Monday, November 30, 2009

Enslaved vs. Freed

"I don't necessarily believe that the truth sets you free," says the woman whose father left her many mysteries about his life before, during and after his incarceration in Bergen-Belsen during World War II, "but I don't want to be enslaved by secrets." Despite that, Vicky Grandon will not share her father's real name when sharing his and her story, continuing his life's lessons of hiding who you are in case "they" are coming to get you.

Not even his name? Really? What's the worst thing you could admit, that your dad is now your "mom," as was the case Emily Wallis tracked down Clive, the man whose affair with her biological mom created the uncomfortable dynamic in which she lived with the man she thought was her father.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Comedy Yes, Sleep and Kitsch No

One father's kitsch is another dad's crap. So, while someone must purchase this sort of thing, the only thing that occurs when squinting at this week's objet d'eBay, a wall decoration in bronze of a baby's head and (presumably) daddy's back, is "who really thought or thinks this is a good idea or arty-but-true embodiment of father and child?"

Each father may have this sort of magic moment occassionally — although few experience it in bronze — when he is at one with his child. More often are the patches of endless time when a father would give almost anything to get around the evil gatekeeper between him and sleep, his "anti-child." In neither case does kitsch seem appropriate or representative. More accurately (assuming one is looking at the father and not being him), "comedy" describes another father's pain and attempts to do best for baby and himself:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

From Nothing Evolves the Ultimate Father

From nothing something ... and something extraordinary. That is the only way to explain how it is that James Earl Jones (whose father was out of his life before he was in it) has come to play Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams (who had a strained to the point of near nothing relationship with his own father). James, voice also of (anti-father) Darth Vadar and Lion King Mustafa, among his many other roles, is in fact the father figure extraordinaire in the play that celebrates the role in grand style.

Quite the human equation: an actor without a dad plus a role written by a man without a positive relationship with his dad somehow creates the ultimate father figure. How does this sort of thing happen?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Why Unfold Mystery

It would be probably be helpful for fathers to understand fate a bit better so as to provide a steadier hand in leading children and grandchildren (and, hopefully, great- and perhaps even great-greatgrandchildren).

Still, the mystical blending of suffering and glee that is existence is a tough nut to crack, so to speak. How can one adequately pull apart the strands of being that cause a dad of three who has been unemployed for more than a year to win the lottery. What kind of example of higher thinking could it be that causes a 44-year-old man who breaks a finger playing with his son to die while the pinky is being treated. And what exactly could be the straight and narrow for a guy to follow that leads from holding his daughter after living with the mother he no longer cares for down the wedding aisle and to the point where he holds grandchildren he cares for with all his heart.

Of course, while understanding life might be helpful, it is a key to dads that they do try to make everything work, so it is also very possible they might lose some interest in the whole thing.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Who's My Daddy?!?!

Saturday, Nov. 21, was National Adoption Day in the United States. Fathers and their children celebrated in Olathe (Kansas), Plattsburgh (New York), Dallas (Texas), Rockford (Illinois) ....

Pretty much across the country EXCEPT (we are pretty sure) for one household in LA, where the joy of adoption and love of a child for the parents who took him in has had a dark cloud cast over it. Matthew Roberts, 41, went in search of his biological father only to find his genes are those of satanic crazy Charles Manson. Happy NAD, indeed.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

No, I didn't Say 'Rabbit Ears'

This week's objet d'eBay, a window decal declaring a mammalian parental relationship, may well be something to stock up on. Thanks to scientific advances, rabbit penises can now be grown ... and perhaps someday attached to humans much as we now have other animal organs transplanted to humans. Sometime in the future, f***ing like a bunny could well be taking on a whole new meaning: get your sticker before they run out.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Witnesses for the Defense?

It's not looking good for Barack Hussein Obama Sr., father of seven, including U.S. President Obama [Earlier: Dreams and Don't Lose Out to the Gatekeeper] and his half brother, Mark Okoth Obama Ndesandjo.

The two, who got together for a few minutes recently when the president was in China, have both written books about their father. The President's is more about what he missed with his father gone; Ndesandjo's is a novel featuring an abusive man, with the author claiming that it is very much based in his own reality.

So, Sr. have five more kids who can weigh in to defend him, but given the first two pieces evidence, it's not looking good at all for him during his trial in the court of history.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Drop Your Weapon

Can it really be true that one in five divorcing spouses (women, it seems from a recent article on why dads often get "the blame") admit to using the kids and custody as a weapon?

The only good news from that line of questioning is that if it is a weapon, it seems to be losing its effectiveness as courts are more likely to make sure fathers receive equal time with the kids and (in learning valuable lessons from unfortunate circumstances) second-time-around divorcers are smarter about making sure they get their time with their kids.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Followers

There's the old saw to "lead, follow or get out of the way," but that's not quite how it works with the son-father dynamic. In most cases, sons can only choose to follow — as in the case of Bill Fisher, son of Gap Founder Don Fisher and newly appointed to his late father's seat on the company board — or let go — as Ted Kennedy Jr. has chosen to do with regard to the election for his late father's Senate seat.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Let's Use Fathers to Make Big Bucks


That's the WD prediction for the box office gross of Courageous, a movie coming soon to a pulpit near you, aimed at the primarily caucasian, prosperity and Pentacostal church audiences who brought $33 mill to Sherwood Productions for Fireproof.

So far (and thanks to a year of prayer and their belief that the results has been their God leading them thisaway), Sherwood has a movie name and a theme — four fathers in law enforcement forced by tragedy to look at themselves and others — and is asking for the prayers (and maybe pre-sales and bookings) of its intended audience as they go about actually writing and producing the film.

Naturally, they also have a marketing pitch. It's a good one, "calling men to rise up with strength and with leadership in their homes and with their families and with their children [and to] take the role of father as God intended" (as understood and interpreted by Sherwood).

Fathers forged from tragedy. Box office gold. Roll film.

Monday, November 16, 2009

In (e)volved

Acts around the world are taking place to get dads involved with their kids. It may not be much for wealthy men in the Philippines to start up a "Father's Action Network/Dad's for Life" program or for new fathers to get little cards from the British National Health Service telling them what to do so as to do better by their kids.

Still, it is something and even the tiniest jots of info about holding, burping, swaddling and diapering can't hurt ... and might even include moments of fun.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Evil Sung Lovely

Calling all opera(tors?) creators. Floating in the ether right now is the story that ends with a man learning about, maybe even learning to love his father right before his death. "I got to know him in the end," said Lindbergh Williams, 27, of the man he lost as a small boy who was put to death as the "DC Sniper."

Could the work cross the border into horrid, off-putting taste? Of course, but that is opera. It can also stay just on the side of acceptable, sort of like the father who has his 7-year-old daughter sing along to "La donna è mobile," the boast that "Woman is fickle" sung by an evil duke in Giuseppi Verdi's Rigolletto who revels in going from femme to femme. The fact is, despite the icky irony, it's still cute to see a kid sing out.

Hopefully, those who dare to take on the story of Williams and his dad will find the balance of acceptable in the same work that portrays the horror that his father, John Allen Muhammad, wrought.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Father Acts Best: The Uncomfortable Parody

The self-proclaimed parody of a 50's sitcom by Delphia Entertainment can make one a bit uncomfortable when it moves to pops explaining/demonstrating the lascivious manner in which he evened the score between his son and a bully. Still, at least someone with a video camera is (re)thinking the father-child sex talk.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Foxy Father

Guy vows to straighten out his life when his wife tells him he'll be a father. It's a true story over and over that Roald Dahl wrote up in the book that has become the movie, The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Also true to life, Mr. Fox doesn't quite keep his promise.

Fact into fantasy and back to fact. It's a dad's life, and pretty much how Dahl actually lived a life where, according to daughter Lucy "Wild Child" Dahl's recollection, he test marketed his stories to his girls before bedtime and fell off the ladder outside their windwo he used to pretend to be the BFG every time he told that tale, one of his most beloved stories.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Getting Press

An honorable book published by serious men in time for Veteran's Day is also — unfortunately for what it probably says about WD or pop culture — a somewhat smutty segue to other daddy news.

The serious book, written by father and son Aaron and Nathan Keirns, is Honoring the Veterans of Licking County, Ohio. Although the book was intended to highlight local, military history, there is something in that title that could attract some out-of-state attention.

Of course, the attractive element is the idea of a licking county, which is the unfortunate segue to the news that a man who isn't the biological or in situ father is claiming fatherhood in order to sell his new book. You might think that the provocatively outrageous Miss J (Alexander Jenkins of America's Next Top model) would have enough to attract attention to his new book, Follow the Model. However, he also felt the need to claim 7-year-old Boris (the son of a French lesbian via the sperm of J's ex-partner) as his own son in order to get some media attention. Apparently, being a dad is the new black.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quiet Now, Loud Then

There was a father who told his daughters that they would always be part of one of America's greatest problems (racism, and all because they would forever have white skin). Yet, they still made a complimentary film about him. Disturbing the Universe [Earlier: Daddy Documentary], the tale of radical lawyer William Kunstler as seen through the lens and film editing of daughters Emily and Sarah is still making its way without too much press through festivals and private showings in a so-far very limited release.

Ironic, isn't it, that the film of a very loud man continues to move so quietly?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cracking the Image

The newest father on a book tour is tennis icon Andre Agassi. In Open: An Autobiography the man who once personified gloss &mdsash; is famous for his "image is everything" sales pitch [Earlier: Image Is ...] — telling the tale of how his father shaped him and how he became the man who will shape his son and daughter.

Most of the sizzle of the book is about his drug and hair scandals, but the "steak" is revealed in a question and answer article about the book, he admits to holding up his driven, pugnacious father's behavior in a very harsh light. However, he is pretty confident his dad is still very proud ... not that he would ever read the book: "I don't read, and why the hell do I need to read [your book]? I was your father."

And with that, we can close the file on our inquiry into why the publisher didn't time the release to try and sell it as a father's day gift.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Inside Out Fatherhood Truths

If you can imagine fathers punished for acting well and a pop rewarded years after acting questionably mdash; perhaps the kindest way to phrase it, despite some extraordinary results — then the news about two Hoosier fathers, as well as Michael Jackson's daddy Joe.

Now it is certainly possible that the two fathers being married to each other could well have caused their near-arrest at the Niles, Ind., Wal-Mart store and banning from the chain. However, they only went there to reward for their two adopted twins, not expecting that despite dropping over $200 on various goods and treats, they would be falsely accused of shoplifting and then handcuffed and thrown into the back of a police car.

It is also certainly possible (but very unlikely) that when entertainer Jackson passed [Earlier: Ashes to Ashes, Crazy to Crazy], his last wish was that his father be taken care of in recognition of his importance in shaping his career, and not his influence in creating such a strange and seemingly unhappy mind and personal life. Of course, the final wish doesn't matter and papa Joseph is conspicuously absent from the singer's last will ... a matter the father is trying to change by appealing to receive money from the estate as reward for being who he was.

The recap. To reward as a father is to gain punishment. To punish as a father is to possibly gain reward. Questions?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Is Pops Preggers?

Pregnancy and men can get pretty confusing, particularly when someone says something like, "that dude doesn't have the huevos (eggs in Spanish, although balls, nerve, guts, bravery, etc. in the vernacular) for kids. [Earlier: Love and Longing in Pretend Land and Neo-Heavenly Father]

Eggs, however, is exactly what determines the mother from the father, at least according to a discussion about why pregnant sea horse fathers are not actually the mother. Even so, and completely believing he doesn't have the huevos, four five time daddy Kevin Federline — at least via Perez Hilton — is looking mucho preggers ... not that that is a bad thing.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

El Hijo de Mal In His Own Words

Dad was evil. Let's learn, forgive (not forget) and move on.That's the message of Pecados de me Padre, a new film featuring Sebastián Marroquín, son of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar, as he seeks forgiveness for the sins of [his] father. It's a very unusual thought from a son who grew up in very unusual circumstances, but it gets boiled down to: "I have learned many things from my father. The most important one is that if I want to live I have to do everything oppossite to him. That was my lesson. ... Wherever he is, I know he has to regret what he did."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's Off to Work We Go

While the standard work flow is from father to child — or great-grandfather to grandfather to father to son, as in the case of the baseball-playing Muellers of Missouri — there are certainly plenty of cases of fathers finding their job through their children. Famously, now, we can add hack Mitch Winehouse [Earlier: Drugs and Dads], about to debut his show.

Winehouse, father of singer Amy, will be interviewing celebrities in "Mitch Winehouse's Showbiz Rant" from the front of his London cab. Hopefully his new job goes well and he makes his daughter proud ... not something that can always be said about his premiere guest, David Hasselhoff. [Earlier: Some S/B in Custody, Others Should Have It and Dadelusions]

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Nnoying

TGFML. Thank God for Michael Lohan [Earlier: Wild or Too Mild? and Stats on Richer and Happier]. Day after day I hear from Things 1 & 2, "you [as in me] are sooooooooooooo (sometimes 'the most') annnooooyyying." However, now that screwed-up daughter/actress Lindsay is getting tweeted and celled and celebritygossipped by dad 24/7 in antagonism to the restraining order she has against him and to the point where she wants him behind bars, I am feeling pretty good about how high on the annoying father food chain I must be.

Bring it on girls, I've got a role model.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

When an Angel Gets His Wins

Today's hint for the father who has been a tyrant: do a [George] Steinbrenner and stay alive long enough to be feeble and remembered fondly. Thus, we have this week's objet d'eBay, the March 1, 1993 Sports Illustrated cover (highlighting the featured article, "Will the Boss Behave" inside), playing off what an ass the Yankees' owner often made of himself.

Today, having been an increasingly silent and absent presence in baseball and with his team leading the 2009 World Series 2-1, Steinbrenner is suddenly "pops." Now, driven in golf carts to death's doorstep, he is beloved by sons Hal and Hank who combine to run the team, as well as to the "Bronx bombers" themselves. The story seems to be building that when (if) the Yankees can win two more games to take this year's title, then "pops" will be able to ascend to heaven as a beloved, sainted character (except for those of us who will never get beyond that tyrant thing).

Apparently, in one man's transition from ass to angel there is some sort of lesson for us all.