Sunday, February 28, 2010

Don't Stand Pat(erson)

Some day, this week's objet d'eBay,  a button promoting the now disbanded campaign of New York's "accidental" Governor David Paterson, will be worth millions.

No idea when. No idea on millions of what. Millions nonetheless. Sometime.

However, as a political relic, it might have been worth more if Davey had gained a bit more of wisdom from daddy. Basil Alexander Paterson is one of the "gang of four." Paterson, pere, Percey Sutton, David Dinkins and Charles Rangel are (were in the case of Sutton) well connected men who oiled the machinery behind the scenes of Harlem politics.Sutton recently passed; former Mayor Dinkins has been little more than a figurehead for years; Rangel is in the process of scandalizing himself into a loss of power base and possibly his seat in Congress; but Paterson continues as a force.

Did the father not talk to the son or did the son not listen? Perhaps one little conversation that would have kept the son from screwing up his chance at governor could have made all the difference — at least regarding the value of a campaign tchotchke.

Friday, February 26, 2010

65-Year-Old New Pops Mostly Crazy. Really.

One hundred and five year old couple give birth to 6-pound, 7-ounce girl.

Weighing in on the dad side for new Californian Luke Samson Busey is the quite toothsome and mostly crazy Gary Busey, 65. No advice so far from his previous spawn, son Jake and daughter Alectra for their half-brother on getting along with their sometimes-odd, movie-star pop.

Among his greatest hits is a bit on remaking yourself into a wordmonger:

Is he crazy enough to think that at 80 he'll be able to obfuscate his 15-year-old teen son into submission? Time will tell.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ground to a Halt

Have you, perchance, lost dad?

Kiwi Clarrie Winnie had two families. There was tension and little talk between them. Each thought the other had taken possession of him (his ashes, anyway) upon his passing. Neither had.

For 20-some years Clarrie's ashes &mdahs; perhaps another Angela's Ashes in the making? — have sat at the Hasting's funeral home of Tong & Peryer. Finally, son Chris, 50, began wondering where he might lay a flower for dear old dad and found that the old man was still above ground. He tracked down the urn and took care of the rest:

"It's great to know he is finally at rest. I have just been up to the cemetery and nailed up a cross and put a bunch of flowers there. Walking away I said, `There you go dad. I've done good by you.' It brings closure," he said.
He was lost, but now he's found, wasn't blind, now can't see. Still, amazing grace.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Don't Forget

Imagine a smorgasbord that coalesces into an extraordinary meal. Now imagine it as fiction about fatherhood and you might be considering Before I Forget, by Leonard Pitts Jr.

Pitts won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2004 in work that made up much of Becoming Dad, his look at African American fathers. In BIF he explores the inner life and external complications of a man in the middle, a once-was-someone with a son in trouble (a baby daddy facing possible prison time) and father fading through Alzheimers. He needs to come to terms with himself and his family and the pressure of time keeps increasing.

It's about fathers and sons. It's all about men.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Pre-Disappointment Phase

Some things are so, so much better in the imagination than they can ever be in reality. Among this group — it seems most likely — will reside William Shatner [Earlier: Not Your Father's Fatuous Phrase and Dads with Movie Cameras] as featured performer in the television sitcom being created from the sweet tweets of Justin Halpern. [Earlier: Curses]

Shatner has created a television persona of lovable, completely self-centered, wackiness. Halpern created a twitter persona of his dad as a ranting, teddy bear-like curmudgeon. And now a pilot has been commissioned by CBS with the unlikely-for-TV title of "Shit My Dad Says."

Will this turn out to be more than just another vanilla sitcom? Seems unlikely. No matter how "brilliant" the concept might seem, the media, the audience, the advertisers just won't allow it to play anywhere near as good on screen as it does in your head. Alas ....

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hero Without Heroics

Because every dad should be a hero to his child, it is easy to applaud the relationship Joe Stack built with daughter Samantha Bell. Still, it is hard not to wonder what the very troubled pilot (who flew his plane into an IRS building in protest) taught her about life.

She was certainly gracious in explaining the limits of her mourning for the role model (a "hero," she said) she lost. However, he was arguably a terrorist, who seemed overwhelmed by money problems that he couldn't dig himself out from under. And he did burn down his own home (leaving a wife and child to stand on the street, watch and cry). So maybe he can and will always be his daughter's hero, but it seems a big stretch to push it anywhere beyond that.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bring on the Bleak

"Except for the sense of mortality that makes every dying old man a portent of what lies in store for all humanity, there is no particular reason for anyone to care about this father. But [his son] wants to love him, and tries," was how Time Magazine explained the plot of Robert Anderson's 1968 Broadway production of I Never Sang for My Father.

So, it is safe to say this isn't a great play, but it is a theme — and a story taken from the life of so many children — that cannot help but touch the heart. A classic. Something to see. And coming around one more time (there was also a 1972 movie version starring Gene Hackman, Melvyn Douglas and Estelle Parson) is a new production heading for (just off) the Great White Way.

Read it. See it. Try to figure out love enough so you don't have to live it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Media Meltdown

If you can imagine New York Times columnists riffing on the importance of Cougar Town as some sort of indicator of the great importance of househusbands then it should be no trouble at all to consider Washington Post using pixels to imagine the thoughts of a male panda as his baby is shipped thousands of miles away.

Ah, but don't imagine it: It's true. NYTers Gail Collins and David Brooks have a conversation on the changing nature of the economy and television and the culture of older-younger partnerships which somehow has gone off the track by considering that a television show demonstrating how 40-year-old wealthy women can have sex with hunks 10 to 15 years younger is a demonstration model for a solid career choice for male slackers. And the WaPo's John Kelly, lets his mind wander through the zoo cages until it comes to rest within the head of Chinese panda Tian Tian, who is apparently chomping like a qat addict on his bamboo stash and writing a note to his son, Tai Shan, who has been recalled to the homeland.

Both articles are so strange in conception and execution that it is only possible to think that dads at home have taken a step backwards, thanks to two great news institutions. Although, it is probably also possible to consider the exact opposite as well.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pale Bayh Comparison

The story would be much better if Indiana Senator Even Bayh's twin teens [Earlier: Veep Daddies] had been the ones who had driven him so crazy that he couldn't run in a contest he was slated to win. But alas that does not seem true to life.

Instead, he has chosen to leave "public" service as a pale shadow of his father, opting not to try and keep governing because it is hard while making money when you're connected is easy. The only good father news is that Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd (also the son of a senator, but a dad who moved his kids out of school and to Iowa when running for Pres) looks mighty fine by comparison.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Living Theater

Forty-six years ago, in New York, Martin Sheen was the son. Now he'll be the father in "the show that changed [his] life so thoroughly...," an LA-production of "The Subject Was Roses."

Intriguingly, he began his showbiz career in Julian Beck and Judith Molina's Living Theatre. That (continuing) experiment was supposed to try and break down the fourth wall between drama and audience, something Sheen would probably very much like to put up again, particularly with respect to the troubles of real-life son Charlie whose act and life makes "Two and a Half Men" sound like the number of realities in which he lives.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pop's Publicity Push

Last year, actor Michael Douglas brought his dad an ice cream cone at the end of a show, publicly embracing father Kirk, forgiving him for whatever drawbacks he might have had as a father. [Earlier: Buy vs. Build] Now, the star of the past Wall Street is on the publicity path for the remake, releasing March.

Playing the father card — since that is a much more sympathetic public persona than old lech with young(ish) hottie — Douglas is talking of how he failed his felon son, 31, and might not be active enough to beat up the young studs who arrive on his doorstep when his six-year-old daughter is ready to step out  as a swan-like teen.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Breakfast of Champions' Sons

If only this week's objet d'eBay, a Wheaties box featuring America's most medaled winter Olympian, Apolo Anton Ohno, featured Yuki (specifically, not Yoko) Ohno (no, not Ono) on the package as well — not that anyone seems to have thought about that — it would no doubt be worth so much more than its current $7 (starting) bid.

Yuki is the single father who raised the speedskating Ohon. Despite those heroics, he gets little of the media fuss spent on Michael Phelps "single" mom, Debbie. Is it because Yuki has a hair salon? Is it because he is a man? Whatever the reason, it's not right and just might be holding the economy back since his lack of prominence seems to be keeping down the price of previously owned Wheaties boxes, among other possible complications.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Who Gets to Hold the Megaphone?

In a near-comic episode of boys being boys, Ron and Michael are fighting over daddy. The two Reagan sons — the first, child of Ron and Nancy who is paid to espouse more liberal views and the second, a more conservative spouter and adopted son of the former Pres and his first wife, Jane Wyatt — are constantly clashing over their father's legacy. Most recently, they have, unsurprisingly, taken opposite sides on the (who cares) debate of what POTUS 40 would think of the Teabaggers.

The winner in the clash? Both of them, for as long as interest can be drummed up in what a dead man would think today they will both continue to be employed for their connection to that man. (You don't think they've fixed it that way, do you?)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Record Steppers

Although daddy-daughter dances are held throughout the year [Earlier: Daddy-Daughter (Never Dirty) Dancing; Daddies, Daughters, Danger and Love], it is the run-up to Valentines Day that has become the time to make the big statement. In the spirit of the big love, there was a gathering of 1,000 in Notre Dame, Ind., And this would seem a pretty big deal until one drifts south to the town of Frisco, Texas, (a bit north of Dallas, slightly southwest of McKinley) where 6,000 cowpops and cowgirls kicked up their boots together, setting the record as far as we can tell, although nominations for bigger celebrations are welcome.

Daddies their little girls.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Meet "Meet the Fathers"

Mamma Mia meets, falls in and out of love with La Telenovela and conceives the Philippines special four-episode "Meet the Fathers," although who the parents are is still something of a mystery.

Vaguely some people are in love, at least one is a dad, marriages and soul mates macking for life with each other (?) are possible. Everybody lives happily ever after. The End.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mark Your Calendars: Old Timey Time for Old Timers

Figuring that it's never too early to start planning for Father's Day (June 20) consider scheduling a weekend around the Hall of Fame Classic, part deux, in Cooperstown, N.Y. in a few months. Yeah, it is a bit old school. Still, there are worse ways to celebrate dear old dad.

Monday, February 8, 2010

You Are So Grounded, Mister

How often it is that the story of a father and son is not completely told. Today's example comes from Mumbai, where an Emirates Air flight was grounded when Dubai-bound, alleged terrorist Shahbaz Khan and his wife Munira ended up just being bound up.

An anonymous call was credited with "foiling" Khan's plan. Suspicion points to son, Arif Kahn, as the likely tipster as he was the one who last year tried ratting out his father and his "criminal background" when the old man ran for the Assembly.

Did we mention father and son are fighting over real estate and the son had been locked up for stealing from their tenant? As mentioned above, there's a bit more for this family saga than has met the eye.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Pigskin Pigheadedness or Prospecting

On the face of it, it is appalling that a dad would sell his 13-year-old son to a college football coach. On the other hand, since coach of little conscience Lane Kiffin is not actually allowed to confirm or deny the report, it is possible David Sills IV is spending no money to get DS V a great deal of publicity and early endorsement deals. Since he's likely to burn out or be seriously injured well before he plays for USC or anyone else, it could be his father has snatched the brass ring for his son with the only chance he's got. It might look (and actually be) disgusting, but maybe father did know best when he ran his mouth?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Zuma Pic: Is Right Right?

Get Hollywood on the phone. Quick! ASAP! Stat!

The pitch: Take the genial goodness of Fred Mac Murray,  the dad in My Three Sons, apply the edginess of Bill Hendrickson (who plays Bill Paxton) in HBO's polygadrama Big Love, and then roll it into a "based on a true story" feature pretending its all the life of South African Prezzie Zuma [Earlier: Polygamy Post] whose XXth son said folks should get off his back about all his wives and children — including his latest, a four-month-old with a woman to whom he is not (YET) married. As XX, Duduzani Zuma, says:  "It is my father's right within the context of his culture to have as many children as he wishes."

To which we can only add that it is "a right" certainly, but that does leave open the moral question for the film — the hook for all the highbrow critics, while the lowbrows will no doubt enjoy the creation of 20-some kids — of whether his right is the right thing to do. We're seeing multiple Oscars.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Daddies Do It

They say fathers use duct tape to solve any and all of life's problems.

But it's not true. At least not when it comes to babies ... baby daughters, anyway.

Blackburn's Thomas Howard brought his daughter Madeline into the world when the midwife went walkabout in a tiff. Denver's Ira Johnson introduced daughter Lola into what happens when you wait (and wait and sometimes wait a mite too long) for mom to get ready. He pulled over on the way to the hospital and brought her to fruition when wife Robyn happened to mention while they were going 65 mph that the baby was crowning.

Duct tape? We don't need no stinking duct tape.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Didn't Daddy Teach You Not to Get Caught?

There's a new father/son high- (or low-) light in Chicago. Ike is following daddy William Carrothers foosteps.

It's not just that they were powerful city alderman. A father-son alderman grouping is nothing new, nothing groundbreaking as the Chicago mayor, Richard M.  has long been pursuing papa Richard J. Daley's political legacy. No, the Carrothers are joined together in history with their own numbers, courtesy of a penal system letting them both in as visitors (26 years apart) on charges stemming from just a tad too much construction corruption even by the Windy City's historic lenient standards.

That father-son thing, yeah, it can be taken too far.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Take, Don't Leave, Your Kids to Work

DadLabs begins February with a quick, sardonic look at how fathers can fail when bringing their kids to work.

While it is painful to criticize the good folks from Austin, they did miss one obvious lesson in failure. Last night's Grammy awards displayed the unfortunate example of a pop (the "king of pop," actually) who took his children to work (being celebrities) and basically left them there all alone. Now they're unprepared and on display, standing in for him, uncomfortable, mouthing lines written by others and not necessarily the better for it.

Lesson learned?