Saturday, October 31, 2009

Living in the Dadows

It doesn't happen often, but there are some dadows (generational shadows cast by near superhuman fathers) that are too large to escape, no matter how grand the child's accomplishments. In My Father's Shadow, the autobiography of Chris Welles Feder creater of the Brainquest empire) details what it is like to be successful in your own life but the child of genius — in her case auteur Orson Welles.

There is almost an affirmative action stigma ("you only got to that place with help...") to any achievement of the daughter or son of a GREAT man. So, even though, for example, Bernice King is accomplished as a reverend and attorney and (combining the two) as a toiler for civil rights, an article "celebrating" her election to president of the Southern Christian Leadership Council says little more about her personally than that she is the daughter of a great man, who was one of those who initiated the group and that her election is under a cloud of suspicion.

So, congrats to both Feder and King, but sympathies too: alas, you'll never be your own man.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Twin Musings

Are twins really twice as much joy, two times the trouble? You could ask the father, but how would he know ... it's not as if he has conducted a scientific experiment to compare his feelings with test and control subjects.

Still, for interesting opinions on new twins, you could probably do worse than to ask Nguyen Duc (a Siamese twin separated from his brother who has just given birth to fraternal twins) or Richard Roden, 71, who impregnated his 25-year-old wife with what have turned out to be twins to the oldest Brit pop of twins and previous father of a mere 10.

So far, though, Roden is offering much more than cliches:

Being a dad at 71 is definitely more tiring than in my 20s, but they give me such a lot of pleasure; and, I wouldn’t swap them for anything – not even winning the lottery. They have made my life complete.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Listen Up

Advice for new fathers come in all forms. There are the columns of collected wisdom such as the easy column for new dad journalists to phone in. And then there are the men who want to talk of themselves as they talk of their kids. Presumably with tongue stuck somewhere in his cheek is unacceptableface, offering "My thoughts on this momentous occasion. Probably one of the most important, inspiring videos on youtube." Including such revelations as:

  • Mother and baby both very good. I mean, if I'm forced to choose, I'd probably prefer the baby.
  • It was only when I looked at little face that I realized ... quite ... how incredible I am.I created life.
  • I'm not saying I'm better than someone who hasn't gotten a child; I obviously am.
Almost reluctantly, he reveals the important stats. Eight pounds (and 40 pence) to pay for parking.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Have a Heart, Pop

Stefani Germanotta bought her dad a heart. First she wrote him a song (Speechless), but, apparently he didn't pay attention to her fears for his death so she spent a bit of her advance against music royalties. Not much newsworthy about this until you add that the father of SG is the pop of poptart Lady GaGa — who will be tattooing how she hearts dad to celebrate the successful surgery.

It would be nice if this idea would catch on — buying, not tattoing, the heart ... to be more specific — specifically in the case of Omar bin laden, who was offered some change to speak up about the father who beat him and encouraged him to become a suicide bomber. It is probably too late, but if some of the money from Growing Up Bin Laden were to be spent on getting a (presumably metaphorical) heart for the evil Osama it certainly couldn't make things worse.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Genius of Fictional Autobiography

The son loses his father to war without ever knowing him. His mother remarries and the newlyweds rename the boy (both middle and last name), not yet five. He has a learning disorder, but grows up quiet, a bit odd, a wrestler and, eventually, a writer in search of father characters.

Such is the biography of writer John Irving. Such are many of the works of Irving. And, with some variations on his usual themes, such is the new novel, "Last Night in Twisted River," that is a picaresque quest of father and son, begun when the child skillets the cranium of a woman, fearing she is a bear instead of a mistress (and his sitter) looming above his pleasured father in flagrante delicto.

In writing his fictional fathers and sons, Irving is in search of himself. Still, the magic is that his words, somehow also turn out to be the same search — yet unique to each — of many other dads and their children.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Baby Baby Daddies

Baby daddies keep getting younger. Not "baby daddy" as in some unmarried guy who impregnates an unmarried gal. No, here — as in the saga of the anonymous (so far) 13-year-old Brit and his 14-year-old baby mama — we are talking about boys, practically babies, who have done the deed and implanted the seed.

It's very sad. Maybe cake and candles would make it better?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

There's a Soup in My Mouse

Television folk often seem like the family. They're not. They're folks who have family of their own. Today, as we say ciao bello to Milton Supman — video anarchist (nihilist?) Soupy Sales, who passed this past Thursday — we also remember his Top 40 hit, this week's objet d'eBay, Do The Mouse.

But the man of The Mouse is also father to two sons, Hunt and Tony Sales, who became the legitimate musicians (although in rock, not his father's beloved jazz) that it seemed daddy Soup always wanted to be.

Here's to part of the Soupster's legacy, Hunt

and Tony Sales.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Shoe (and not you) Blues

In the LOL-crime of the century, adidas won't let Michael Jordan's son step into his shoes. Jordan senior is branded with sneak-maker Nike, while college frosh Marcus is being paid (sorry, scholarshipped) to play basketball for the University of Central Florida, which takes money to make sure all its hoopsters play with three stripes, no swoosh, on their feet.

While unlikely to draw the same headlines, a few other prominent kid-following-in-dad's-footsteps fights are under way. Chris Brubeck, 57, is struggling to get folks in the classic music world to pay attention to jazz and vice versa ... as well as trying to get everyone to accept he and brothers Darius and Dan as musicians with their own work instead of just the kids of "Take Five" and "Blue Rondo" daddy Dave, 88. Beau Biden has returned from war — the Delaware attorney general serves as a reservist in Iraq — and is apparently now fighting about whether or not to fight for his dad (VP Joe's) former senate seat. [Earlier: Veep Daddies]

And then there is Shannon Lee, who lost father Bruce when he was 32 and she was four. Her battle is for his "legacy." Well, maybe not his legacy, more like the $5 to $10 million you can snatch by licensing his image rather than let it being poorly marketed or just used by folks who don't pay the one's who own the iconography of a d(e)ad man.

Can we get sneaker deals all around?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Elephant Lessons

Making a point about youth violence, writer

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gentlemen, Vroom, Vroom

Celebrating fathers whose sons may well join them someday and a dad and little dude joined today, NASCAR announced its first Hall of Fame class.

In a May 2010 ceremony, Bill France Sr. and Jr. (the folks behind the success of NASCAR itself); will be enshrined along with Saint Dale "father of besainted Dale Jr." Earnhart; Richard Petty (father of current antagonist and probable future HOFer Kyle Petty); and Robert Glenn "Junior" Johnson, whose son racing Robert (no connection to bluesman Robert) Johnson is taking to the track while still in high school.

Fathers, sons and cars are such a natural fit, perhaps there is no need for a special HOF when pretty much any garage in any suburb could do just as well?c

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fabo Dado?

Rapper Fabolous is shooting a reality show that he says will show him "keeping it real" and (per twitter)"...tryin 2 balance that and being 'Fabolous'.. The show is based on da crazy, spontaneous, busy, traveling life of a entertainer & da loving, complicated, genuine journey of a new father."

It seems like a fairly ambitious agenda for a show. Is there any way he will be able to give his life as a new dad the perspective he offers in the his "Stay?" It seems unlikely, but maybe Fabolous will turn out to be a fabulous pop. Perhaps — if he can come across as sincere and determined and focused on his child on screen as via music — he'll even turn out to be a spectacular reality tv dad.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Every year I give Things 1 and 2 the same answer when they ask what I'll be for Halloween: "I will be a noyed." (Annoyed. They don't ask that much anymore, if the truth be told ... the joke wore thin probably even before I first told them.)

Dressing to excess and demanding bad candy isn't for everyone — me, for instance. However, there was the good point years ago when I got to see how happy it made T1 and T2. It has been many years since they wanted to hallowander with me ... but I don't think that's what turned me against the holiday.

Of course, not everyone agrees with my take. There are dads who embrace the holiday like a seasonal hadj. There are others who like it all, except for the costumes in extraordinary poor, bad, and even execrable taste.

And then there are dads who, at least according to actor, director, writer, producer Sky Soleil, take the family pranks to places it should not go. In short, fathers, never make your kids fear to lose face when they tell the story of "How My Dad Killed Dracula."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Working on It

Let's consider the artwork of the movie poster. This week's objet d'eBay advertises the remake of The Stepfather, getting its couple weeks of critical attacks in the theater before moving on in movie history,

A necktie? For a horror film?

There's supposed to be (or at least more of a hint) of nudity and violence. There's also supposed to be something of a plot and suspense. Actually, what's apparently needed in this movie are some of the bits that make an Apopka, Fla., stepdad's story so much more intriguing. In that case, steppa Wade Edwards came home from work early and shot the teen boy having sex with his teen step-daughter. Four shots. No death. But Nudity. Violence. Apparently all the elements of a horror movie, but no death.

The art of the stepfather film remains a work in progress.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sad: SAHD. Mad: MAHD(?)

Scot pop Paul Stevenson was wandering through his life as a father of three when the Tourette syndrome that may have always been latent manifest itself in the wake of a friend's suicide. Does he embarrass his kids more than most dads? Well just wait until they are teens.

What is noteworthy — politically speaking — regarding the article is the reference to Stevenson as "busying himself as a stay-at-home dad," as if referring to a man as a "SAHD" is the kind way to define someone as without a paying gig. Similarly, the term doesn't mean a man who looks after his kids, which is how it was used in an article seeming to proclaim one-half of all British men are staying at home to dad, (the article discusses a percentage of men who were studied and took at least a few days off to stay with their newborn). So what's going on in the lexicon with SAHD? Has it lost it's way or it is just being used in a sloppy manner by lazy reporters?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Now You See It, Now ...

From the yin and yang of the universe (or maybe just its flotsam and jetsam) comes tales of fatherhood.

There is retired Canadian bureaucrat Peter Aykroyd writing about the paranormal in A History of Ghosts: The True Story of Seances, Mediums, Ghosts and Ghostbusters. The tale is some history and bits of family history and its multigenerational search into the closets of the spirit world, culminating most likely with Peter's son Danny (star of the 1984 hit Ghostbusters).

And then there is dododad Anonymous (apparently by order of a Vancouver court) who sent himself to a hospital by applying to himself the circumcision skills he learned and honed via the internet before sending his 4-year-old son to the hospital by "practicing" what he preached as well. He said something about his religion ....

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Real Dad, Fake Dad ... Real Change, Mistake

There was a certain lush beauty (perhaps "lusher" is the more correct word) to the Congo that many see as lost to a changed environment. "Those are memories my children won't have," announced René Ngongo, a 48-year-old father, citing his four children as an inspiration for his attempts along with Greenpeace to reforest and improve social justice in his native land. For his work. Ngongo was awarded this year's Right Livelihood Award and among the reasons he should be admired is for serving as a real symbol of a father doing something for climate change.

Unfortunately, there's another father also currently serving the interest of those combating climate change who is doing damage ... and will likely be getting more press than this year's winner of "the alternate Nobel." (The unalternate Nobel, it should be noted, was awarded to a father humbled by how his two took the news). Members of the British government have chosen to hold a father up to ridicule by having him read a children's book on climate change to his daughter.

The fake dad with a confusing message — all will dry up and die and probably tomorrow ... if nothing is done — will invite ridicule to the goal of encouraging people to conserve and care for the resources of this planet. The ridiculousness of the messenger will be used by many as an excuse to pay even less attention to the message the advert's sponsors wanted to convey. It is a shame the presumably good-hearted advertisers couldn't simply have put their resources to promoting Ngongo. The same 1:01 of YouTube simplicity featuring his work, children and the planet would have had much more resonance for their cause ... and wouldn't have done the damage to the image of fathers as people unable to convey a sophisticated situation to their children.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Age of Adoption

Two together today in truth and rumors around adopting fathers are the unlikely duo of Ernie Banks and Ashton Kutcher.

Banks, 79, the hall of fame Chicago Cub shortstop and father of twins, has just adopted a baby girl. Kutcher, who is still "in production" for the currently 2010 scheduled "Like Father" (about a father and son who have babies at the same time) finds himself on the other side of good news. Kutcher's on the other side that is, if you believe the rumor mill saying his wife, Demi Moore, 46, has decided she is too old to adopt (take that Ernie!) with the Ash-man, age 31, and that he'll just have to continue to make-do, fatherwise, as step-pop to her three daughters with Bruce Willis, ages 20, 17 and 15.

With hope of fatherhood forever springing eternal, perhaps 58 years from now Kutcher will finally get his chance.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Prezzy Perks

Imagine a U.S. president putting off a state visit at a delicate time in order to help prep his daughter for mid-terms. For one man, that is enough to help him put aside longtime enmity against former POTUS Clinton and, at least, concede he was a good dad.

Based on the new Taylor Branch reminisce, "The Clinton Tapes," it seems Clinton was disciplined in only one area: giving daughter Chelsea the devoted father Clinton himself never had. He showed up on time at ballet recitals and pretty much kept her out of the limelight and away from politics ... a very different tact from the one of French President Sarkozy, who seems well on his way to setting son Jean [Earlier: L of H] up for life as a political piñata.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not Quite Hitting the Mark

In an interview with the Toronto Globe and Mail about his collection of essays about dadding, Manhood for Amateurs, Michael Chabon touches on the low standards by which most fathering behavior is judged in addition to his own belief that a father fails every day (although he seems to judge that failure as missing a bar set much higher than is common). However, it should be mentioned that fathers do have help in the failure from their kids. A not unusual type of help — if still, fortunately, rather uncommon — a teen took his dad's Porsche for a joyride and joyrid it (again, fortunately as nobody was hurt) over a 70-foot drop.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saint Lenny Sale

This week's objet d'eBay, "To Is a Preposition, Come is a Verb," serves notice that daughter Kitty (actually, Brandy Kathleen) is letting go of the material that binds her to her father, comedic saint Lenny Bruce. For two weeks, the tchochkes of his life that the 53 -year-old has kept since his 1966 passing will be available through auction — details at

The auction is to raise funds for charity, an act of making the world better that the elder Bruce would have approved. No thanks are necessary for the act: just accept the kindness and don't feel it necessary to pry too far into the private affairs of the giver.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Political Battles

There is not-so-happy news to report from the father-daughter politico front.

To begin, Florida mayor Stacy Ritter has apparently pissed off her daddy big time. Ed Portner, 84, was so irked at his daughter's politics that he took to drink and waving a gun around, assualt and burgling his daughter's home. Portner, who is currently out on $25,000 bail, pledges to continue his campaign for mayor a town near his daughter's .... and despite her having already endorsed her father's opponent, the incumbent, even before his latest rampage.

While Portner is understandably down, perhaps he might take some solace for the even more uncomfortable position of Filipino father Marino Morales, the incumbent mayor of Mabalacat, Pampanga. Morales daughter Marjorie not only disagrees with his politics she is actually running against him, despite dad's prayers to the contrary.

That daddy-daughter thing can be tricky. Perhaps it's only fair to blame the mums?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Baby Daddy, Baby

We're a bit late to the party on talking up this idea that seeing "baby daddy" in the headline can only mean scandal. It's particularly enticing for short articles referring to Hollywood hunks. This is not to suggest that there can't be scandal when a headline includes the more traditional "baby's daddy," as in "I'm That Baby's Daddy: Priest" (all about the looming custody battle between Catholic priest David Dueppen and his stripper baby mama). It's just that there's much more ring to saying BD, for example, than for the equal in meaning "baby father."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Adopt Me, If You Can

Much of fatherhood is wending one's way through the gray areas. Among the places with the thickest fog is the island nation of Adoption.

Sometimes it is hard to even get to find the place as was the case of Alabaman Andrew Scott. The 20-year-old may have lost his child because he didn't put his name on a state registry claiming fatherhood within 30 days of the birth to his one-time partner of the baby boy. That he didn't know he was the father until after the deadline has proven — so far according to state courts — no excuse. His son now lives with adoptive parents a couple uncrossable miles away.

While Scott is fighting for his day in court, he might take some inspiration from South Africa's Jose Williams, who fought and won the right to his daughter's custody almost 2 years after his ex-partner offered her for adoption — approximately two months prior to going into labor.

He might also be happy to hear that an Irish court overturned the adoption of a man's 8-year-old by his ex-partner's new husband, when he had never been informed that it was even in the works. (Of course, one man's happiness can be another father's regret ... what's a not-even-step-dad to want and do?)

To the dads above who might miss out on their kids by not being married, it woudl seem that the "piece of paper" would be the key to being named father. In truth, even that is no guarantee. For example, two New York dads are currently fighting in a U.S. Appeals court against the state of Louisiana because, although married to each other, only one of them can be officially listed as the father of the child they are adopting out of the Bayou.

Admittedly, the best interests of the child should be premiere over those of the adult, but at least from the cursory review above, it does not seem to always be the GPS a father can use getting to and finding his way around the land of Adoption.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Picking Flicks

There may well be a looming box office battle between "dad is a doofus" and "dad is divine." New Line Cinema is trying to bring to life a sequel to "National Lampoon's" Vacation. The new film, likely featuring Chevy Chase as dork deluxe dad Clark Griswold, will focus on how the next new generation of Griswold father wanders cluelessly about. Against, that image of fathers, songstress Beyonce Knowles has begun talking up a movie masterpiece based on the life of papa Matty, the man who has guided her career from Houston to Hollywood (with at least one alleged controversial sidetrip for himself).

Odds on who wins between in the cine battle between doofus and divine?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Dreams change. Few dads dreamed as boys of their days changing diapers and sitting in the stands watching their kids play out what they wish to be doing.

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far away and long ago (i.e., prior to having a combined five kids) Scott Coane, 34, and brother Craig, 38, — self-proclaimed juke box heroes — dreamed of being 80s hair-rock stars. Now the Orinda, Calif., duo have found a new vision of life fulfillment, "parodying" adult hits by adding kidcentric lyrics. They're unlikely to outparody Nina Yankovic's dad Al [Earlier: Double Daddy Dare], but there are certainly worse ways for fathers to change than living out dreams of lipsyncing on the playground.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Book It, Baby

Certain things just are. And some of those things are more than enough to give pause. For example, Charlotte Hornets star Chris Paul is the father of 4-month-old Chris Paul II and first time author, with the kids' book Long Shot: Never Too Small to Dream. Biologically correct, but somewhat paternally unsettling, the babe took ninth months from conception to delivery while the 32-page book took two years.

Friday, October 2, 2009

We'll Get to "Kidnapping" by School Week 16

As sweet as it is that Oak Grove Primary School kindergarten has a whole week devoted to a "Date with Dad," it is a bit worrisome that the class is scheduled to only master one letter a week (DwithD is the fourth, "D," week of school). Are these Mississippi kids no tgoing to be able to spell and use in a sentence the word "dumb" until the 21st week when it's "U's" turn to be mastered?

Unfortunately, fathers coming to school and being a special part of their childrens' lives is something Tennessean Christopher Savoie can currently only dream about. He frets in a Japanese jail while prosecutors work out what the punishment should be for attempted kidnapping of his own children (assuming he actually did). It's a bit complex, but he's married in the US to a woman who is not his ex-wife/mother-of-his-children, but still technically wed to the Japanese woman who claims full custody and tried to cut him out of his son and daughter's life by hieing with them back to her native land of the rising sun (n.b, for Oak Grove Primary: it's "u" not "o").

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Coming Attractions

Not that unusual but worth noting: dads are all over the movies. Front and center in the main frame and coming soon to a theater near you.

Currently rolling out is "The Boys are Back," the tear-stained saga of a father who loses his wife to cancer and gains the lessons to be learned by bringing up two kids on his own. Working together for the first time are stunt father and son John and Jorel Reynolds. The two have been shooting the next "Narnia" film on location in Australia. And also currently in production is "Due Date," the tale of Robert Downey Jr. (a real-life father of one) needing to find a partner to get him home in time for the birth of his baby.

Now the dilemma for every movie going pop is whether hanging out in the dark for a couple hours of staring at the screen is going to help him escape his troubles or highlight them.