Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Learn, Discern, Resolve

Before resolutions get set for the new year it's helpful to think about what lessons have been learned. So, for dads, it's important to remember that you don't teach by lecturing, but you influence by example and support.

Take world record holder Mike Kittman (who once spun 28 balls at the same time and, more recently, eight balls at the same time while blindfolded) whose example and support has led to a world record for his son, Cameron.

The 13-year-old spun six different types of balls simultaneously.

The (somewhat oblique) point is that the most important lesson to build on for the new year is that sometimes it's the wrapping paper, as a new father discovers by seeing what about a present really matters to his new child, and sometimes it's the substance as when a father cried in front of his child because he couldn't vote.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Highest Honors

If there is a angel dad on earth, it could well be Larry Thorpe. The Indiana man has been a good father to his three biological children, a caring adopting father to 31 others and a giving, foster father to nearly 300, including those with with severe autism, shaken baby syndrome and other debilitating conditions.

Former Philadelphia Eagles running back Ricky Watters is adopting his second mixed race son and encouraging others as fortunate in sports and life to join him. Which is praiseworthy, as is the legacy of Andrew Durning and John Videtto, who adopted three children and led a crusade of good works in hostile Florida to raise loving children and teach skeptical neighbors what can happen when papa bear and papa bear raise babies without a mama bear.

However, while quantity does not equal quality, and it would be wrong to diminish the hearts and acts of other fathers whose hearts open wider than expected, Thorpe should surely be in the running for "father of the millenium," or a "Nobel Prize for Fatherhood," or at the least for getting his face on stamps and currency.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Moderate Bit of Violence

Aristotle, father of Pythias, is famous for (among other things) the idea that we should enjoy "all things in moderation." And that, boys and girls, includes violence.

MODERATION YES. So, it is a wonderful and all-praiseworthy idea that a father and son should take a 50-day, 50-state fishing trip as planned by the Turners of Warennton, Va. With the son headed off to college and life soon they decided to do a bit of male bonding over the occassional dead fish before beginning the separation that comes with adulthood.

MODERATION NO. Not so marvelous are the bonding ideas of two gentlemen of Derry, N.H. Father Primeau and father Dearborn believed that the way to get close to their boys was to encourage them to clobber other kids. Encouraging their sons in their hobbies, one drove the young master to where he could, hopefully, "knock him out" and the other was content to reside on the sidelines, having sent instructions to "smash" and "step on his head."

Briefly, then. Bonding involving moderate violence against fish: usually good. Bonding involving immoderate violence against others: usually bad.

Lesson learned?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Dads across the globe were once again gracious in accepting their gift during the recent holidays. But, given the nudge by this week's objet d'eBay, a car ad for the 1964 Ford Fairlane, do you think they really got what they wanted?

Well, maybe there isn't a father actually interested in this particular car. Maybe all he wants is a car to really call his own without family taking over his dream(s).

Or maybe there's another present he really wants. The point is, it'll be a new year soon and time to start thinking about dad's desires, even if (maybe especially if) it is to spend some quality time with his children.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


In the spirit of the season, a reminder that dads have to be in it (the war versus non-dads) together.

Salutes go out to

  • Joe Terborg, who began DAMU (Dads Against Meth Use ... is there a DAFU?) to help fathers from uncertain circumstances make sure their kids found a straighter and narrower path.
  • Keith Hamilton, father of two and counselor to single dads who are willing to take a bit of advice on how to keep their kids off the streets that (almost) sucked them completely down.
  • Even the greater-circumstanced Len Wiseman and Michael Sheen, who managed to do the right things by each other for the greter glory of daughter Lily (from Sheen via Kate Beckinsdale) and give her two dads.
And all the other fathers helping fathers. (Nominate your own below.)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Neo-Heavenly Father

Suppose that Christmas celebrated the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mark? Would it be the same miracle if a child was born to a man? (And, no, we're not talking again about Thomas Beatie the non-virgin pregnant guy. [Earlier: Daddy Mommy and Yecch Factor])

Birth to the Virgin Father seems like a great idea. A wholly holy concept created from the secular. After all, CNN just did a piece on how many men are now choosing to go it alone as parents, usually with a surrogate mom. And as a culture we have begun celebrating dadhood — at least celebrating celebrity fathers ... make sure to get your vote in now for your 2008 hot stardad fave. Surely we are approaching the time when the XXers have a VM to match the XYers Virgin Mary?

It's probably only a matter of time before the Knights of Columbus's Fathers for Good (yes, there are no "fathers for bad," at least according to the google) is able to find something in the Bible to make it work for us?

In 2009 we might begin to look forward to a new heavenly father and perhaps a new holiday since in all honesty, Christmas is pretty much already claimed.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Xmas Joe

Let's hear it for Joseph. He married Mary after she was pregnant and raised Jesus as his son, at least until he seems to mysteriously disappear from the story whether from old age or accident. And does he get any respect? Even now?

At least Jamie Spears gets a raise for putting up with daughter Britney's mischegas. But Joseph gets pretty much nothing (Minor Sainthood - Comedic Cuckold Character = zero status). So, since it's pretty likely his son wasn't even born tomorrow, how about taking at least a couple moments — you are on vacation, after all — to show some love for daddy Joe? After all, 'tis the season ....

addendum: The Slate Take on jolly ole St. Joe.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Father Son Tag Teams

The stars have aligned, but the geography is a mite off. Unfortunately, the California father-son legal eagles Peter and Justin Goetsch, who have just been sworn in together, are 3000 miles from the New Hampshire father-son Kmart shoplifting team of Marco Rodriguez-Diaz and his unnamed son, who have just been arrested.

If only the lawyers could counsel the thieves to learn from the Japanese father who teaches his son the value of an apology

Monday, December 22, 2008


Something happened to "sugar and spice and everything nice" being the definition of daddy's little girl(s). What happened hasn't been explained and doesn't seem good, but publicity always seems to follow, which seems to encourage things only getting worse.

Camille Cleese, younger of two daughters of Monty Python comic John, has begun to seek out her space in the maw of public fascination. For reasons perhaps known only to her publicist, rather than discuss her rehab after becoming a star, she launches her career as a "celebrity" by "telling all."

Fame's 15 minutes are also ticking down for Vanessa and Angela Simmons, presumed stars of MTV's January-launching "Daddy's Girls." V&A are the oldest int he brood of Rev Run, Joseph Simmons of the Run DMC rap trinity. Run, of course, phones in some celebrity on the "reality show" Run's House, the MTV half-hour from which his oldest daughters are spinning off.

And in the worst of the stretches of daddy's little girls, we once again face the onslaught of the the annual publicity blitz of web service purveyor Go Daddy. Throwing up some vapor news, the company has begun trying to call attention to its self-described envelope-pushing Super Bowl ads, likely another in the high-profile series of laughing at the audience for its prurience promotions. (Which doesn't mean the ads aren't working for the company.) Once more this year, expect DLGs to turn out to be the mountains or molehills divided by revealed cleavage of some sultry-lit package.

What happened to the nice? Sugar and spice, indeed.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Naming Rights

New Jersey pop Heath Campbell may be onto something about Adolf Hitler no longer being dead. As noted with this week's objet d'eBay, the May 2, 1945 Stars and Stripes, The German madman killed himself rather than face the Reich's failure. Messr. Campbell, however, likes the name. So Adolph Hitler lives. In small town, Penna.

Campbell had a vision of wanting to be able to call out to his son on the playground and not have two or three or 78 other similarly named urchins turn about. Thus began the birthday cake tale of Adolph Hitler Campbell, 3. For the third year, the local ShopRite said they wouldn't ice the name (or a Swastika) on the cake; "fortunately" for free speech the local WalMart pushed its customer satisfaction team into high gear and baby Adolph got to see his name in sugar.

On the one hand we always applaud the father who wants his child to be unique and famous. On the other hand ... ick.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Don Shak Tha Groove Thang

Lufkin, Texas, police arrested Andrew Darnell Dodd last year for shaking his thing as he ran naked down the street while carrying his son, 1. But they didn't keep him — and he's just been snatched up again for letting his son get into his PCP.

Such is the danger when dads are allowed to move freely ... at least in terms of what children fear. There may be times when dads are tutu cute, as when they join their daughters in the Vermont Nutcracker. But that's not usually the case.

The fact is, just as in the case of the Bush twins, kids usually just want to get dad home and out of public so people stop laughing at him.

It's the rare dad who should shake it.

And, unfortunately, this one's no sugar plum fairy.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Questions of Identity

Everyone is drawn to news of groups with which they identify. Comfort is offered by the struggles of similar others; glory is reflected with their achievements; and pride is discovered with the supposition that facing, or having faced, the same circumstances, one would do better.

So what is to be learned or felt from (real life father of two; stepfather of one) Tim Robbins playing the father of Iron Man Robert "dad of Indio" Downey Jr. in the upcoming movie. And how is one to feel about learning that Tom Cruise can go all googlyda when son Connor is up for a part in a movie?

How far should one identify with Emer, the Emu who fled the farm the night Mrs. E laid an egg — Emu dads are responsible for sitting on the eggs, sometimes not eating for the two months of incubation? And what to make of the discovering that the frightening macho monster dinosaurs of yesteryear were actually homebodies who would take care of the eggs of many ladies?

So many differences from one group is a bit a much, a fracturing of the looking glass leaving the observer with the puzzle of how he wants to put all the pieces back together.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Santa's Baby?

It's a question that comes up once a year or so, but why doesn't Santa have children?

The roots of Mr. Claus are found in the biography of Catholic Saint Nicholas (no definitive word whether the progenitor spawned or chose otherwise). A Mrs. Claus can be traced back at least 100 years — at least as far back as Goody Santa Claus, the poesy of Katherine Lee Bates, also author of American the Beautiful.

He'd probably be a good dad. He seems to care for children. He works at home. From all sources it appears he has found a pretty good work-life balance — working only one night a year. If it's a medical thing Kris and the Mrs. could always adopt. One gets the sense they'd both like that.

Would St. Nick be more likely to have or adopt if he were not eternal and wanted a namesake to carry on the family business?

What is the answer to the mystery of Santa and a bunch of other good men walking the earth who would likely make good dads, but haven't done so yet?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bonding with Babes from Big Belly

New research determines that unmarried (and presumably married as well) dads who hang out for the pregnancy that evolves into their children are more likely to be hang around later, too. In fact it is a better predictor than marriage of the lifetime bond of father and child.

Did we need to spend money on research? Why not just look at the life, times and career of Hugh the Hef Man. [Earlier: Bunny Bopping and Yecch Factor] He was there when sons and daughter were born. So, despite the multiple girlfriends with which he litters his hutch, he put daughter Christine in charge of the bunny biz (until she suddenly quit) and has now featured sons Marston and Cooper in the magazine's most recent issue — which surely can't hurt their chances of finding does (rabbit fems) of their own.

What more can a man do for "emigrees from big belly"?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Unlikely Storylines

While usually it is the father or child who creates the storyline, sometimes observers (i.e., the media) take a snapshot and then create one of their own.

In the news today, for example, is the tale of how Brad Pitt has created a worldwide movement — from Australia to Norway — for men to become involved with their children. We also have the male penguin couple who are being used to save the children of a penguin pair who have not proven themselves adequate in the egg-taking-care-of department. And, finally, there is the media reporting that Mark and Andrew Madoff, sons of Bernie the bilker, were uninvolved in their papa's perfidy.

Now Brad seems to like playing dad, but the original goal was clearly to git with Angie, not lead a movement. As for the penguins, they may have had biological urges to take care of eggs (penguin fathers nest over the eggs laid by the moms), but it strains the bounds of anthropomorphism to cast the story in the light that somehow the penguins are really little gay men in tuxedos and webbed feet. And while the Madoff boys have so far turned up clean, they have long profited from dad's drive; were the major players at the firm; and so far seem to know everything about everything at the firm ... except what their dad did with $50 billion and how they might go about paying back friends, family and clients.

But at least for today, the popular story line about certain dads and their kids continues to diverge from the likely truth. Let's see what turns up tomorrow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Abie's Choice

Is it possible that Abraham — "father" of Judaism, Christianity and Islam — actually killed son Isaac? According to Bruce Chilton, author of Abraham's Curse, some ancient accounts of the story of a father ordered by his god to sacrifice his son actually "graphically" described the killing, rather than relate the tale as it is more generally known with Abraham pulling back his knife in time so that God has spared Isaac/Ishmael.

We know a dad can be the editor of a parenting magazine. And, in a recognizably low comedy event, it seems a given that a bunch of fathers could come up with the plan to "spray fart gas" at the target of their protest, as did two members of a British father's rights group.

But could a dad really sacrifice his son? Should said dad really receive great honors? Trying to puzzle out the answer practically guarantees head, heart and soul ache. It is much easier to conceive of the story of Abraham as an ancient, fictional tale rather than the true life event that sparked civilization. Maybe we'll go with that.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What Would Bob Say?

This week's objet d'eBay, a photo from the 50s sitcom "Father Knows Best" signed by show daughter Lauren "kitten" Chapin, could be the perfect relic to build a contemporary religion around.

Robert Young, playing insurance — and what could be better in these perilous times — salesman Jim Anderson in the show that moved from radio to TV offered comfort and common sense. Of course, off stage and in real life things were not as serene as the picture projected. [Earlier: What a Father Really Knows] However, in the current Crash of 2008, with terror and fraud in nearly every headline, it may be time to think back to the lessons we think we learned from good old Jim, since he never seemed to do anything but bring calm (and good reading habits) to the world.

Worship, study and reflection at the video altar begins here.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Missing Out

"There are moments in life where you get married, or you have a child and you wish [your dad] were there," said actress Cate Blanchette after being honored with a start in Hollywood's Walk of Fame. Her dad died of a heart attack when she was 10.

As tragic as Blanchette's loss of her dad when he was 10 is, there is the thought that at least she knew him a bit. Compare her story to that of Rick Ryles, born to a Japanese woman and American soldier who he searched for his entire life. Thanks to a small, classified ad in the Saginaw, Mich., paper he found his family — and learned his father never stopped hoping to see him during his life — but he never met the man himself.

Neither Ryles nor Blanchette got the good, such as having his dad cook for them and the entire school, as Fort Worth chef Tim Love now does for his kids schools. And they never received the discipline like brothers Kip and Cole Russell did when their pop made them stand outside the store from which they shoplifted with orange signs announcing their crime.

Actually, it is unlikely those would have been their experiences. Still they missed out on the nurture and discipline and everything else from a dad that you do and don't appreciate until years later.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Are These the Sand Times?

Times are so difficult and complicated these days that even the best of news seems framed in a context of negativity ... even if you have to reach a bit to fit the negative around the positive.

For example, in a report on how British researchers may have discovered that somewhere in a father's gene is the determiner of a baby's sex is buried that news that more boys than girls are generally born, but that more die sooner in childhood as well as a hint that dad's controlling the sex of the kids was found by studying how many men died during World War II. So, the news of life has to be told within a box of death.

Not that you actually need positive to find some negative news. Bad news can travel on its own. For one, there is the report of the Punjabi dad who realizes to his shame that his son was one of the Mumbai terrorists. Another: the mind nearly boggles at the tale of a father whose 15-year-old goth daughter was part of a blood-sucking posse arranged for someone to stab him to death in a back alley where he kept his car parked ... although his 20-year-old son always loved him according to his MySpace page.

With news all around like this, is it time for dads to go ostrich?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Livin' La Cabeza Loca

What to get him? With the fatherhood announcement by Ricky "isn't he gay, not that it will make him either a good or bad dad" Martin, it is time to figure out a belated gift for the baby shower.

What could be better for the single man who now has everything than a parenting book; and what could be more appropriate to put up/pull down from the book shelf than the new title for a book of lessons from a dad who raised kids on his own, to wit, the poetically entitled Parenting Dad (&/or Mom) by the MBA, self-publisher and publicist Lance D. Shaw who seems to have raised his kids since their pre-school years (and, apparently, successfully) in a sort of corporate special projects style.

Good luck in the real la vida loco Mr. Martin. BTW, where exactly were the kids when you were practicing for parenthood?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

From the Bureaucracy Files

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is shipping out a dad who has custodial rights to his American kid, who also takes care of her half-sister. Nine years ago his now ex-wife — mother of both — wrote a note saying she didn't like him any more and the "wheels of justice" began slowly to build their momentum.

Now, Stefan Lang, a pillar in his daughters' lives and in the community is on the cusp of being shipped away from them and back to his native Germany. Apparently, when a mother says something bad about a dad, it can't be taken back even if she says she wants to.

Really, it's not like he was the most ruthless concentration camp commandant ever and left his kids — or daughter Monika Hertwig who was such a daughter and is the subject of a documentary — trying to cry their way out of his shadow for their whole life. And his kids reflect well on him, not like Doors front man Jim Morrison, whose straight-arrow, accomplished father George S. has just passed with the lifelong belief that (according to the NY Times obit, quoting a band bio), "I had the feeling that he felt we’d just as soon not be associated with his career. He knew I didn’t think rock music was the best goal for him. Maybe he was trying to protect us."

Lang is just a man. Just a dad. Just a guy threatened by indifferent bureaucracy with losing his family.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


"Chip off the old block" is a descriptive often misunderstood as a suggestion that a son (usually) or daughter is not just similar to but pretty much interchangeable with the dad.

And perhaps this is the reason the good minders at Kern County (Calif.) Jail let Jaime Garcia Jr. walk free when it was Sr. who had just been bailed out.

But the phrase really should be understood as not the same, but similar and casting glory on both father and child. So let us honor real COTOBs. First there is Gary and son Jonathan Harris who were both awarded Silver Stars for their service to the U.S. military. And then there is Carlos Herrera, who in receiving his Purple Heart discovered his father was also in Iraq and had been man he hadn't been in touch with for nearly a generation.

So, let the chips fall where they may.

Monday, December 8, 2008

No, Not That Way

From the land of oxymoron comes the dilemma of a father (or fathers) being part of something wonderful but within a tragic context.

News at the foreign desk includes the nationwide candle-lighting honoring Thai fathers as well as the king, who has let his own moral control of the country lapse as political parties battle for the favor of the country's military.

On the domestic front is the story of a son who discovered the love his father had for his grandfather. Sadly, he faced those feelings when he found his father's suicide note, which directed him to his granddad's frozen body stowed in the fridge.

Finally, we have the report from the business side of life of two sisters who may be following their father's footsteps and achieve their own real estate empire, albeit perhaps for only a short time as they sell it off. They await word on the final resolution of their 25-year legal struggle with their older brother, who claimed all rights to their father's estate — and real estate — upon his death in the 1950s.

Honor, love and footsteps. Wonderful themes of fatherhood that prove themselves not immune to being found in unfortunate circumstances.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Passing the Torch

A father's legacy rests heavily on the shoulders of his daughter; although in this case it appears the daughter's head rests lightly on the shoulder of a dad.

This week's objet d'eBay features daughter Caroline Kennedy and then-President John F. Kennedy chillaxing on their boat, the Honey Fitz (named for JFK grandpa and the clan's political progenitor, John Francis "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald). For years Caroline has remained at a remove from the spotlight and seemed to avoid stepping over the line and into the family business. (Uncle Ted is the senator from Massachusetts; cousin Patrick is a Rhode Island congressman; cousin Kathleen is the former Maryland Lt. Gov ... and the only prominent Kennedy to support Sen. Clinton over Sen. Obama during the primaries ... and there are other Kennedys scattered elsewhere.)

However, at age 50, Caroline Kennedy seems prepared to stop battling the legacy of her father — slain by an assassin's bullet on Nov. 22, 1963, days before she turned 6 — and step even further into the limelight. She was a force for the presidential aspirations of Barack Obama and has now offered more than a passing interest in being nominated to the New York senate seat being given up by Hillary Clinton. Her father served seven years in the Senate (1953-1960), beginning at age 36, in a seat many said Caroline's grandpa, bootlegger and political kingmaker Joseph Patrick, bought for him.

If Caroline does take a senate desk years after her father it will involve no money passing hands, only the passing of the baton from father to child ... and the child finally being willing to take the handoff.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Mislearned Lessons

When life thrusts something in your direction use it to instruct your children. Teaching moments, after all, are what we are all about. Just don't count on your lesson taking.

To be fair (unfortunately), it must be said that the instruction taken isn't always what was intended. For example, when one dad decided he could run the family Christmas as well as mom, the lesson the kids seem to take away was that he was a boob, rather than the one he intended, which was [well it was on his list, but it seems he didn't get a chance to send it, because he was doing all the stuff his wife insisted was important].

And when a father instructed his daughter in the social grace of introducing herself — so that she could report back to him the name of everyone he was supposed to remember — what she took away was that she had to have kids herself so that they could learn people's names at parties so she could avoid embarrassment as an adult.

Also, what is there to say about the lessons from golf that Greg Norman taught son Gregory other than it's a good way to pick up the hot wife (in this case tennis legend Chris Evert) off an old, now-ex-friend (in that case skiing star Andy Mill).

Kids dont' learn what they're supposed to. At least when dads are instructing. Even the brilliant lesson plan outlined by new facebook star Sam Burt — who made his kid walk miles to and from school after junior was tossed from the bus for bonking the driver with an apple core — didn't take. Apparently, Jack Burt was in trouble within three stops of being returned to bus privileges. He gets more press that way. Not what dad intended him to learn.

Never what dads intend the kids to learn ....

Friday, December 5, 2008

Writing from Beyond

The fictional Dumbledore is back from his fictional death, fictionally speaking ... sorta. The creation of author J.K. Rowling is the stern father in situ for Harry Potter [Earlier: Father Falls and More Footsteps] during the latter's seven books of adventures — although (spoiler alert?) Dumbledore does die at the end of vol. Six.

This time the headmaster of wizarding academy Hogwarts is the commentator on short stories in Rowling's new The Tales of Beedle and the Bard. The first of the too-cute but still magickal-in-her-own-way-of-telling tales about a son who inherits a cauldron from his wizard father. Apparently, Dumbledore's commentary makes the otherwise so-so stories worth the reading because you always want to know what the father figure thinks.

You especially want to know what the FF thinks when he is a real father. That sort of quirky curiosity is what led to the arrest of two adult children of a murdered man. They haven't been charged with his demise, yet, but are on the hook for hacking his computer and installing bugs on his car so they could track where he travelled.

Rounding out this not even death should keep us from learning what a dad thinks cabal is the British hospital insisting they required a dead man's signature to insure that he was okay with his daughter looking into his medical file.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What You See; What You Really Get

One father in the Corono (Calif.) PTA, a past president, thinks his daughter gives him adoring looks when he shows up at school as part of his duties. Maybe she does: she is, after all, still in elementary school ....

It seems more likely though, that the adoring look is him seeing what he wants as he mixes the business of being in his daughter's life and the pleasure. The more likely scenario between father and child is found with young Nathan Upfold. The South African 4-year-old works with his hypnotist father and grandfather as part of their show. Dad thinks he has everything under control and his son just wants to perform. The son believes he has the power to produce extra candy from pops and leave school at midday. And he does.

Face it. The kids are in control no matter what people from outside may think they see. The U.S. president-elect, Barack Obama, will soon have the ideal dad situation: ultimate authority and getting to work from home. Most likely he will find, as have other First SAHDs, that while everyone says they want the perfect stay at home dad situation ... the reality of that perfection is pretty much as Teddy Roosevelt said of first daughter Alice, "I can either run the country or control Alice, not both." He chose the to run the country, because he actually had a chance to do that.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ripped from the Headlines

Occasionally the news biz amazes with what it believes makes dad news.

  1. "Fun for Fathers" describes what sound like Brit dorkdads who live under the umbrella moniker dadscool2 who will be gathering for a bacon butty breakfast or some such.
  2. "Eastwood Surprised to Be a Dad Late in Life" announces with pics galore that 12 years ago Clint Eastwood learned while visiting a gas station on his honeymoon that his new wife was pregnant. [Earlier: Big Screen Fathers]
  3. "DadLabs Snags Badass Six Figure Deal with BabyBjorn" breathlessly recounts what seems much more like a dream come true. Guys, friends, fathers in a garage are making money with their website. [Earlier: Qs&As with Do Dads — DadLabs]
Actually, we agree that the DadLabs folks deserve the shoutout for their success. So, for today, the news biz bats .333 (not bad, now that we think about it).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Know It When You See It

We need a new word. It's too often too easy to confuse one definition of the verb "father" — basically, bring sperm to the baby recipe — with all the remaining verb and noun "father" hues. Without a parlance change, we are left with Maastricht sightseeing guide Ed Houben, provider of half the chromosomes of 46 kids, as a supreme father. And that's just not right.

Intriguingly, while most sperm donors prefer anonymity, Houben seems almost to be seeking celebrity. He recently gave a party for all "his kids" and relies on "word of mouth" and internet searches to keep up his business.

By most standards (albeit hard to define ones), Houben doesn't really qualify as a father. Similarly, the uniting of Californian Todd Whitehurst and his 14-year-old daughter is a lovely story of a daughter's ingenuity in searching out her donor dad. However, it remains to be seen how Whitehurst embraces real fatherhood, doing the dirty deeds that actually should constitute what it means to be a father.

And by dirty deeds we don't mean getting drunk and letting your 9-year-old drive you on a beer run. The dirty deeds of being a father have no specific limitations, they're more like pornography in the sense of Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewarts explanation that you don't have to define it only know it when you see it. It would be easier to be able to define it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sexy and Daddy

The sexiest man alive has kids. Of course.

People mag acclaimed actor Hugh Jackman may still be waiting for the birds and bees talk from his dad, but it doesn't diminish his ability either to play a dad in his latest movie, Australia, or be a dad in real life.

Unfortunately, no matter how pleasant it would be if sexy and movies and fatherhood were related they aren't. Dave Russell was sexy, but as explained in son Charlie's documentary "Looking for Dad," he really wasn't much of a father. And Terry Gilliam, cartoonist and filmmaker and father of model/actor/hottie Harry, is a genius in the visual arts, but not terribly sexy. Still, he does seem a reasonable sort of dad.

So there really is no connection between being sexy and having kids. But it probably doesn't hurt.