Saturday, January 31, 2009

It's Nearly Past Time

India's FADA (Father and Daughter Alliance) has as its goal getting dads to like their daughters early enough — that is, before the girls are completely their momma's girls and the dads (socially/culturally) have nothing more to do with them. When dads don't know or like their daughters they are more likely to yank them out of school ... and give them little future.

Because yanking out of something must be done at the right time and for the right reason. An example of this is Ernie Raines showing up at the home where his daughter was living (accompanied by press and police) to "encourage" her to leave the home of Drew Peterson, who's history (dead wives) does make him a suspect best pal for one's daughter. Lesson here: better late than never.

Along those better late than never lines — but much less likely to succeed — is Canadian Barry Hennessey's hope that the judge deciding the punishment of his son won't be allowed to listen to his confession because it could influence the severity of the punishment. Maybe the dad should have gotten involved a little sooner?

Because, Barry, the fatherly message and instinct is important, but timing is everything

Friday, January 30, 2009

Giving Them the Business

It might be worth considering when founding a business what it will take for the business to succeed enough to live in the family and beyond even your child's lifetime. It's not quite as easy as you might think.

For example, if one is to believe Lake Placid's Bill Hurley — co-owner and manager of the 100-year-old Hurley Bros. fuel supply company — all it takes is loyalty to customers and employees to explain how he got the biz from his father, who got it from his dad, who inherited it from his pop. And we could also say the same for Art Rooney Jr. who has done okay for himself with the Pittsburgh Steelers (likely Super Bowl XLIII champs) franchise that came to him from Sr., who founded it in 1933 with $5000 in winnings from the nag-go-round.

But there is something more than loyalty to consider. Harold Nicholson was loyal to his customer, the Russian Federation. And he was more than loyal to his employee, son Nathaniel. Yet, sadly, it appears that the family biz needs at least a little more than that as Nicholson père was supposed to be working exclusively for the CIA and the feds seem to think Nicholson fils should have known better than to take money for passing info to and from his incarcerated dad.

Thusly, does a family business collapse. And so we are back to square two in the search for dads can best exploit their entrepreneurial natures.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chain Is Good

A daughter made up the story of a dad chaining her up for staying out past her curfew. He did put something on her ankle after she broke her rules, but not enough to be hauled off to the pokey. Perhaps she — and every child who thinks their father is being too strict and controlling out of his safety concerns — should have to sit through multiple showings of Taken, where Liam Nieesen plays a man wends a bloody path to track down his kidnapped daughter? His daughter wanted to head off on her own to a place and situation that he didn't feel would be safe.

The fact is, chaining your child in seems a much better solution than facing a father's worst nightmare:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Never the Simple Life

Almost no matter which way you turn, today's pop-path is fraught with legal complications.

Good men may be snared by the legal bramble of modern life. Or, as Richard Collier, law prof and author of Fragmenting Fatherhood: A Socio-Legal Study explained (?) in a recent interview:

Now what we see, with the disintegration of the ideal father as the marital father – as a result of such social realities as non-marital births, genetic families spread across households, same-sex couples, assisted reproduction – is a vertical relationship direct to the child, with an increasing tendency to split a bundle of rights and responsibilities between different men.
Others will find such explanations just so much blah, blah, blah as they forge a different trail through life. Among those seemingly ready, able and more than willing to stroll the crooked and wide are Illinois' hairbrain Governor Blagojevich who will, someday, have to explain to his daughters what he was really up to and single dad Camille Bouchard, who a Canadian court has ruled is eligible for child tax credits for taking care of his daughter while he was hanging with his homies in Her Majesty's gaol.

Again, no matter the choices, a father's life is never simple.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sons Learn, Daughters Forgive or Forget

Arbitrarily grabbing from the news does make one wonder if boys and girls think about their fathers the same way?

There is the essay of remembrance found in the Toronto Globe and Mail that suggests, "a man can never fully understand or appreciate his father until he has become one himself." Message received, a boy will always question dad but eventually learn from him.

But daughters think differently. They forgive. Particularly when they get to go to a party if you consider the situation of Ireland Baldwin, 13 and target of a father's telephonic rage [Earlier: Those Who Can't, Write], stepping out with dad at the SAG awards, apparently forgiving his insults and temper for the chance to go to a party looking like a grown-up princess.

Girls can also very easily forget as evidenced by the dreams of her father that Sonja Karadzic has. SK's father is Radovan Karadzic, the leader of the Serbian nationalists who massacred Bosnians as the former Yugoslavia unravelled and burned in the 1990s. According to her daughter, dad had nothing to do with war crimes, it was U.S. president Bill Clinton who should be on trial in Geneva for the war crimes of which her father is accused. She was there. She knows her dad. She doesn't understand why nobody believes her about his innocence.

Imagine the party Radovan threw or will be willing to throw for Sonja.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hope and Claws

It is nice to believe there is hope for any father, even the most snarling and evil.

So let us take from the story of how Henry, a New Zealand tuatara — a lizard-like animal with a family tree that may have roots in dinaosurs — came to be a father at 111. It turns out that once a tumor was removed, he became much more sociable, most evident in his having impregnated 80-year-old Mildred ... to the tune of 11 hatched eggs, so far.

And let us give to the ongoing sage of Damir Dokic, the tennis father-from-hell who took his daughter Jelena to a career high No. 4 ranking as a teen with a slash and burn strategy that almost destroyed her, before she was able to pull her life together enough to be the queen of this year's Australian Open ball.

Because, maybe, if Henry can get some good and enjoy the pitter patter of little tuatara paws, then, perhaps too, there's an operation for Damir that will help him pull it all together as well.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fathers of Inventions

This week's objet d'eBay, trading cards found in 1915 packages of Will's Cigarettes (a foundation of today's Imperial Tobacco), feature inventions by men, mostly fathers because while necessity may be the mother of invention, most of the time the inventor turns out to be a father.

Fathers who have most recently joined the fraternity of "Look at How I'm Gonna Save the World" include a real Heman (California's Richard Heman, to be accurate) and a man tonsorially tested by his daughters hair, New Yorker George Stydahar.

Heman decided to face down the torturous tangles of his two daughters tresses and came up with the patent pending Orbit Brush, with bristles that disappear at the big tangles while they tease through the lesser snags. Heman, whose goal is to spend his days golfing with dad, has gone for podiatric relief, inventing a foot care salon for the shower.

How much will trading cards of the two be worth when it is their time for an eBay auction?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Not Your Father's Fatuous Phrase

The overused phrase concerning pops that "this is not your father's______" annoys particularly because nothing ever is. Nobody is their father's father or has his experiences.

A father's role is always evolving. Among other changes in this generation, they have to come to terms with society (and maybe a spouse, kids or even themself) recognizing they might be the bread-butterer in the home, not the breadwinner outside of it. There's also an increase in the number of places fathers can get together at programs and conferences to learn how to be their best self.

And each dad is and will be a father in his own way (and never exactly like his father). Going back in time to the shooting of the 1980s campaign that introduced the TINYF's blank cliche into the lexicon offers an interesting lesson in fatherhood. Wiliam Shatner — whose own father was a conservative Jewish clothier in Montreal — starred in one of earliest segments of the "This Is Not Your Father's Oldsmobile" campaign with Melanie Shatner, the youngest of his three daughters. During a downtime early in the morning he was overheard offering his daughter the fatherly advice about the good that comes from amphetimines while shooting commercials at such an ungodly hour, as well as why you sometimes have to put up with duct tape over your breasts.

With any luck we'll get to retire the phrase, because if it is happening today it is never your father's blank (unless it actually is your father's and then let's try to not make quite such a fuss).

Friday, January 23, 2009

Beautiful Defeats Hellish

How to define fatherhood? The experience can be simple and beautiful and it can be complex and hellish.

To support the C&H side we can look to attorney Tommy De Seno and his essay on how prior to birth, biological fathers should be able to go before a judge to receive a legal (not biological) abortion. The father's goal is to tie or separate themselves to/from their child in a manner completely opposite to that of the biological mother. There is also the pleading of incarcerated "deadbeat dad" Michael Smith, who — while saying nothing of why he hasn't paid his child support — does make the point that he can't visit or non-monetarily support his kids while, "second- and third-offense drunken drivers get as little as five days in jail, and second-offense thieves get as little as five days in jail...." And, as if another story was needed to support the dark side web of what fatherhood can or should mean, the Kansas legislature is deciding what to do about a law that makes three children of a soldier receive less than a full share of his money because the ex-wife of their father had a child with another man, while married to their dad.

It would be enough to give up all hope for fatherhood, except there is the other side as well. The glory of the good can be heard in the talk of father Ed Miller Jr. and son EJ. among a discussion filled with love is the father's advice to fathers that they, "Try to remember every single minute of that time when your son or your daughter thinks that Daddy is the greatest thing in the world — when you walk in the door, that the sun is shining because Daddy walks in."

Those moments don't last long enough, but they are strong enough to overwhelm the darkness.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Oscar nominations are announced, which can only mean one thing. It's time to complain that we need more films about fathers.

Already in the running for next year's award as Best Foreign Language film is the just-released Italian production, "Four Single Fathers," filmed in the US as well as Italy and an advertised comedy of men dealing with kids and ex-wives.

Two movies waiting to be made — actually, waiting for the treatments to be created, sold, scripted and then filmed — is the story of Gary Johnson, who is being asked to choose between paying the $3,800 hospital bill for the birth of his daughter or marry the mother. Obviously, he should take care of his child, but that shouldn't require him to marry the mom. So, two questions that could drive the plotting: 1) why hasn't he paid the money already; 2) Could he marry and then divorce or annul to get out of the bill?

The other movie-to-be concerns golf. (GOLF! Are you listening Hollywood? People, apparently, love watching others take this ball-whacking walk.) Paul Goydos, 44, is taking time from his journeyman ways on the tour to take care of the daughters who have been in his custody since his divorce from their mother, who has just died. Naturally, in the film, he will come back to the tour a greater man and outduel Tiger Woods at some major major golf championship.

And that's what we have to look forward to moviewise.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Not Just Dancing

Dances to dads take various forms, some more fathomable than others.

Various father-daughter dances are scheduled for the next few weekends (pre-Valentines Day, but in possible conflict with the Super Bowl) to try and bridge the usually unbridgeable chasm between what a dad knows and what his teen or pre-teen thinks he should.

Then there is the choreographed movement of Welshman Marc Rees and two friends which will be performed as a tribute to their fathers. For Rees, his father's passing from cancer at 78, left him with memories and the seed of gratitude for who he became, that evolved into "3 Men Running,". Says Rees, "We were very close. My father was a very quiet man but I would ask him to do crazy things, such as be filmed for my work, and although he sometimes didn’t understand what it was about, he would do it. He was incredibly devoted."

Finally, there is the bizarre dance of life/death (?) fromRobert Farley, 63, who on New Year's Eve grooved to The Temptations' "Papa Was a Rollin Stone" after having killed his 93 year old dad. Reportedly, his dad disapproved of him dumping his terminally ill wife.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Better Be Good

Barack Obama's letter to his daughters isn't really a letter to co-stars of today's inauguration, Malia and Sasha, as much as it is a political pronouncement. Still, it is framed in love for his child and he clearly recognizes the work he does for all, he really does for his daughters ... or as Malia said about his speech, his whole presidency, in fact the acts of anyone who takes his role as father seriously, "...Better be good."

There is a lot to do:

But, dads, Yes We Can

Monday, January 19, 2009


Be of service. It's what fathers do.

By vote of the U.S. congress and very gradual acceptance by the states, today is the day that Martin Luther King is honored with a federal holiday. The honor to King — father of two boys and two girls — has always been with respect to what he did for others. This year, the day in his honor has become one promoting service.

So think of service, as did Iraq casualty First Sgt. Charles Monroe King, who although he was not a writer, scribbled more than 200 pages for his newborn son before he was killed. His wife expanded those love letters into "A Journal for Jordan," As a model for service he gave everything for his country and all that he could for his son.

Today, everyday, be a father who does that or even more.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tut Daddy

This week's objet d'Ebay honors Chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities Zahi Hawass pronouncement that there is proof King Akhenaten was the father of the mummy we know as King Tut.

No doubt, Tut [Earlier: Tut Tut and Judgement Days], whose crib is currently displayed in Atlanta, will be relieved not to live (well be dead) any longer with the world snickering over what kind of bastard he might be. However, even a king could use some scratch, which is why if he had to choose being a bastard or lining his pocket, he'd probably prefer his own coins, like Egypt's King Tut currency currently on auction. Actually, it may be a bit late, but is still has to be a relief to know (and have everyone else know as well) who your father is.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fat Dad Daze

Join the fat dad daze here at the WC. It's just a theme, not a celebration. And it's not even fat, technically, when we take note of the fictive biopic, Notorious, a celluloid hagiography of Christopher Wallace — known rappishly both as Notorious B.I.G. and Biggie Smalls — where the son, CW Jr., plays the dad, whose own father abandoned him.

The fat in "fat daddy" doesn't have to be real. It can be a "training" tool such as the 30 lb. baby belly the South Lake Hospital straps to fathers-to-be. The idea is that giving fathers all the discomforts of motherhood with none of the benefits will make them better partners.

That plan might work for some, but one man who has many of the discomforts of mothers has been ruled as not fit for the benefits. The City Council of Leeds declared Damien Hall too fat to be allowed to adopt a child.

To sum up today's FDD: we have a real man turned on screen into fake fat dad, fake fat and a real desire denied thanks to real fat. What a world.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Father Features

For those planning some couch potato time a few months from, keep an eye on some dads who will shortly be moving from screen to DVD.

The biggest pop in terms of stardom and girth is real-life father of two, Kevin James who stars as a single dad in Paul Blart: Mall Cop — and not the Kevin James who wrote Surviving the Single Dad Syndrome. Released today, the reviews are less than kind, but the slapstick save of his screen daughter who is taken as a screen hostage should keep it on the Blockbuster shelves for a few years to come.

Real life single fathers in Baltimore will be mostly unexposed to the multiplexes prior to the release of their lives to DVD. A dozen stay at home dads and their daily strife and successes are the subject of Michael Ivan Schwartz's documentary Happy SAHD.

A movie, whose distribution will fall somewhere between the megascreen release of Blart and handful of arthouse "success" of SAHD is Peter Bratt's La Mission, the tale of a father who rejects and then rediscovers his son.

Naturally, when it's movie night, make sure you have plenty of POPcorn on hand.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Child, Dearest

There's a fable waiting to be written about who is the best son for a father to have.

It will incorporate someone like AC Milan striker Kaka, whose father Bosco Leite may get to decide whether or not he will accept an offer to earn a weekly £500,000 in return for kicking a ball (albeit into a net) on at least a fairly regular basis. There will be characters in it like Flintshire's (UK) Kevin Gaskell, 50, and 18-year-old son Matt, who went walkabout round the South Pole to raise some money in memory of father Gaskell's sister Jayne. However, the winner of the whose-the-best-child-to-have contest will be simple, humble Wen Wen, 38, from Xi'an in Central China. W2 walked into a hospital with a knife buried in his head thanks to his father and his only concern was for his 76-year-old pa who'd taken a runner: ""He's old but sane and rational and I've no idea why he did it. I'm worried that he might think he's in trouble now and won't come back to the family."

And now we await the modern Aesop to craft the tale.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ultimate (Fictional) Fathering Championship

Into the octagonal ring stride the two competitors. From the land of TV comedy/drama strolls bumbling then humbling "Eight is Enough's" Dick Van Patten. Emerging out of the ice fog of "reality TV" is beleaguered, ostensibly laid back Jon Gosselin of "Jon and Kate plus 8."

Patten played the married then widowed then married newspaper reporter father of eight children from 1997 to 1981. Gosselin, who told a recent interviewer that in one of the surprises to fatherhood he had lost his job shortly before his wife gave birth to sextuplets (adding to the twins they already had), is now "employed" as host to a production crew three days a week who shoot him acting like a dad; co-author of a new book, Multiple Blessings; and co-producer of a website peddling Gosselin-branded stuff.

It is much easier to debate the numerous cultural issues and clashes highlighted in the two shows than it is to debate "who is the better dad." And it is impossible to imagine there being much entertainment if they really were to slug it out, given their shared Pillsbury Doughboy(dad) shapes. The real excitement for the couch potato living on the edge (of naptime) is, "if they were real" or "in real life" would Dick (who did have two sons in real life) or Jon be the better dad?

So, who wins?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Don't Give Up (and don't sell your daughter)

For those new fathers about to give up when they feel stumped by a baby's crying, there is only one piece of advice: don't quit, the challenges will only get more interesting.

You might go from tree surgeon to wheelchair bound father of a 3-year-old who occasionally goes running off in the mall, like British writer . You might end up like upstate New Yorker Jeff Davey's, a single father of four boys, aged six to 13. You might even end have to put up living as the butt (and father of the butt) of mockery until you end up with a battleship commissioned in your honor (as POTUS 43 Bush gave to papa 41 did). But where fatherhood takes you, it will be interesting and you shouldn't give up.

And, needless to say, no matter how frustrating things are, you absolutely should not act like a California pop and sell your daughter for $16,000 in cash, 150 cases of beer, 150 cases of soda, several cases of meat and two cases of wine. It may seem like a pretty good price at the time, but it probably won't work out well.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Comedic Daddying

The Sundance premiere is set for World's Greatest Dad [Earlier: On the One Hand, On the Other ...], which will no doubt inspire at least a couple thoughts on the fathersomeness of Robin Williams.

He made for a great film cousin perhaps from his Mork & Mindy self and a heckuva a screen mom as shown with Mrs. Doubtfire, but he certainly hasn't made much of a dad impression. He is the real life father of three, but once again we must face that life is harder than it appears on screen. Williams can be funny, but that doesn't seem to be helping out in the World Best Dad contest, in case that suggests anything about his Oscar chances. Any chance he has passed it along in the genes?

Perhaps he just needs more focused source (and not biographical) material about being a father? If that is the case, he could do a lot worse than take a look at the new Granta 104 (the British literary review), with its theme of dads and kids.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Poster Dad

Got a few moments? Knock off some humorous tales of dad. Clarence Day Jr. knocked off some sketches of Sr. and family life in the late 1800s and early 1900s , which resulted in his first book, Life with Father. From the 1935 book came the 1939 play — which became Broadway's longest non-musical — and eventually the movie.

It is the movie that serves as subject for this week's objet d'eBay, a poster featuring stars Irene Dunne, William Powell and Elizabeth Taylor (as Clarence Day Jr. ?) Was every story exactly true to life? Unforutnately, nobody had the chance to ask Day as he passed shortly after finishing the book and before it became a hit.

Moral of the story? Write and honor your dad soon so you can enjoy the success his stories and your talent will bring.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bonding via TV

Television has the presumed power to bond fathers and sons through shared viewing of sports. Could it have even more power to join than that?

Sunday morning will reveal — or at least give hints — to how close and how far away are Bush Presidents 41 and 43. Host Chris Wallace will show tape of his interview with HW and W as they chat like hens in the Fox (TV) house. The question of how far they go into how much the son is a chip off the old block (for bad and often for worse) will be the ratings generator, although the more intriguing story is how history will forever bond them.

Counting on the magic of TV is Bill Wightman, who is now on the airwaves begging for the chance to do his final bonding with his dad. It seems the St. Catherine (Ontario) man bet his wife someone would break into his pickup within 30 days of his putting cameras in position to film the perp. He won the bet, but in the process he lost his father, whose ashes were in an urn destined to accompany Bill on the trip to the Dominican Republic where many of them would be spread.

Television: view it or lose it.

Friday, January 9, 2009

As the Child Turns

It happens to the best as well as the lesser dads. At some point, a child turns on them. Most often the father manages the situation. But not always.

Sometimes the little pain in the neck is a bit more serious and should be dealt with more severely than dad is prepared to. Such is the sad tale of Clarence Layne, who discovered his lack of papa preparedness thanks to the stab wound inflicted by son Jeffrey. The 47-year-old family scion was of the strong belief that his father, 71, is the devil.

Occasionally, the child is encouraged by others to turn on dad. Thus was Patrick Allerton, 63, ratted out by his school age daughter, probably ending his days as nickel and dime (bag) entrepreneur.

Whenever it happens, it is a good source of drama — although what's made of that source material can vary — as is whatever source material was used for Yonkers Joe, the new movie whose plot hinges to some degree on the tantrums of (downs-syndrome suffering) Joe Jr. aimed at not-so-good-old dad.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Imagining Steve

OMG!!! It's like the Three Faces of Eve, if Eve were named Steve, the star of a daddy's life mashup. LOL!!! Whatever. As if.

Or, to be clearer, what does it mean for the idea of fatherhood when pop culture deconstructs itself in such a way that: (1) print and digital media can "celebrate" (basically) single dad Jamie Spears given legal control of daughter Britney, 27, for the rest of her (and his?) life; (2) single dad Jason Mesnick can be objectified and made to look silly as part of ABC's The Bachelor ... a role that MomLogic fairly points out would never be allowed for a single mom; and that (3) Finnish opera celebrates the pop who got offed in the war as he is missed in Ollie Kortekangas's Isän tyttö (Daddy’s Girl).

Today's assignment is to create the MySpace page for Steve, legally burdened by a poptart who is searching for love while dodging (ultimately futiley) the dogs of war.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Crusin' with Pitt

Can a real father profit (i.e., get some feelgood) by encouraging a mom or mom-to-be or absolutely-not (as in hot)-mom to consider some dad on dad action (and by that we mean

Papa Cruise

Pops Pitt?

If you think it can, then it's time to get the romance going by talking of Tom Cruise's interest (probably according to his publicist) in having 10 kids to enjoy with Katie in order to make up for his own sad relationship with his dad.

Then, quickly follow up — using the soulful eyes stare — with how much you admire the wisdom Brad Pitt has found as a father, including his (publicist's) admission that life couldn't get better than when you're changing diapers.

The lucky dad who gets visions of a shirtless Cruise and Pitt dancing in the head of his (at least temporarily) adored is likely in for a more enjoyable time than the men who may get a hypothetical year off for new daddy duty under the proposal of British lawmaker Nicholas Clegg.

And if a father shouldn't profit by a fellow, then who should he gain some nookie by?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Nature v. Nurture

Once more the nature/nurture (heredity v. environment) argument appears to be over. Men who come from a long line of males are — according to a new study — most likely to father baby boys; if there are more XXs than XYs hanging off the genetic family tree then dad is statistically more likely to bring forth a girl.

Similarly, the father who robs gravestones (like Demetrius Lanier, 35, of Albany, N.Y.) is most likely to give birth to a son who robs gravestones (like Shateek Lanier, 19, of Troy, N.Y.). As for environment, both are now in custody.

Naturally, the same can be said for the father who passes bad Jacksons (we're talking about you Timothy Work, 49, of Davie, Fla.). He is most likely to have a daughter with paper problems as well (exhibit a: Lisa J. Work, 21). Intriguingly, heredity may predict, but the environment for these ne'er do wells is also jail, for now at least.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Dreaming and Scheming

Headlines in France (and about current French news) are asking Who's The Daddy of Justice Minister Rachida Dati's daughter Zohra. Some say that if the rumor is true that pops is President Sarkozy's bro it would explain how the mom has kept her job despite a fair amount of sniping about how she is handling her job.

The employment drama of former Florida governor Jeb Bush also is making some headlines as his father declared his son "as qualified and as able as anyone I know in the political scene" to be president. Many oberservers of the Bush family dynamic have long whispered that this was true for POTUS 41 long before and certainly during the reign of error of Jeb brother, POTUS 43 ... and cinematic W.

Sometimes how the dad paves the way is obvious — as in the case of California 10-year-old Paris, who is unlikely to be an author of multiple books without her dad, a publishing company president, helping out. Other times, you know the dad is behind the success of his child — as is seen as Jastie Singka heads off to school, the son of an elementary school graduate but determined father — , but it is time that will tell the story of how much and what kind of favor the scion will discover.

The public may be unaware of Zohra's father is thinking, but it is nearly certain he is dreaming and scheming some beautiful future for his daughter ... in case he is able to take the opportunities available to give it to her.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Coincidental News?

Among the things too imponderable to waste any (well, much anyways) time on is why good dads and their kids have to suffer.

Within two days, the Aberdeen (Scotland) Evening Express was headlining the death of two. The 1 January paper reported the brutal, stabbing death of 47-year-old pipe fitter Raymond Brennan, a father of two. Two days later came the news of the death of Morris Wood, who died from cancer days after learning he was suffering. The 42-year-old Buckie, Scotland, man was "a brilliant father" according to his oldest daughter, whose father died under similar circumstances.

The stories of the tragedy of a good father could have come from anywhere and at any time. Still, did the Evening Express editors take a meeting to consider whether this is any way to begin to cover a new year? Or are they just the victims of "the odds?"

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Splinter off the Old Block

This week's objet d'eBay, a 1958 Fleer's trading card of Splendid Splinter Ted Williams and daughter Barbara Joyce ("Bobby Jo") is a new year's reminder to capture the good times.

Williams was finally out of the marine corps (he flew twice, eight years apart), three years from his final at bat (a home run) and at the beginning of another of his [17] all-star seasons. As for Barbara Joyce, she was about 10 years from being the half sister to the two children from Williams' second marriage and more than 40 years before she began the legal battle with them over whether their by-then perished dad would go into eternity through fire (cremation was her choice) or ice (the younger two insisted dad wanted to be cryonically maintained).

** For those paying attention and wondering: Yes, this is a Sunday feature that somehow snuck into a Saturday posting. Nobody can satisfactorily explain why. **

Friday, January 2, 2009

Arise In the Mourning

"I am ready to die 100 times to bring back my daughters," mourns Palestinian day laborer Anwar Balousha in mourning the five girls who lost their lives when the family's house was destroyed as collateral damage to the destruction of its neighbor, a Hamas controlled Mosque.

Noam Schalit, father of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, will not speak at all as the fate of his son — a celebrity captive — is being decided by fatherswho have the bombs of their sworn enemies raining on their heads and those of their families.

Nizar Rayan, a top Hamas leader who had once sent his own son on a suicide mission to kill Israelis was killed along with nine of his 12 children, when a 2,000-pound bomb landed on his home.

Will the next step be the bombing of nuclear facilities?

Hate drinks fathers' tears.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Letting Go (?)

With the new year comes the question of what do you let go of to move forward and what do you keep to help you plot your way?

In some cases it's an easier question to answer than in others. So, we applaud Jay Richardson's plan to put a slightly used 16-gauge coffin on eBay to see what bread he can dig up. It's not as if his father,rock and roll pioneer The Big Bopper, will need it any more after being exhumed and (re)autopsied 48 years after the plane taking him to his next gig crashed in an Iowa cornfield.

As quixotic as it may have seemed, it also seems right that John and Bruce Abele didn't give up their search until they found the WWII sub in which their dad sank. He and they can now rest in peace.

It is also clear that Lon Adams, 58, of Metaire, La., needed to share his father with the world sooner than he was willing to. He said he last saw his dad a bit over two years ago when he headed up to bed and that he hadn't checked on him since. Police chose not to accept the story of how they came to find the bones of the 81-year-old man staring at the bedroom ceiling.

However, what should be counseld for Long Beach 5-year-old Dieon Rin? His father has been permanently banished to Cambodia and it is not clear if they will ever get a chance to see each other again. Does he let go and begin to build his life or does he never let go of the dream of being reunited?

It's a new year. Which way is the right way to go?