlikely WBD, but it is certain that he represents something about fatherhood.

Also unlikely is Thai Major General Khattiya, who has threatened to bomb his daughter if she is unlucky enough to end up among the wrong group protesting the government. Still, there is certainly something to be said for a father who worries about his daughter, warns his daughter, provides her with a loving home, but lets her stand for something he is opposed to. As Khattiya said, "I lit a joss stick and told my wife, who passed away four years ago, that the nation was more important than a daughter. I can reproduce another child but the country cannot be reproduced."

Mone, Jabbarov, Khattiya or maybe even Ludwig? Which one represents the best dadding the world can aspire to? Ludwig, of course, has proposed sick days for SAHDs based on recent experience tending to his two sick kids and then suffering through the sickness they passed on to him.

Each one an interesting choice. And there are others. With no rules or standards or surety about what it all means make sure to get your vote in now.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dad vs. Dog

John Grogan, currently on tour promoting The Longest Trip Home, has found (according to The Austin Statesman) that his audience would rather talk about dogs than God or Grogan's father, who is a featured presence in the memoir.

Grogan's previous book was the bestselling "Marley & Me," a tale of life with his lab. And while it is hard to talk about dogs who win one's heart, perhaps Grogan just needs a more action packed funeral scene — the one in his book involves seeing how much his dad touched the lives of others. Perhaps he should have tarted up his book with a story of how he learned his dad wasn't actually in the casket — like the Louisiana Garza family did after 14 years. Or maybe audiences would be more interested in people rather than animals if he had gotten himself tasered at his dad's funeral, like North Carolina piece o'work Gladwyn Taft Russ III.

Really, a dead dog should not be more compelling than a deceased dad.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pre- and Postpartum

That it is unlikely does not make it untrue. Apparently there is a shortage of sperm donors in Britain. Donations cannot be made anonymously in the UK and there is (anecdotally) a fear among potential virtual partners of being stuck with a bill for a meal they did not eat (so to speak).

It is a problem, even if not one that gets too much sympathy.

Also not getting much sympathy — and rarely considered except as a source of humor — are the "problems of the 'pregnant dad'." Perhaps the reason why there is so little sympathy offered is because while girls often talk about babys from an early age each father seems to think he discovered pregnancy himself. Women knows what's coming. Should the men?

Maybe they should, but they don't.

Almost every man imagines that nobody prior to him has gone through nine months with a difficult, pregnant woman. (At least it seems that way if you look at the number of books about fatherhood during pregnancy that you probably have never heard of.) The most recent gent to tackle the problem — perhaps as part of the postpartum depression [Earlier: Scary Visions] that comes with newborns — is Harlan Cohen, wordsmithie of the concept of dads as "pregnancy pioneers," and author of the just-released "Dad's Pregnant Too!"

Anyone sympathetic yet?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Losing in Translation

It may seem redundant (and maybe a bit stupid) to offer wisdom like, "...a child's experiences with his father depend largely on the kind of relationship he has with him" as does the Philippine Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office. However, lets offer the courtesy of assuming that something has been lost in translation from Tagalog to English with a program trying to help men become better fathers.

Thinking about the dad's situation rather than immediately criticizing, would also have been a wonderful courtesy to offer Mark Frearson, who was jailed for hitting his son. Spanking, actually. And after the boy had wandered away (after being told to stay close) in a shopping center. And not as a pattern. And before the person who made the complaint that sent him to the slammer had even been interviewed by police.

As Julia Wright, touring the world on behalf of the centenary of her father Richard's birth, says to students, "Always ask questions. Always turn things around and look at all facets. Always look at the flip side." Richard Wright is the towering presence behind "Native Son," "Black Boy" and the just released, posthumously and through his daughter's efforts, "A Father's Law." [Earlier: Life ... Death ... Dads on Paper]

Sunday, November 16, 2008

No Ad for Dad

The perfect father awaiting the perfect kids to jump into the perfect pool. This week's objet d'eBay may make for a lovely advertisement, but it doesn't really tell much of a story about the relationship between father and their offspring.

A much more interesting story, although painting a much less pretty picture is the story of Rhode Island good guy (or thug) Harold L. Tillinghast Jr. He is either unable to escape the shadow cast by his felon pop, a do-gooder who is tarred by the reputation of his father, a mob enforcer; or he's a con artist who got caught with his hand in the public's cookie jar and is working the sympathy angle of the misunderstood child trying to overcome his upbringing to distract attention from his transgressions.

A much sadder tale is the one told by Mary Lee Coe Fowler in "Full Fathom Five," the story of how she came to know her father, a WWII seaman. His death at sea put him beyond conversation in her mother's home as she remarried and created a different life for herself and children.

And a much more intriguing and still-to-be-written tale is the one to be told into the future by the twins of the infertile Taiwanese man. Cancer took away, but science gave him back a relationship with children of his own.

Not one of these stories or others will be as pretty as this ad to sell the Humble company. But each story of a real dad and his sons and daughters cannot help but be more interesting.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Passing On

Like grandfather like son like daughter — except the son isn't that funny and the daughter has yet to be tested. But tonight, Saturday Night Live tests whether its recent popularity in the ratings is a pre-death spasm or revivification by unveiling its first third generation actor.

Abby Elliot, granddaughter of the comic genius Bob Elliot (who is best known for his work with Ray Goulding) and daughter of Chris Elliot, who perhaps in reaction to his father's act is best known for playing unlikeable characters in movie and tv cameos as an SNL alumnus and catalyst for the "Get a Life" sitcom disaster.

One can only hope she has more to offer than two other multigenerational "stars," whose father has been something of a disappointment. English Princes William and Harry are saddled with poor Prince Charles, still tied to his mother's purse strings, and one hopes that while they referred to him as "an inspiration" on his 60th bday, that his example will turn out to be something they use for good, rather than as a model for their own behavior.

Certainly the burden of carrying fame is too great for some. And it is never as wonderful as when a father and child discover fame together, although for the Leas (father John and son Ken) it probably would have been nicer if it came before dad was a collection of ashes floating in the ocean.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yecch Factor

Unlike in the good times, when a banker speaks these days, his advice is not necessarily gospel.

Sometimes, even when it is gospel, it isn't. Take the case of St. Matthew, patron saint of bankers, who is credited with the ever popular St. Matthew 7 (i.e., Judge not, that ye not be judged ...). While one should never cast aspersions on a dad (and certainly not the son because of the father) until knowing everything about his case, some recent news about certain fathers just makes them — or at least events surrounding them — sound creepy.

There is, of course, Thomas Beatie, pregnant dad. He's knocked up again, just months after giving birth to his first child in July. [Earlier: Daddy-Oh] Obviously, we've never walked a mile in his pumps and certainly hope that all is well with him, his wife, their babies, etc. Still, dude, don't be such a slut. It's not paternal ...

Also giving off the icky vibe is Benjamin Emanuel, father of proposed presidential chief of staff Rahm, who decided it would be a great help to his son and boss Barack to slander American Arabs by suggesting they're only good for mopping floors. Maybe he could team with anti-semite and Holocaust-denier Hutton Gibson, father of movie star Mel, on some sort of badwill tour sponsored by the U.S. State Department? Or how about some sort of remix of the Hope-Crosby films: maybe call it, "Road to Stupid."

Finally, and admittedly it's not necessarily his fault, father of four, Hugh Hefner [Earlier: Bunny Bopping], has just been referred to as a "like a father" to an ex-girlfriend — with whom he presumably was acting most undaddylike.

Again, we shouldn't judge — and certainly not fathers — because all the evidence isn't in. Still, the virtue of presuming innocence is one often tested by an overwhelming suggestion of yecch.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Worrisome Harvests

What could be more traditional than father-son farmers feeling pleasure and relief as the harvest is gathered? Unfortunately, whatever comfort is offered by the familiar, much more anxiety seems to be produced by the world of dadding existing in a state of flux.

Admittedly, fatherhood has probably always been changing. It just feels somehow that things are speeding up and getting more complicated. Not necessarily for the worse: after all, who doesn't like the idea of dads and daughters blowing up rockets as a Girl Scout exercise? And the change is not necessarily without entertainment value, as suggested by the Phillippine television Koreanovella "Three Dads with One Mommy" (think Mamma Mia, but with less music and more melodrama).

The change and complexity certainly has its good points — allowing the late Brit Bob Salisbury to become the "old man" at age 72. And it is also intriguing, as in the case of mogul Shari Redstone getting a chance to kick daddy Sumner out of parts of the empire they share, thanks to the current worldwide economic blustering. [Earlier: Daddy Dreary]

Ultimately though, change and complexity are manufacturing agents of anxiety. Unfortunately — and in spite of the good and entertaining and intriguing aspects of it all — in today's world almost every father has his fields seeded with worry and doubt ... which is not likely to lead to a harvest of pleasure and relief.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lessons of Cruelty

Hitting dad on the head with a hammer is a bad idea. It doesn't matter if you think as 58-year-old Jayantibhai Patel did that he thought it was the only way to get his 81-year-old dad into a nursing home. Repeat: it's a bad idea. Don't do it. Talking mean bad; hitting worser.

It's not the only bad idea involving cruelty between parent and child — and violence is usually frowned upon for good reason. And, no, it is not enough to rationalize or plead before a judge that you needed to be Cruel to be Kind:

Not that cruelty can't be enjoyable to watch (although in real life consequences have to be understood before they are realized. Currently on Broadway is a display of son turning on father. Intriguingly, fathers John Lithgow and Patrick Wilson are the actors in Arthur Miller's "All My Sons," although their personal experience is influenced by and influences the resonance that they bring to lines such as:

“There’s nothing I wouldn’t forgive him, because he’s my son.”
“I know you’re no worse than other men, but I thought you were better. I never saw you as a man. I saw you as my father.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Oddly Bound

Unusual bonds work to bring dads together with daughters and sons, too.

Arm wrestling. Most beloved as a bar sport is the love of Elizabeth City, N.C., fathers and daughters Nanney and Dowdy. Presumably dads Donald and Keith tipple should the opportunity arise, while daughters Brandy and Bryce do not. Drinking or not, the dads are beating other dads while their girls watch and the girls are crushing on the forearms of other girls and even boys to the joy of their fathers.

Of course, girl arm wrestling — is it macha? — is really no stranger than the idea of liberals on the western range. Maybe it's less strange if one tuned into the recent Republican narratives. Or maybe not. By claiming U.S. Senate seats, Tom and Mark Udall, the sons of brothers Morris and Stewart, are revising the conventonal wisdom that the American west is a hot dry plain of conservative thinking. Their fathers — Stu an Arizona congressman and Secretary of the Interior and Mo who took over his brother's seat for 14 terms — were conservationists, pragmatists and, by all reports, very liberal. And it looks like that will be the legacy of the sons as well. Still, it seems odd.

Not quite as odd, however, as the ties between Ted and father Robert Edward Turner II, at least as glanced over in the new Turner (actually, RET III) biography, Call Me Ted. The father beat the son and the son the father; the son called the dad a quitter and the father shot himself. Even though "mouth of the south" Ted doesn't dwell too much on the strangeness of the legacy his father left him (beyond the billboard biz and small fortune that got him started) it is clear that the ties between father and son are deep and very odd. They have also had intriguing to watch but difficult to explain results.

Still, for good or bad, the odd ties bind as tight as the "normal" ones.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fathers fight.

No, this is not a reference to the Greek and Armenian (Christian?) fathers who were fighting over rights (rites?) of way at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem:

The fathers who fight, the ones who deserve praise and remembrance on Veterans' Day (née Armistice Day; Remembrance Day in Canada; other names may also apply) are the ones who have gone to war. There are the fathers who pass along the virtues of the warrior creed to sons, only to worry about what they have done.

There are fathers who could never explain what part of their soul was left on a battlefield. There are fathers who told their stories, but still left questions for their children about who the man who returned from war. There are fathers who never returned, except perhaps in the form of some memento the children can treasure and puzzle over.

Not to slight the women or men who have sacrificed, but Veterans' Day (like most every day really) is one more day to honor the fighting fathers (again, not necessarily the "holy" ones).

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Should your source of news be the Whinydad Chronicle, you are to be pitied.

However, if this is it, then it is our duty to note that Illinois Senator Barack Obama will move daughters Malia and Sasha (Natasha) and their puppy into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on January 20, 2009, after having been elected president of the United States. The girls will now get the chance to make history as so many other "first" children have. [Earlier: Puppy Promise]

If you wish to profit from the news, you can certainly join the person behind this week's objet d'eBay, a signed first edition of President-elect Obama's memoir, Dreams from My Father. Auctions abound for signed copies of the 1995 and 2004 editions (note the difference if you are buying as an investment).

It's a true pleasure to see that a dad's signature on something other than a check for paying bills or an allowance means so much to so many.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Context as Critique

Context is a complicator. Take some random actions (e.g., trying to free one's child from the grasp of another; telling a son to get into a fight; disciplining a child for going against your wishes; aching to comfort; etc.) and without knowing when and how they were taken it is impossible to define whether or not a man is being a good father.

Take helping your child escape the clutches of someone who is mad at her; perhaps even getting into a fight so your daughter can flee. That sounds like a good thing. However, it wasn't in the case of New Hampshire's Richard Abrahams, who was arrested for committing such a noble sounding act. Which sounds pretty unfair until one learns that his daughter Amanda, 18, was shoplifting before he assaulted and battered the shopkeeper.

But what about sending your son, actually taking him with you, to get beat up. Sounds pretty bad. Except that it turns out to be a pretty wonderful thing for dads Enzo
Calzaghe and Roy Jones Sr. to have done for sons Joe and Roy Jr. Although the fathers took very different paths in creating their sons as prize fighters, the paths both led to a fight for history and glory, if not necessarily for a title.

Also, while it is usually a best-practice act to require discipline when a child acts up, consider the father who doesn't want to see his child after she acts contrary to authority. Actually, consider the case of Gholam and Esha Momeni. At first, father G didn't want to see daughter E, apparently thinking that the Iranian government locking her up was a proper punishment for her pursuing her graduate school research into the rights of women in the Islamic republic. Fortunately, he has had some second thoughts. She, however, is still imprisoned, which at the very least makes it likely she'll have to ask for an extension due her detention.

Finally, note how fatherlike it is to try and steer a job a young man's way and to feel responsible for trying to comfort him when he gets hurt on that job. Note, too, that acting fatherlike does not a father make as demonstrated by Roger Moore's interest in the most recent "Bond, James Bond," Daniel Craig.

The good, the bad, the father act. Only circumstances can tell.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Smelling Fishy, or Something

Something about "Lemmie and Jomo" is reminiscent of the great vaudeville teams — Abbott & Costello, Laurel and Hardy, Weber and Fields, etc. — except that the Clevelandish father and son team never really tried to amuse. Their particular schtick was scamming the elderly, pretending to be agents of the law, while bonding over their victims bonds, or jewelry or just cash.

Aha, but even some of the elderly knew that something smelled fishy. And so Lemmie and Jomo Wilson are headed to the slammer rather than to the stage ... at least so far. Something also smelled fishy to a Pensacola, Fla., wildlife cop, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. Unfortunately for an anonymous fisherman, he had taught his daughter well the lesson of telling the truth. And she did, telling Officer Clark that "daddy lied" when he assured the officer he wasn't over the limit, that his daughter had pulled in half the catch. He was fined; his daughter fine.

While "something smells" usually precedes the announcement of an offending odor or action, it should be noted that smells can be a good thing. Recently, researchers found that odor is a father-baby bond. Scientists at the Wisconsin National Primate Center found that the smell of one's own baby dampened a dad's testosterone level.

Do humans ape the behavior? It seems likely (at least nothing smells fishy about the research.)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

King for a Day

Today, King Father hands his crown to Prince Son in Bhutan, a Himalayan kingdom 101 years old. New king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, by most accounts, has the good fortune to follow in a popular monarch's footsteps and his father has the wonderful opportunity to see his son start out in a new direction — the monarch is no longer the dictator of government — and with popular support for well defined programs.

Imagine how glorious that father-child situation compared to the one between (for example) daughter Jett and father Hank Williams. Jett is a singer and the illegitimate dauther who never met her country music legend father. [Earlier: Tuned In] JW and HW Jr. (with whom she shares their father's estate) have culled CDs from unreleased material of their father. While it would be wonderful if it were more, but the result just seems to highlight that the main connection seems to be name and money.

Also living with name and money, and in this case the resulting infamy, is Omar bin Laden [Earlier: Legaciousness], who might be rich, but certainly isn't wanted in Spain (or probably anywhere else). Omar shares with father Osama wealth and well as being crazy, but it is unclear how far their connection goes beyond that.

Although sonO has called for daddyO to behave, he is unlikely to be given a chance by the present or history to reclaim a legacy and draw himself closer to a beloved father. In short, there is unlikely to be an opportunity such as was given to Peggy Wallace Kennedy to revision the historic, hateful legacy of her father (George
"segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever" Wallace).

So all hail the old king and all hail new. It doesn't happen often enough that a father and child combine for a legacy bigger than the mere sum of the two parts.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Puppy Promise

Both the least and most important promise Barack Obama has to fulfill is the one he made as a dad. In accepting victory as U.S. president-elect, after demonstrating his affection for them in front of the world, he vowed to daughters Malia and Natasha, "I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House." No wonder they think the White House will be cool. [Earlier: Do You Know Who It's Going to Be?]

He better deliver.

First, the hug and kiss:

Then the puppy promise (about 4:30):

Times are tough Prez dad. While under ordinary circumstances you'd be housebreaking the puppy alone and walking him late at night in the rain, you've got a mess to clean up and promises to keep. There should be help and there is hope. But you've made promises pop, no matter how difficult it is, do what is best for your girls. Don't break the promise(s) ... don't screw the pooch.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Up Chuck

The U.S. presidential election is important, but it in no way competes in terms of fun with what could be the glorious race for the title of "proudest dad." Many may lay claim to the title. Each in his own way likely is and it would be moving to hear each of their campaigns for the honor. Could we have a multi-person tie?

Anyway, today is about (vice) presidential politics. So, while this isn't to take anything away from the many deservedly proud fathers around the world, and certainly not from the men who sired 75 percent of the Democratic and Republican tickets, it seems time — maybe the only and last time — to give a shoutout to Chuck Heath, refugee from the lower 48 and father of Alaska governor Sarah Palin. Biden, McCain and Obama fathers are glowing with pride from above, no doubt, but Chuck is nearly radioactive in the happiness he shares on earth that comes from his daughter's success.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ya Gotta Believe It

Belief is the connection, but you do have to check it against reality.

A shared belief in the hapless to hopes-pewing Philadelphia Phillies can tie a father and son, no matter how much it scares the father that he might be scarring the son.

The conviction of two that men can act lighter than air can be part of the passion that a father danseuer passes on to his son, just as Tomm Ruud has passed along his ballet costumes down to son Christopher.

But a guiding, unquestioning faith that your son is smarter than his teacher (or really anyone and everyone) is a path to problems, particularly if you aren't willing to listen to evidence to the contrary. It is beautiful to consider the father who will pop the teacher who says his son wasn't up to a particular mental challenge, but it seems unlikely the father has really made things better for his son.

Yes, ya gotta believe, but as a father you still have to be smart about it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Kids 'n Clowns

This week's objet d'eBay is described as a 50s-ish pic taken around Halloween-time of "Dad with His Scary Clown Son." Anyone can call anything what they want, but if truth be told the kid doesn't actually look that scary.

Speaking All Hallows Eve frightening, the kid is far down the scare-o-meter from "King of Pop"(?) Michael Jackson (described as a "top dad" by bro Jermaine who is hoping he'll pump up a tour to make money for the rest of the family). Jackson — outside his personal life of quirks — did also contribute the so-far greatest halloween video ever ... a 26-year-old blast from the past of a dad hanging with his peeps — from when dad was the scary clown son.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Not at First

Fighting the good fight does not mean always fighting the right fight or battling towards a win that is really possible. Still, when talking about fathers, it is always necessary to F the GF.

Gemtasu most honors his father, Moimango, by celebrating his (re)smoking. The singing and dancing around the corpse won't bring him back to life, but it does recognize the quality work of scientists' ability to remummify.

Similarly, Ted Kucowski probably won't ever see son Brandon racing alongside him, but the birth defect schizenchephaly from which teh younger Kman suffers shouldn't stop them from competing as a father-son team in additional 5ks, triathalons and marathons (they've been in 40, 20 and "a handful," respectively). How better to celebrate love than to fight together even when you know you won't come in first. In such cases, winning the race takes on a very different meaning.

Winning is also likely to take on — if the polls can be believed — a different aspect for Dough and father John McCain. The son makes a number of wonderful points about his father, but perhaps not enough to justify his winning the presidency, which at least today he seems likely to lose. But pride and love should still always be on display betwee child and father &mdash it is the good and right fight — even when all rational thought argues that is it hopeless.

Love is never hopeless.