Thursday, September 30, 2010

Singing of Pain and Pops

Why is there lyrical romance in being the troubled son of a troubled father? It's not there in real life, but put trouble to music and it can be compelling, at least as sung by 3 Doors Down, Fistful of Mercy and Elton John.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oh No He Di'n't

Can standing up for one's father legally include hiding where nobody can see you and shooting spitballs at his severest critic to try and kill him via internet... all in the name of satire? Such are the issues with the trial of Raphael Haim Golb.

Closing arguments are going on in a NYC court, where Golb is being charged with engaging in a massive online attempt, using 50 or so fake identities and sending out a false admission of plagiarism, in order to discredit NYU professor Lawrence H. Schiffman who claimed Golb's pops, a University of Chicago who believed something different about the origins of the Dead Sea Scrolls was a doodoohead (or something like that, it's a complicated argument of interest only to a very few academics so we apologize for the technical language). As for the emals where Schiffman is purportedly admitting to having committed professional sins, son Golb, who faces up to four years in prison, said it was all in jest ...

...As in "jest don't mess with my daddy."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Living On

Two lessons in how a father's spirit lives on even when his heart stops beating come from Kingston, Ont., and San Cristobal, Peru. A 9-year-old Canadian decided that rather than save for his own iPod, he'd have a toy sale to raise money for a headstone to mark his father's grave. Much further south, Mayor Rogelio Vizcarra kept everything in perspective when thieves (probably political opponents) dug his father's body from its grave and threatened to crush the skull if he continued to run for reelection.

One lesson in how to crush spirits while living and from beyond comes from North Korea, where Kim Jong-un is named as footstep follower in dad Kim Jong-Il's evil. [Earlier: Political Pops]

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pinda Daan, PDQ

It's hard to believe we needed to wait around for progress to get to this point, but dads who had no sons can finally have their souls stop wandering about post-death and find eternal salvation. Three Hindi daughters have broken through the absurd tradition limiting Pinda Daan (an ancient ritual to cleanse a father's soul in order that he find eternal rest) to males.

Naturally, this is change to believe in, but there really is no time for celebration. Given how many souls must be wandering — and the PD period limited to one half the [current] Hindu month of Ashwinare — there is no time to waste pinda daaning so we can clean up the backlogged inventory.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cast Iron Bonding

This week's Objet d'eBay was selected for its potential as a bonding tool between father and son. Apparently, smacking each other over the head with skillets is a (new?) traditional way to celebrate Mexican independence, at least in the Connecticut household of Alfredo Gabriel.

The 36-year-old father and his son, Jester Gabriel-Lopez, were both set free on bond following being shackled together and giggling at their joint arraignment. It seems they were whacking each other while drunk and things got a bit out of hand. However, all's well that end's with father and son happy ... so snatch up your skillet and build your relationship.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Let Me Show You Dad's Black Heart

Every son finds the place to his father's heart in a different way. John Gotti Jr. found his way through a willingness to whack. Junior is son of the iconic Dapper Don, who thugged his way to the top of the Gambino crime family and rotted from cancer in a jail cell for the last years of his life.

However, almost as important as finding a way to the heart is finding a way to the head and Jr. seems to have gotten there — and "there" being the place where you decide that if there is action available, you want a piece — as evidenced by his announcement that he will be selling the story of him and pops. His view: people have been making millions off his dad for years (now that they don't fear retribution) and it's about time he got his share. So,come sometime next year, expect to see a very fictionalized father-son love story set in mafialand suggestive of the Gotti's stories.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Apologize, Jerk

No. 3 on the list of the Top 10 "Don'ts" from the Father's Handbook (unfortunately not handed out at most hospitals upon birth of a newborn) is Don't Be a Jerk. This includes a subordinate commandment that if you are a jerk, don't do it in a way that affects your kid and MOST OF ALL don't do it in front of your kid.

James Willie Jones of Lake Mary, Fla., broke those commandments. Crumpled and mutilated them when he went on his handicapped 13-year-old daughter's school bus one morning and lost all self-control in what in his own mind had been initated as a defense against her bulliers.

Fortunately, Jones has had sense enough to comply with subordinate clause two: If you are a jerk apologize and do all that you can to make it right with the hope that it will somehow show the strength of character you want your child to emulate and be enough for him or her to recover from the trauma. So, Jones has apologized and, hopefully, it will be enough for his daughter who is currently under a suicide watch in a Florida hospital and on her way to a new school when she gets out.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Father Was Who Now Huh?

"Dr. Who" David Tennant felt a good career move was to become "father huh?" in the BBC production of Single Father. So he moves from science fiction to just fiction — a widower raising four kids and falling in love with his ex-wife's best friend in a world where eventually everything works out okay. It is a good life that comes with a script.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Getting Paid Doesn't Depend on Doing a Job Well

One of the things that the marvels of science often disguise is that researching things can just be a job. It is important to remember, of course, that some jobs interest us, some don't, and some people do their jobs well and others not as much.

So today we disparage [some} science and by extension the scientists behind it. Apparently, some folks were paid to come up with statistics to support the rather unsurprising pronouncement that supportive dads produce happier sons, which seems like a good thing. Others with advanced degrees spent lots of money and time with various groups of girls so they could write papers announcing that a biological father's absence is somehow related to earlier puberty in his daughters. Then there is the blah, blah, yadda, hmmm from "experts" who have been paid to arrive at various rationalizations for the social belief that there is some sort of biological imperative in men to prefer fathering boys.

The only good to come from some folks doing a bad job poorly: it gives other people something to write about -- so, again, thanks.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fathers Below; Hope Above

Hope and fathers are entwined in below-ground news. From Chile comes the good word that one of the miners buried underground is a new father. Naturally, he named his baby daughter Esperanza (Hope). And notice arrives — that brings a smile to Greek tourism officials — that an elaborate underground tomb more likely contains the remains of Alexander the Great's Pop, the Macedonian military master Phillip II, rather than feeble half-bro Phillip III.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

That One's Mine Too. Trust Me.

Was the anonymous Parisian who claimed 55 boys and girls were his along with 55 different mothers, father to so many to assure himself mail on Father's Day?

Perhaps, although French authorities are taking a rather dim view of his paternity.They believe it was all a fraud, costing the state more than $1.25 million a year in benefits to African immigrants. Authorities point to clues like only 42 of the mums have been identified; and that 50 of the kids are registered as living with dad in his two bedroom flat — with none in attendance on a recent visit.

It is hard to believe in the French as being anti-romantic, but it seems pretty likely at this point that the gent's love for his kids will be tested by DNA testing.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How Can You Not [Heart] Pres. Bongbong?

The temptations are certainly there to vote for the son who wants to follow in his father's footsteps. Foremost is the nickname: "Bongbong" — imagine, President Bongbong.

Still, while WD is usually a big supporter for sons perpetuating a father's legacy, in this case the legacy comes with pause. "Bongbong", aka Ferdinand Marcos Jr., only child of one of the most corrupt Philippine leaders ever (there is quite a legacy here). Marcos Sr., along with wife and shoe maven Imelda, took the theory and practice of kleptocracy to ever greater levels ... yet somehow managed to escape punishment as they were "exiled" to Hawaiian luxury.

Can Bongbong do better? He does have his supporters. Still, how can one not fear what he learned at his father's knee?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Walk On

A father and son stroll? Not quite.

Mike and Jackson Lindley hiked 50 states in 50 days this summer, beginning in Hawaii July 6 and ending in their home state of California August 25 at the Eagles Falls Trail in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. Although they talk about the bonding they did while treking, it is hard to believe they were ever very far apart despite the 36 years separating the 12-year-old and his father. As father Mike puts it on the video of their last hike, "Now it's time to plan our next adventure ... It's going to be big."

It doesn't appear he is thinking only of dealing with the teenage years.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Papa Don't Preach

While  the current internet rumors that Terry Jones (the megalomaniac pastor who with fewer than 50 religious followers managed to get thousands of media followers by threatening to burn the Qur'an later today) was arrested for child pornography are not true, it is true he has special, if very different, relationships with his own son and daughter.

Luke, one of the religious of his father's Dove World, is a believer and defender of his dad's ways. Daughter Emma isn't. Still living in Germany — where she moved with her father years ago and stayed after he was kicked out of the church there — she told Der Spiegel of how she split from her father's ways.

Where she didn't part ways, from her father or the path of her brother, is in her love. She felt threatened when, "[my father] called me into his office and said he received a message from God for me: God would take my children and then kill me." Still, she claims that, "As his daughter, I can see the good-natured core deep inside him. But I think he needs help."

When asked what she would tell him if he would listen, she answered: "That he needs help. That he is on the wrong path. But that there are people who love him anyway. I sincerely hope that he comes to his senses."

For all the sins Jones may be ready to commit, there is at least some credit to be gained in noting that at least his kids still love him.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What He Saw

Do you love your father enough to cut off his arm? Would you want your child to cut off your arm as a show of love?

What if a father's life were at stake?

These are the questions that come first to mind after reading about how a 72-year-old Swedish man was saved from being chipped and chopped when his son sliced through flesh and bone to free him from a machine the two were using to deforest their little bit of Olofström.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Go West, Young Man

Virginian John Wyatt, 22, is headed to Utah because that's where his daughter Emma lives.

The 18-month-old isn't living with her mother or any biological family member. She resides with the Utah couple who adopted her immediately following her birth. Wyatt wasn't at the birth in a Virginia hospital with the Virginia woman he impregnated but wasn't married to. He showed up later only to find mother and child gone. "Pursuing" a legal education, he now learns that — at least according to the law as applied by Utah courts so far — you snooze, you lose [your daughter].

There are a bunch of questions to be answered such as why the "happy couple" weren't married and how Wyatt could have missed the big day if he was so involved. Admittedly, there is also the ENORMOUS philosophical question of whether a single dad who is 22 can be as good for a child as a married and settled couple (and how can we ever tell in the abstract what is best for the child's future). But those aren't questions for the courts. The question for the court is who gets to change baby Emma and rock her to sleep and deal with her teenage angst and then (irony spoiler alert!) give her away at marriage. At least today we're siding with the Virginia courts which disagree with the Utah courts and found in favor of Wyatt ... not that this seems to have done much good because before Wyatt has ever seen her — again, 18 months after her birth and presumably after doing some very strong bonding with her step-parents — Emma is still with the Zarembinskis in Utah.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Yes We Cancer

Cancer makes things better. Well, not everything. Some things. ...Not really things actually; to be more precise, cancer does make certain events into much more heroic stories.

Dad gives daughter away at wedding: Happens nearly every day. Father and daughter meet after a period of estrangement: Unfortunately, not that rare.

However, if like Welsh bride Victoria Walsh the wedding has been arranged in just over a month and terminal cancer-suffering father Robert Walsh arises from his death bed to give his daughter away, then you have a story. Similarly, when a daughter and father meet after 41 years it is a wonderful reunion. It is a much more fabulous occasion if, for example, nurse daughter Wanda Rodriguez walks into a room where a man who looks like her is lying and dying from cancer and the man turns out to be the father who left the family when she was just three months old. As if the story needed whipped cream and a cherry topping, father Victor Peraza provided just the perfect epigram: "Wanda, I've met you. I'm OK. I'm ready to die." [Go, Cancer. Rah.]

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Anti-Hobson's Choice

Frenchman Gilles Simon was faced with a father's fabulous choice Sunday. He could win — defeating world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in their fourth round match — or he could win — freeing himself to get on a plane to fly home and see newborn son Timothee, who was born as Simon was away at work, playing the U.S. open..

Not surprisingly, Simon won. ... Oh, and Nadal won, too.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

What's In a Name

Wear it loud and proud. That's our advice for the first son, the first "confirmed" son anyway, of Ol' Dirty Bastard. The iconic rapper — born Russell Tyrone Jones — from Wu-Tang Clan dropped his first son, Barson Unique Jones, 21 years ago. Now, while ODB is gone except for his sounds, YDB (Young Dirty Bastard) is laying down tracks and mixes with dad's old group.

Since one name (two names, really) is never enough, Young Dirty Bastard also performs under the moniker of The Boy Jones, who under no circumstances should be confused with Edward Jones, aka The Boy Jones, who broke into Buckingham Palace to cement a public Robin Hood sort of persona during England's Victorian age. It's just, sorta, a shoutout to rapper pops. "A slave name, but it is what it is ..."

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Is It Really Necessary to Say 'Don't Duct Tape Dad!'

In order of life there is Rule No. 1 (No matter the temptation or desperation, treat your father like you will want to be treated) and Rule No. 2 (Duct tape solves almost — almost, ALMOST — any problem).

So, Mr. John T. Hallinan, 68, of Hanover, Mass., there was/is/will be no excuse to ignore Rule No. 1, just because it seems even momentarily convenient to duct tape your 93-year-old diapered dad while you went to work. Should we wish "the chair" upon him or just to have his own children carry out a similar sentence on him?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Riddle Me This Spider Dad

The biggest question yet to be answered about the recent adventure of Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, pops Christopher Robinson is whether or not he would have blown himself up if he were not a two-time father and one-time husband. He says he was just trying to kill the spider that frightened his wife and children when he took hairspray to flame. Based on the evidence collected by emergency personnel and firefighters he was successful as there was no spider to be found after he apparently hit a bit of gas leek and exploded a fireball in the bathroom.

So Robinson did successfully defend his family from the arachnid and should get props for that. Still, did he have to create the homemade flamethrower to do so? Would he have just used a newspaper if his children were not under threat? No way to replicate the experiment. Perhaps the answer can be found in Louann Brizendine's The Male Brain, which purports to be a long-awaited owners manual to being a guy.