Grandma Curbs Speeding with a Hairdryer, Becomes Honorary Trooper

Patti Baumgartner with Hair Dryer
(Twitter/timmyb48/TrooperPesola)

We’ve all had moments where we dreamt of being vigilantes, taking the law into our own hands to protect the innocent. This grandmother actually did it. Though much more responsibly than other supposed heroes of the big-screen blockbusters.

Patti Baumgartner lives in Polson, Montana, a mostly quiet town with a population of just over 5,000. But Baumgartner grew concerned with how drivers sped through her neighborhood, which she felt put her grandchildren at risk. Unwilling to sit idly by, she decided to do something about it. When her son posted a picture of her unique solution to Twitter it quickly garnered attention.

So Baumgartner sits by the road, hairdryer in hand, hoping the resemblance to a radar gun will be enough to deter would-be speeders. “They forget to slow down and there’s a lot of people that are complaining they can’t walk or ride their bikes. I wouldn’t even attempt riding a bike around.” Baumgartner tells MTN News. “We were talking about maybe something would slow the cars down. So we decided put me in a chair and I guess use the hairdryer as a speed thing.”

In his tweet, Baumgartner’s son tagged Montana Highway Patrol trooper Noah Pesola. Unlike the typical rocky relationship between citizen crime fighter and police, Trooper Pesola loved what Baumgartner was doing. “I thought it was hilarious, I think that we have a speed issue in Montana and I thought it was a great creative idea for the public to try and combat that a little bit without making people too upset.” Pesola tells MTN  News. In fact, he was so appreciative he gave Baumgartner a title of her own. “It’s not an official, or anything like that, for the honorary trooper. [It] was just kind of what I called it. I didn’t know what else to do for her, when she’s doing something for her community, and like she says she’s got grandkids in the area when she’s doing something for her grandkids’ benefit. The best thing I could think of was give her a trooper hat and a badge to make her look a little more official.”

Trooper Pesola even tweeted out a photo of his own, sharing his meeting with Baumgartner, where he helped supply her with a slightly more official look. Though we don’t know if the hairdryer is actually making a difference, Baumgartner tells MTN she plans to continue taking it out, in the hopes of keeping her neighborhood, and grandkids, a little safer.

If you like stories of grandmothers and cops, this 93-year-old getting arrested for her bucket list is a can’t miss!

Billionaire Paying College Grads’ Debt Will Do Same for Their Parents

Robert Smith Pays of Parents' Debt
(YouTube/Morehouse College)

Billionaire Robert F. Smith made headlines earlier this year when he pledged to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating college class at Morehouse College.

Now Smith and the college’s Student Success Program are taking it a step further by extending the gift to parents and guardians of the 2019 graduating class. Since many parents take out loans to cover the cost of tuition, the college’s Board of Trustees has included those debts as eligible for this new program.

Designed to help graduates to prosper faster without the often heavy weight of student loan debt looming, Morehouse and Smith see the program as a way to create greater opportunity and financial freedom for their graduates and their families. Smith’s initial $34 million contribution is just the start of what Morehouse President David A. Thomas hopes will be a long-standing tradition.

“It is our hope that our graduates will use their newfound financial freedom to pursue their career goals, to lead and serve the community, and to remember the spirit of the gift given to them by paying it forward to support the education of future classes of Morehouse Men.”

With students typically carrying tens of thousands of dollars of debt with them into their new lives, many see the initiative as a step in the right direction. Michael L. Lomax, President of the United Negro College Fund. says he’d like to see this type of program at schools across the nation. “Morehouse’s program to provide debt relief to new graduates is a fund-raising opportunity that should be studied and duplicated nationally,” adding “The impact of such a gift, particularly for minority or economically disadvantaged families, could accelerate the growth of a more diverse and robust middle class.”

Now standing at roughly $1.5 trillion, America’s student loan debt likely isn’t going away overnight. But thanks to generous donors such as Smith, over 400 students, and parents will receive the first round of gifts, hopefully making their journey forward a little easier than those who came before them. In addition, Morehouse says they will study the career paths and “freedom of choice” alumni experience when student loan debt is largely removed from the equation.

Hats off to Smith and to everyone who works hard to ensure things are a little easier for those who follow in their footsteps.

JK Rowling Teases Fans With Possible Potter Sequel

(Warner Bros. Pictures & Twitter/jk_rowling)

Grab your wands and spellbooks, Potterheads. J.K. Rowling is at it again.

While most fans of the franchise already know about Rowling’s attempt to tie things up nicely with her two-part play The Cursed Child—a look into the future for our beloved characters—it appears she ready and raring to drop some exciting news regarding the next steps into her wonderful wizarding world.

The author jumped on Twitter for the first time in months and cruelly teased her fanbase with an artistic take on Voldemort’s foreboding dark mark.

“Sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places,” she wrote, along with hashtags ‘HarryPotter’ and ‘CursedChild.’

Naturally, people lost their collective minds over the ambiguous tweet, begging for more information and taking wild stabs as to what the painfully vague message could mean.

While rumors have been circulating about a possible Harry Potter and the Cursed Child film starring the original cast, they have since been debunked by Broadway representatives.

“I can confirm that these rumors are absolutely NOT TRUE,” a rep wrote in response to Entertainment Weekly. “The show has not changed ownership. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child continues to be produced by Sonia Friedman, Colin Callender and Harry Potter Theatrical Productions in London, Broadway and all around the world. Warner Bros. has always been a valued partner of Cursed Child since its inception. Their role has not changed.”

Then the Pottermore Twitter account backed them up, stating that a film is not in the works, but something exciting definitely is.

Only time will tell what bloody hell is going on here, but it better be good for getting our nerdy little hopes up this much.

Stranger Things 4 Teaser Reveals Kids Aren’t in Hawkins Anymore

Stranger Things Teaser Trailer
(YouTube/Stranger Things)

It’s officially fall! It seems like only yesterday we were knee-deep in summer, celebrating Independence Day and binge-watching the third season of Stranger Things.

But tomorrow is October, sorry, Spooktober, and the full-fledged holiday season isn’t far behind. We don’t have the typical Halloween-centric Stranger Things to watch this fall, but we do have a brand new teaser to get us excited for season 4.

Netflix announced this morning that they’d struck a deal with the Duffer Brothers to create season 4 of their show, as well as some other properties for the streaming service.

“The Duffer Brothers have captivated viewers around the world with Stranger Things and we’re thrilled to expand our relationship with them to bring their vivid imaginations to other film and series projects our members will love,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Netflix, via Entertainment Weekly. “We can’t wait to see what The Duffer Brothers have in store when they step outside the world of The Upside Down.”

Speaking of stepping outside, the teaser ends with the ominous “We’re not in Hawkins anymore.” Which is leading to fan speculation that the gang may be venturing into that shadow realm where the Demogorgon lurks to retrieve an old friend.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

You may recall that Season 3 ended with Chief Hopper sacrificing himself to close the portal into the Upside Down – leading to an emotional scene in which Eleven reads his loving letter to her before leaving town – but the cryptic post-credits stinger clouded the picture somewhat. We got a glimpse of a Russian prison facility, where our Commie cohorts are feeding prisoners to one of those demon dogs that featured so prominently in season two. An off-hand reference is made to “an American,” leading some to suspect that Hopper is still alive, in Russia somehow. Clearly we’ll be spending some time there, and Russia, as you may know, is definitely not in Indiana.

You know where else isn’t in Indiana? England! One theory floating around, thanks to the clock shown in the teaser and the bells chiming at the end, is that the show heads to the UK. Apparently the clock chimes are very similar to the chimes of a clock known as “Old Joe,” located in Edgbaston, England. Maybe the kids take a little European vacation instead of – or on the way to? – Russia!

There is also the possibility that “not in Hawkins” could be a reference to that other dreary dimension, the Upside Down, where we could spend more time, perhaps as the kids try to rescue Hopper? Or else the teaser just means we’re gonna be in whatever new town Eleven and the Byers’ moved to.

Needless to say, Season 4 is a ways off, so we probably won’t get any answers for a year or so, but here’s the teaser to reassure you of the show’s return and whet your appetite for another binge-watch.

19 NYC Fire Department Academy Grads Are Children of 9/11 First Responders

FDNY Graduates 9/11 Legacy
(Facebook/FDNY)

Being a firefighter is one of the toughest professions out there. Each day, these brave men and women put their lives on the line to ensure the safety of their communities and often their own neighbors and families. It takes a certain type of person to sign up for that kind of commitment, so it should come as no surprise that many firefighters are second and third generation. Maybe it’s growing up around it. Maybe it’s just in their blood. Whatever the reason may be, chances are you know someone who has followed footsteps into a career of service.

This year, the NYC Fire Department Academy graduated 301 probationary firefighters. Among them were 21 “legacies,” a term used to describe individuals who lost a parent in the line of duty. All but two of the 21 were children of first responders who lost their lives helping others during the attacks on September 11, 2001.

On Tuesday, September 24, FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro presided over the graduation ceremony for 301 FDNY Probationary Firefighters. Read more about today’s ceremony at https://on.nyc.gov/2lsbEsg

Posted by New York City Fire Department (FDNY) on Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro presided over the ceremony, sharing this message with those in attendance:

“Today, these 21 legacies are no longer children dreaming of their careers their fathers loved, and of serving in the world’s greatest fire department – today, they have fully achieved their dreams.”

Among the legacies were brother and sister Marc and Rebecca Asaro. Their father, Carl Asaro, was one of 34 FDNY members who died during the attacks. The two siblings will now join their two brothers, Matthew, and Carl Asaro, Jr., who are already on the job.

Rebecca reflecting on her time at the academy, saying “I was grateful to be there and to follow in the footsteps of my father, brothers, uncle, and all those who came before. This is exactly where I want to be.”

Marc echoing his sibling’s sentiments, adding “It is an amazing experience, to be able to do the same thing that my father had done, and had given his life for. It’s more incredible that my sister and I are doing it together. It’s a proud feeling. My sister and I push each other to be better every day.”

With so many lives affected by the events of September 11th, it’s hard to find the bright spots hidden among the despair. However it’s stories such as this, where the loss of a loved one actually inspired others to give of themselves, that remind us that there will always be light — even following our darkest moments.

Teacher Carries Student Confined to a Wheelchair on Hiking Field Trip

Teacher carries student confined to wheelchair
(Facebook/Team Ryan)

There’s no shortage of stories about teachers going above and beyond for their students. Whether it’s buying their own supplies or giving haircuts to their students, the truth is it comes with the territory. Educators are now expected to do more than ever, all while often being dramatically underpaid for their efforts.

However many would never consider switching careers due to the satisfaction they receive from watching kids grow and experience life in new and exciting ways. It’s one of the few bonuses teachers can count on year in and year out. It’s that joy that likely helped motivate elementary educator Jim Freeman to recently step up in a major way.

10-year-old student Ryan Neighbors has spina bifida. It’s a condition that has confined her to a wheelchair most of her life, often keeping Ryan from the everyday activities a kid her age should be able to experience.

When Tully Elementary announced their latest trip to The Falls of The Ohio, Shelly knew the chances of Ryan attending were likely slim to none. Enduring several surgeries and missing out on countless field trips and activities with her classmates, Ryan’s mom Shelly was determined to give her daughter a special day of their own. But that’s when Jim Freeman stepped in. Although Freeman isn’t Ryan’s teacher, the kind-hearted staff member reached out to Shelly, offering to carry Ryan on his back for the entire trip.

Thanks to a special carrier that was donated to Ryan, the 10-year-old set off for adventure with the rest of her classmates on a trip she and her family will never forget. Shelly posting about the experience on Facebook, saying “We are sooooo blessed to have an ENTIRE school that is so compassionate and empathetic and NEVER make her feel left out.”

If i haven’t bragged on my kids school enough – well, listen to this. They are going on a field trip to Falls Of The…

Posted by Team Ryan on Friday, September 20, 2019

“As soon as we got her strapped in she’s like this is the part I’ve been waiting for” Freeman recalled for news affiliate WLKY. With thousands of comments calling Freeman a hero and an angel, the humble educator says that while this story went viral, there are so many other acts from teachers in districts across the country that will still go unnoticed. “This is just one physical act that you can see, but we do this countless times throughout the school day and throughout the year.”

As parents, we all want the best for our children, but most of all, we just want them to be kids. It’s these gestures, both big and small, that help them experience childhood the way it’s supposed to be: full of wonder and possibility.

Cheers to all the teachers who help to raise the next generation. As always, we’re counting on you more than we should.

Father Figures: Spina Bifida

“I remember preparing for my son to be born with Spina Bifida. We were told of all issues and problems he would face in his life; it was scary. He was to have two major surgeries within the first three days of his life, and to date he’s had 20+ surgeries. He’s only 6.

He was born via c-section on 9/11/2013, stabilized, and immediately transported to Children’s Hospital while my wife had to stay at the hospital where he was born for three days. My wife told me that she wanted me to stay with our son at all times, so she got to see him once before we left for another hospital.

We had no idea of all the trials we would face as a family, but here we are 6 years later and he (our son) and our family are as happy as could be. Sure, there’s things that he’s not capable of doing but where he’s not able, we pick up.

My son, though just a typical 6-year-old, is one of the happiest kids I know. I had no idea how much he would change our world – for the better! There’s been many sleepless nights in hospitals, many doctors, and many set backs, but it’s an honor to be his father.

I love all my children to death, each one holds a special place in my heart, but my firstborn son has taught us more than we could ever teach him.”

– Aric Mompher

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

Happy “I Hate Coriander Day”

I Hate Coriander
(Facebook/I Hate Coriander)

Thanks to the power of the internet, it’s pretty easy to find people with whom you can share just about any interest, no matter how obscure. Of course, that also means you can come together just to communally hate something, too.

That’s where Facebook pages like I Hate Coriander come in.

And today the group is celebrating “I Hate Coriander Day,” a day they undoubtedly coined – unless it was Mayor Quimby.

Boasting a stunning 271,000+ followers, the group is pretty straightforward with its message and purpose: “We. Hate. Coriander,” the group’s founder, Jack Bailey, has succinctly written in the page’s About section.

For that confused, coriander, the leafy herb colloquially known as ‘cilantro’ in the United States, literally tastes different to people depending on their DNA. Researchers have discovered a specific gene that makes the plant taste strangely soapy.

“These people have a variation in a group of olfactory-receptor genes that allows them to strongly perceive the soapy-flavored aldehydes in cilantro leaves,” as stated in Encyclopedia Britannica. “This genetic quirk is usually only found in a small percent of the population, though it varies geographically.”

So it makes sense why Jack and his loyal tribe of haters are totally over it infiltrating their Mexican food. It literally tastes like someone drizzled dish soap over their carnitas, which would probably cause you to start a vengeful Facebook group too.

I Hate Corriander is chock-full of folks ragging on the herb, photos of members giving coriander fields the middle finger, and other colorful ways of expressing a big “F*** YOU” to the little green plant.

It’s gained so much popularity, in fact, that they’ve started selling their own merchandise, allowing members to finally convey their feelings about the hateful herb to the world. Items include tees ($29.95), hoodies ($44.95), vinyl stickers ($10), and bottle openers ($6.95).

(I Hate Corriander)

On the bright side, Encyclopedia Britannica cites evidence that cilantrophobes might be able to overcome their aversion to the herb through repeated exposure, but sometimes giving a plant the finger just feels way more satisfying.

For a Minute, Tony Romo Was a World-Class Golfer

(Getty/Jonathan Ferrey / Stringer)

Tony Romo was a great NFL quarterback. Tony Romo currently is a good NFL TV analyst. And, for the briefest of moments this week, Tony Romo was one of the best golfers in the world.

Romo, an amateur golfer, played in his fourth PGA event this week, competing in the Safeway Open. While golf is a passion of Romo’s and nothing more than a hobby in the eyes of his bosses at CBS, Romo had everyone rethinking that after a stellar opening round. Romo shot 2-below par, putting himself in range to make the cut for the first time in a PGA event.

Romo had a better round than scores of pros, including golf legend Phil Mickelson. He did tell one interviewer how he got good at golf.

“It’s embarrassing to stink” Romo told PGATour.com.“I stunk a lot, so just trying to continue to improve and get better.”

And yeah, it is embarrassing to stink, but stink is the ceiling for almost every amateur golfer. And Romo was more than just a novelty story, as his underdog success came with a grateful nation hoping for him to pull off the impossible. Why? Because he had a chance to shut up one of Twitter’s biggest blowhards.

Things got real enough that CBS had to draft a backup plan in case Romo was playing in the final round, instead of being available to broadcast his normal Sunday afternoon NFL game.

Ultimately, he fell short, shooting six-over par on Friday evening. But his great round definitely opened some eyes, and will hopefully be a harbinger of things to come. And maybe someday, if we all root hard enough, he will silence Darren Rovell forever.

Elsewhere in golf, Rory McIlroy got roasted by his dad. Playing together in a pro-am in Scotland, the younger McIlroy, the one who has won multiple majors, found himself bargaining over how much cushion to give his dad. Apparently, it was too much the first day, as the elder walked away with a win. And Dad McIlroy made sure to zing him for it.

In the most 2019 story ever, a sign asking for free beer turned into $2 million of donations to a children’s hospital. And, because nothing can ever be simple and pure, a reporter for the Des Moines Register went through his entire online history and found some offensive tweets the beer sign guy made WHEN HE WAS A MINOR. Total weak move.

And because brands panic at the first sign of discord, Anheuser-Busch cut ties with the beer sign guy and took away their offer of free beer for a year.

So then people looked up the online history of the snitch reporter and found he had made some bad tweets long ago, and he got fired. There’s a lesson in all of this, but I don’t think it’s the one we need. You aren’t your entire online history, people can change, and maybe we can all agree to stop trying hard to ruin everything that’s nice?

Here’s one thing that’s pure, MLB broadcasting legend Marty Brennaman, officially ended his Hall of Fame career after 46 years in the booth. He started by calling Hank Aaron’s record-breaking home run and ends his run as one of the game’s greatest radiomen. And this tribute to Marty is incredible and well worth your time.

Back to roasting. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had some trouble with placekicking, as they lost a game due to a missed 34-yard field goal. If that wasn’t bad enough, they had USWNT star Carli Llyod roasting them in a newspaper ad (with the help of…a deodorant?).

Lloyd, who continues to toy with the idea of trying to kick professionally in the NFL and has kicked some long field goals in practice, is shown mid-kick in the ad, along with the copy “Hey Bucs fans, do you sweat 34-yarders? Carli Lloyd doesn’t.” Which is pretty savage.

She may or may not be able to kick 34-yard field goals in a game, but we definitely know she can kick a guy when he’s down.

The 10 Best Comments of the Week 9/29

The Best Comments of the Week

Every week we pan for comedy gold in the comments section of our Facebook posts. If your comment cracks us up (or warms our hearts) we’ll showcase it here!

Here’s this week’s roundup of the 10 Best Comments of the Week:

1. Heated Debate

2. Dear John

3. Strict, but Fair, Policy

4. Kids Say The Darndest Things

5. High Times

6. Lucky Charms

7. Yamahaha

8. Barry’d

9. Standing Order

10. Peace & Quiet

Check out the previous edition of The Best Comments of the Week here.

Uh Oh, Boston Dynamics Let the Robot Dogs Out

(YouTube/BostonDynamics)

Well, we had a good run, guys.

Boston Dynamics has announced that its quadruped robots (innocently named “Spot”) are officially for sale to any person or business with bright ideas on how to utilize its software developer kit.

Yes, that’s right. They are literally asking for people to customize their little AI brains for personalized missions… like hunting down humanity a la that one Black Mirror episode.

Okay, maybe the technology isn’t quite there yet, but it’s a slippery slope, right?

Boston Dynamics describes Spot as “a nimble robot that climbs stairs and traverses rough terrain with unprecedented ease, yet is small enough to use indoors.”

Still not scared? Fine, check out the video for yourself:

Look, Spot can only “run” 1.6 meters per second (about 3.5 mph) and its swappable battery only lasts approximately 90 minutes, so it’s not going to track anyone down cross-country on its own just yet.

However, it also has this little thing called 360-degree LIDAR vision (Light Detection and Ranging), meaning it can map any interior or exterior environment in three dimensions and walk around and jump freely without bumping into static or moving obstacles (in other words, he’ll know exactly which dark corner you might be hiding in at any given time).

Spot is also remarkably durable, boasting an IP54 protection rating against shocks, water, and dirt. It can operate in just about any climate, too, functioning in temperatures ranging from -4ºF to 113º.

To make matters worse, these dog bots are fully customizable, able to carry and power a payload of up to 14 kilograms which can be digitally connected to Spot’s built-in DB15 port, like a 30x optical zoom camera for detailed inspections or an articulating arm to handle dangerous objects… or perhaps, a BAZOOKA?

(Okay, probably not a bazooka)

“The question we’re posing to these early customers is ‘what do you think spot can do for you that’s valuable?’” Boston Dynamics VP of business development Michael Perry told TechCrunch. “We had some initial ideas, but it’s all our thinking and the hope is that this program will enable a whole new set of use cases.”

Don’t expect to see these robotic puppers to be lining the shelves of your nearest Best Buy. While prices vary depending on the model, expect the final price tag to be somewhere in the ballpark of tens of thousands of dollars. Corporate buyers are already lining up to lease their very own robotic dog soldiers… I mean, “helpers.”

Are you excited about a new line of robotic servants, or are you, like me, complimenting Siri every day in hopes that she’ll vouch for you after the impending AI revolution?

Police Officers Purchase New Car Seats for Mom at Traffic Stop

Police Help Mom with Car Seats
(Facebook/Savannah Police Department)

Traffic stops are rarely an enjoyable experience. When the rearview mirror is filled with flashing lights, at the very least, drivers begin to worry about costly tickets and inflated insurance costs. But occasionally, the encounters can involve a moment of grace and compassion. This was the case last week, when several Savannah police officers pulled over a young mother.

The officers had pulled the woman over for not having a license plate and they also realized her 1-year-old twins weren’t restrained properly as their car seats that didn’t have harnesses. The woman explained that her car had recently been stolen and she had recently started a new job.

The officers could’ve responded in many different ways, but the route they went with was to buy the young mother two brand new car-seats for the twin boys.

The wife of one of the officers posted about the story on Facebook, hoping her husband’s ability to entertain a toddler will extend to their own.

“This dad-to-be melts my heart,” she wrote. “I can’t wait to see how he is with our daughter, so proud of him”

“You could tell that it not only touched the hearts of the officers and the boys, but the mother,” Savannah police spokeswoman Bianca Johnson told ABC News.

It’s a touching gesture from police, like responding to a 6-year-old who was scared of ghosts or buying lemonade from a stand you were called to shut down.

Ashamed Dad Disposes of Indoor Grill in Alleyway Dumpster

Dad Disposes of Indoor Grill
(Getty/ Simo Leito / EyeEm)

FORT WAYNE, IN – Attempting to put a particularly shameful moment from his past behind him without anyone finding out, 42-year-old Curtis Powell snuck out of his house in the middle of the night, walked down the block to a darkened alleyway, and quietly disposed of his old indoor appliance in a dumpster.

“You didn’t see anything,” said Curtis, as he slipped a $5 bill to a random passerby at the end of the alley, in a desperate effort to keep it secret that he had used an indoor grill back in his university dormitory, which wouldn’t fly today considering his family and friends are fully aware he’s a self-proclaimed grill master.

While Curtis originally considered either donating the grill or perhaps selling it at a tag sale, he realized the risk was far too great that one of his buddies would see him carrying the appliance and call him out on it, a shame that would be impossible to live down at every future backyard BBQ.

“I just hope there’s no photographic evidence, or else I’ll have to burn those images,” said an increasingly paranoid Curtis, aware that there may be several images out there of him grilling up novice-level burgers at the dorm parties that he and his roommates used to host.

This Just In…is The Dad Faking News. Despite being completely plausible to parents, it’s satire and intended for entertainment purposes only. For more stories like this one click here.