Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Feeling Unusual

When imagination wanders it can take you to strange places. Well, maybe not you, but some people. Among the latter group is Melissa Auf der Maur, a Canadian-American photographer and alt rock stylist. In her now digitally released Out of Our Minds, there is "Father's Grave." The song begins as an elegy of a loss, but ends with a daughter transferring her feelings of grief for the irrevocable loss of her father to a kiss and maybe more for the man who dug his grave.

Nine songs down comes the eerie:


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Atomic Fusion

Imagine a father so strong and filled with character that he is the man of the house for both his daughter and his daughter's daughters. That's the story of Pamela Gwyn Kripke, who tells the tale of the dad she lost in the New York Times "Motherlode" blog.

The girls' father is on his fourth marriage and in the neighborhood. However, their grandfather — the one whose memory causes their mom to tear up almost every time it reappears — is the male presence in the house she cultivates.

In her childhood, Kripke always believed her father's morning wake up was a call for her to "up an atom." And so

"The phrase finds me when I need extra encouragement, which seems often, these days. It gives just enough of a jolt, and it makes me smile. It is also how we start our day in our girl house with the pink door. “Up an’ atom,” I call into each room. Time to get going.
Now there's a legacy.

Monday, March 29, 2010

"So Much Life" Explores What Was Missed

Would anyone care about the high times and life adventures of Pal Sarkozy, 81, if not for his son Nicolas?

The son is France's president. The father had something to do with that, but it is not exactly clear what. He makes no apologizes, but writes in his new book, Tant de Vie (So Much Life), “I was not a present father nor a grandfather who gurgles with the babies ...."

However, people do care. Enough so that they told all sorts of stories about how awful he was when he didn't need his children. So, Sarkozy the elder says he took advice from his son and wrote a book to address what he saw as the libels. He says he wrote it for his children and their children: “Today, the arrival at the port is near and I no longer have the strength to move on. This time it is I who needs you. Your presence makes me happy, your absence makes me sad.”

It is a father's poetic, heartfelt elegy for missed time. No matter what others thought, it is too bad he didn't come to that idea sooner.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Sorta Dad-Sons Love Story

Do his sons love him?

Well, they strap him in when he can't. They take him with them to lunch. They sit in the park with him.

And does he love them back?

Well, in the end he does seem to reconcile them — or so (alleged teen filmmaker) Film Yeti lets us consider.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Old News

"It's another manic Monday" is how NPR began today's take on the booming cohort of stay-at-home-dads. There are the standard explanations (i.e., economic transformations; changing social attitudes). Still, most of the story is the same one having been told for years (and years) now — for comparison compare (there's not much contrast) between the NPR's Yuki Noguchi's take and the Washington Post's look-see via Katherine Shaver.

It is nice that pops as tops in child care can belie headlines and plaints like "Laid-Off Dad Won't Help at Home." However, once again, we look forward to the day when dads taking care of kids doesn't qualify on radio or in print as "news."

For what it's worth, another "Manic Monday" that's nicely told, but also doesn't qualify as news

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Reality TV Confronts Reality

Undercover Boss is mostly predictable fantasy, with the guy who is in charge of a company getting a bit of comeuppance as he pretends to be one of the guys on what passes these days as reality on tv. He gains insight into his corporation; the company gets great advertising on a highly rated show; and viewers get a chance to belittle the big guy, while also seeing him more as one of them.

So, blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, wasted hour ... until now. In the recent Michael Rubin episode, the CEO of outsourced online shopping sites, has to face employees who clearly care about their kids. He might truly love his three-year-old girl, but his megahour work weeks certainly don't make that clear. He needs insights into his family life. Maybe he really should go on "Undercover Dad"?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Will Love Be Enough?

A day to cry for a father and a son (and to pray if you believe in that power or perhaps send some cash if you have it).

Reggie Thomas Jr., 8, is in a Chicago homeless shelter beloved by staff but waiting on his father's recovery from a stroke. Senior, a single dad dedicated to his son, lost his job,  apartment and now his health. As he told the Tribune's Dawn Turner Trice: "I want my son to learn that whatever he goes through, God has his back and he shouldn't give up," he told me. "He's looking forward to me being able to play and talk and laugh with him again, and just be the father he wants and needs me to be."

As are we all.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Whose Right About Fight?

This week's Objet d'eBay celebrates a violent man -- actually a piece of metal from the cage where the violent man once fought. Mixed martial artist Jon "Bones" Jones can be worshipped by buying the piece of metal in this Topps card. An unlikely relic and unusual man, whose father (according to Fight):

"... a pastor at a Pentecostal church in Jones’s hometown of Endicott, New York, told him that he didn’t have the “killer instinct” it took to be a fighter.

“He thought I was too chilled out,” Jones says. “He didn’t think I was mean enough. But I don’t think you have to be mean to be a fighter.”
The son's a fighter; the father's a preacher. Which one is right about fighting?

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Does he have your back? The answer to that can make for a perfect bonding experience between father and son. In the case of the Ferndale Riddles, Sr. and Jr., it was a near-perfect experience.

Young Riddle was in Ferndale (Mich.) Court to answer a summons for a speeding ticket. He took offense at the proceedings and, in partnership with good ole dad, he decided to take on the court officers. The men in blue, trying to clear the courtroom, used tasers as their weapon of choice. In addition to the speeding ticket, father and son are now possibly on the hook for $1000 fines and a couple years in the slammer.

It is nice that father and son are so close, still, as Ferndale Police Lt. William Wilson said, "This was just a simple ticket, which now could have various serious consequences for them both."

Perfection is so hard.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Archiving Pops

It wouldn't seem that if you give your dad away you can actually draw a little closer to him, but that seems to be what Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts is doing.

Patrick's father, Pat, made a very loud absence in the home when he took off to play jazz with elites, among them Duke Ellington, John Coltrain, Thelonius Monk and Sun Ra.

In doing sothe father set in motion the forces that would bring his son the governorship, as well as leaving a trail of breadcrumbs through some of the most interesting and exciting of 20th century music. Now, the governor will be donating that trail, his dad's miscellany to Boston's Berklee School of Music. It is a satisfaction; it is closure.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

King of the Hill

How do you come to grips with a father's legacy? This week's objet d'eBay, the collected PDF versions of Stephen King's works, celebrates not just his extrarodinary output — and growth from genre artist to American literateur —  but also the balance he has achieved with his (along with novelist wife Tabitha King) son Joe Hill (actually, Joseph Hillstrom King).

Hill has just written the followup to the Heart-Shaped Box, a novel acclaimed before most critics and fans knew of his familial connection. In Horns he considers the life of Iggy, son of the devil and, perhaps, even a loving consideration of the place in literature and life where he himself lives.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Torch At the Shrine of the Hardball

The Santelli torch has been passed from father to son (who shares it with his daughter).

In the moving tribute to Arlington-interred veteran Robert J. Santelli there is notice that he wanted to be "the next Mark Twain" and that he was very much interested in sports as participant and fan, as well as bringing that involvement to his children. Oldest son Robert, an author of travel and New Jerseyiana, has now joined with daughter Jenna in another tribute that also serves to honor his father. The Baseball Fan's Bucket List is a guide to activities during the days of professional baseball as well as the off season for how to honor your (joint) adoration at the shrine of the hardball.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

LaRose is Not LaRose

Somewhere in the story of Jihad Jane

is a tale of warning about daughters and dads. It's not yet clear how Colleen LaRose's father became so indispensable a force in her life, but according to reports, it all began to go downhill for the green-eyed terrorist with her suicide attempt following his death.

Let the lessons to be learned from her madness begin ...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Clash of the Clichés

There is the cliché of the child who tries ever so hard to follow his or her father's exact path. Then there is the cliché of the child who rebels against everything his or her father stands for.

Which cliche better fits — because surely one must — the life of politico Karl Christian Rove? In his autobiography, Courage and Consequence, he breezes over the impact of the man he knew as his father he (an aggressive pursuer of piercing and other nontraditional Republican pleasures) and also drops in that he was adopted, presumably the biological son of a more conservative sole.

Most important of all, what path will his own son, Andrew Madison Rove, 21, take and how will the Rov(ing) story continue?

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Woman (and her Daddy) Scorned ... and Celebrated?

How bitter is a woman whose daddy has been scorned ... and what will that lead to?

New York Magazine takes a look at Elizabeth Cheney (the hardcore, right wing daughter of former VP, not the lesbian mother of two who sort of humanizes him). The article lays out how personally she took/takes criticism of her dad, who ended his term in office with a 13 percent approval rating (?) and what she is doing to reburnish his legacy, including creating one of her own. Next up, probably, the Liz Cheney for congress campaign heats up.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Pops Poffo, RIP

Angelo Poffo, who died asleep at age 84 in Sarasota and is commemorated in this week's objet d'eBay, may have been the perfect father figure. For a professional heel, he was pretty much everything you'd like to see in a pop,  a Navy man, father to two sons (Randy "Macho Man" Savage and "Leaping'" Lanny Poffo) who followed in his professional wrestling leotards, phys ed teacher, and small businessman.

The objet itself is a poster from a February 1965, where Poffo took on his pro wrestling mentor, Carl Engstrom, in a match where he played the heel. In real life, he was always The Face.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dancing Dads Demonized But Possibly Prized

They're mocking the man. The Jamaica Tourist Board noticed that "dad" and "bad" rhyme (and that, probably, there are some fathers whose groove is a bit rutted) and introduced their latest marketing campaign.

Totally Dad Dancing asks kids to compete for a family vacation by answering the questions, "Does your dad need some Jamaican dancing rehab?"

To enter, to mock a loving man (or for you dads just to try and cadge a free vacation through acting out on camera), upload videos before May 31, 2010. To see uncontrolled tremors defined as dance, the collection of videoed fathers flailing to music is available.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Another Scacry Case of the DGs

Creepy and bad news (in a pop culture way) for fathers who spoil their daughters, here comes Daddy's Girl. The Chris R. Notarile film features Zoe Sloane, who in character describes herself: "I guess you could say I'm really shy at times ... and kinda a total daddy's girl.

Like she says, "nothing good can ever come from a bad attitude."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Egad Gamal

If you can't be overtly angry at the father then at least you can subvert the son. That is the current story in Egypt, where iron-fisted monarch (sorry, democratically elected president) Hosni Mubarak is grooming son Gamal to take over in 2011.

Father Mubarak is a strong man in a divided country, having ruled for 28 years in the wake of the assassination of Anwar Sadat. Son Mubarak has the claim to fame of somehow getting into the Top 100  — seemingly for the possibility that he might become Egyptian pres — when Time Magazine considered its 2009 man of the year.

The WD guess: he wins the election and proposes reasonable and necessary reforms which (in a reaction to a bit more freedom than they had during his father's reign) lead his (father's) enemies to spark enough trouble to cost him the country within a year or two.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bucky Gettin' Plucky

It turns out that the eighth place finisher on the fifth season of American Idol can come up with a tear jerker. Country pop's Bucky Covington, released A Father's Love prior to its inclusion on his second album. He says the song just him him in his soft spot.

...He checked the air in my tires, the belts and all the sparkplug wires/
Said when's the hell the last time you had this oil changed/
...I didn't hear it then, but I hear it now/
he was saying I loooooove you, I looooooove you/
the only way that he knew how...
Trust us, it plucks on the heart strings much more effectively in song than in abridged words.

Monday, March 1, 2010

What a Long Strange Trip: Unavoidable Cliches

"Like father like son" cannot be much truer than in the case of Californian's Tom Pope, 55, and Jafar Thorne, 32. The two Deadheads connected through a chat site devoted to the band and its fans. And the connection turned out to be a bit more than the usual as they are father and son, with son conceived while mother and father grooved to a 7-inch reel-to-reel recording of the Dead's March 19, 1977, show.

The "parents" relationship didn't last much longer than the one night, but the connection between father and son has been forever (even if they didn't know it). Along with their GD devotion — including a readiness to dress up as Uncle Sam when attending concerts — they drive Harleys, play guitar and have done a bit of dabbling in similar drugs. "... Together, more or less in line, just keep truckin' on..."Keep on Truckin', boys.