Father Figures: Pinky Swear

“One afternoon, during a game of peek-a-boo with her brother gone wrong, my one-year-old’s pinky creeped into the hinged side of the door right before he shut it.

I got the call at work and met her at the hospital. She was in agony and wailing was the only way she knew how to communicate her pain and fear. Every nurse and doctor had to unwrap the dressing to verify that her pinky was still hanging on (it was, by a piece skin half way up the digit), all the while making attempts to comfort by saying that if you have to lose a finger, you don’t need your pinky!

I held her close as the ER nurses attempted to put an IV in her foot. (My advice is to get them to call a NICU nurse straight away, it will save a lot of heartache and pain.) I had to walk out one or twice to regain my composure after that.

We took a 30-minute ride to the children’s hospital, and the surgeon arrived; it was now 3am. The young doctor was the first person to put me at ease, sitting down and explaining how the procedure was going to go… and that he felt confident that her finger would be okay. About an hour in the OR then she was resting in recovery, finally at peace.

I was exhausted and just wanted to hold my baby girl. I climbed up on the gurney and laid with her. I’m thankful this moment was captured, I’ll always be there for you kiddo.

Dads are always there when you need them.

-Chris Tischler

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

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

Daughter Fulfills Father’s Dying Wish by Getting his Artwork to Sting

Daughter Fulfills Father’s Dying Wish by Getting his Artwork to Sting

In typical dad fashion, fathers will often do anything for their daughters in their times of need. From building a custom video game controller for a daughter with disabilities to bringing trick-or-treating 30,000 feet above ground, dads are gonna dad. When the tables turn and it’s a dad’s time of need, it becomes the daughter’s turn to step up. And that’s exactly what Elizabeth Santiago did.

According to the touching story Santiago shared with Humans of New York, her stepfather, Domingo Santiago, came into her life when she was five years old. He encouraged her creativity, celebrated her successes, and even built her very first bike from scraps. Domingo was an extremely talented artist but put his creativity aside to pursue a more stable career as a police officer. Before putting away his paint and brushes for good, he painted one last painting – a copy of an album cover, depicting a portrait of Sting. He dreamed of one day returning to his art, holding onto the hope of “when I retire”.

Sadly, that distant dream of retirement never came. In 1998, Domingo was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. MS is a disease that impacts your nervous system as well as your brain. Symptoms vary, but it can cause things like chronic pain, vision loss, fatigue, and weakness. Domingo’s symptoms began to worsen over time until eventually, he was unable to stand. In his final days, Domingo and his family were faced with the difficult task of sorting through his belongings. Domingo gave instructions for each and every item, dictating where it should go and to whom it should be given.

Upon rediscovering the old Sting painting in a dusty box, the question was posed again. Where should this go?

Elizabeth Santiago recalled, “His response was immediate. ‘Give it to Sting,’ he said. All of us started laughing. But Dad grew very serious. His eyes narrowed. He looked right at me, and said: ‘Give it to Sting.’ So I guess that’s my final assignment.”


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“I was five when he became a person in my world. I didn’t know exactly who he was. I just knew that there was someone around that was making my mother smile. I had to look way up to see him. I’d never met someone so strong. He’d tell me to hold onto his wrist, and he’d lift me into the sky with one hand. He worked at an auto shop, airbrushing designs onto the side of vans. I think he dreamed of being an artist. But he needed something more stable. So after he decided to marry my mom, he became a cop. He never lost touch with his creative side. He was always building things around the house—making things look fancier than we could afford. He built my first bike from scraps. He encouraged me to read. He encouraged me to write. He loved giving me little assignments. He’d give me a quarter every time I wrote a story. Fifty cents if it was a good one. Whenever I asked a question, he’d make me look it up in the encyclopedia. One day he built a little art studio at the back of our house. And he painted a single painting—a portrait of Sting that he copied from an album cover. But he got busy with work and never used the studio again. He was always saying: ‘when I retire.’ ‘I’ll go back to art, when I retire.’ ‘I’ll show in a gallery, when I retire.’ But that time never came. Dad was a cop for twenty years. He was one of the good ones. The kind of cop you see dancing on the street corner. Or skateboarding with kids. But in 1998 he was diagnosed with MS. First there was a little weakness. Then there was a cane. Then there was a wheelchair. It got to the point where he couldn’t even hold a paintbrush. We did his hospice at home. He seemed to have no regrets. He’d been a wonderful provider. He’d raised his daughters. He’d walked me down the aisle. During his final days, we were going through his possessions, one by one. He was telling me who to give them to. I pulled the Sting painting out of an old box, and asked: ‘What should I do with this?’ His response was immediate. ‘Give it to Sting,’ he said. All of us started laughing. But Dad grew very serious. His eyes narrowed. He looked right at me, and said: ‘Give it to Sting.’ So I guess that’s my final assignment.”

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Mickey Sumner, Sting’s daughter, saw the heartbreaking story. She immediately knew what she had to do. Sumner got in touch with Santiago, and soon enough, the painting was held by the very hands it depicted.

Sting’s official Instagram page shared a picture of Sting and Domingo’s painting side by side with the caption, “THE EAGLE HAS LANDED”.

Two daughters united to make a dedicated father’s last request a reality. The pair also started a fundraiser for the National MS Society in memory of Domingo, which has raised over $40,000 so far. Santiago was faced with a seemingly impossible task that ended in the most beautiful, unlikely way. Ok, so maybe not EVERY little thing she does is magic, but this is pretty dang close.

Tweet Roundup: The 15 Funniest Quarantine Era Tweets From May

May's Quarantine Tweet Roundup
(Getty/E. Audras)

It’s either month three or month 347 of quarantine, at this point, it’s hard to say. With every day feeling like it’s blending into the next, time has more or less lost all meaning. Fortunately for us, humor hasn’t! What better way to pull yourself out of the repetitiveness of life in isolation than to laugh at the absurdity of it all? Please enjoy 15 of the funniest, most relatable tweets about living in the era of quarantine.

Maybe you’ve developed a new self-care routine,

Even though everything seems a little bit harder right now.

Or maybe you’ve discovered new ways to make money,

And taken some time to challenge yourself.

Though being at home constantly can be challenging enough.

It may be helpful to remember that you’re not the only one struggling,

And missing life before all of this started,

Finding little things to keep you going.

But we’re all adapting,

And trying to make the best of it.

Listening to the experts,

Making new friends along the way,

And remembering that it’s ok to treat yourself right now.

Because even though there may be some bumps along the way,

There’s so much to look forward to.

Parenting in the quarantine era is tough, so here are 15 funny parenting in isolation tweets to ease the tension.

George Floyd Was a Dad

George Floyd Was a Dad
(Getty/Anadolu Agency)

Before his name was a flashpoint for protesters demanding justice. Before his name became a permanent fixture on cable news scrawls. Before his final moments were recorded and shared across every social media platform in existence. George Floyd was just a dad trying to make a better life for himself and his family.

Earlier this week, Floyd was arrested in Minneapolis, and well, you probably know the rest by now. The arresting office knelt on Floyd’s neck, for reasons unclear, while other officers watched. Floyd tried to get the officer to relent, struggling to tell him he couldn’t breathe. He lost consciousness and died. The officer was arrested, only after several nights of protests (which escalated into violence in some areas), and the other officers have yet to be charged. Protests have erupted in dozens of cities throughout the nation, with rioting in several of them, as some see this as little more than another episode in a long line of similar incidents of police brutality.

The case, and the underlying issues it ignited, is not going away anytime soon. George Floyd’s name is one you’ll hear for a long time. But it’s important to know there was more to the man than his final moments. There was more to the man than his tragic and unjust murder. George Floyd was a dad.

Floyd had three kids (the youngest being six years old) and the Houston native had relocated to Minnesota for better employment opportunities. He worked as a truck driver and most recently as a bouncer at a bar/restaurant. His friends described him as someone who was a protector and a provider. His brother described him to CNN as a “gentle giant” without a hateful bone in his body.

“Knowing my brother is to love my brother,” he said.

Former NBA player Stephen Jackson was friends with George Floyd when he lived in Houston, and described him as someone who got along with everyone.

“The last time I talked to him was about a year ago and every conversation we had in that year was about bettering ourselves and being better fathers,” Jackson told CNN. “That’s all he talked about.”

His uncle told a newspaper Floyd was the type of guy who would “give the shirt off his back for anyone.”

The man, the life he lived, the kids, family, and friends he leaves behind, will be overshadowed by what comes next. As protests continue and his story serves as a flashpoint for systemic injustice, his name will live on. The tragic circumstances around his death won’t be forgotten. And the horrifying video of his final moments will continue to be shown.

But it’s important to remember he was more than those 9 minutes. It’s important to remember the man, a dad, and the grieving loved ones he leaves behind.

Texas Principal Congratulates All 240 Graduating Seniors in Person

Texas Principal Congratulates All 240 Graduating Seniors in Person
(Youtube/Booker T. Washington HSPVA)

Being a principal is no cakewalk. You’ve seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off right? Every school basically has 1500 Ferris Bueller disciples running around their halls. So yeah, being a principal can be a crap job at times.

Fortunately, there are so many who go above and beyond the call of duty to show their students that no matter what, they have someone on their team. There was this assistant principal, who without a second thought, laid down on the pavement next to a student with autism who was having a tough time. And who could forget this committed principal who dressed from head to toe as Elf on the Shelf, before spending the day hiding around his school. The newest addition to this ever-growing list of A+ principals is Dr. Scott Rudes, from Dallas, Texas.

Rudes, principal of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, is a father of a senior himself. He saw firsthand how devastating the effects of the coronavirus have been on this year’s graduating class. They didn’t get to build cherished memories of prom, graduation, or their final days alongside their best friends. They missed out on so much, and Rudes wouldn’t stand for it anymore.

According to Fox News’s KDFW, Rudes said in a message to his seniors, “Whatever presents in life, find the opportunity with that and run with it.” And that’s exactly what he did.

Rather than mourning the fact that his students couldn’t walk across the stage to accept their diplomas, he saw an opportunity. Why not give each senior their own little graduation? It seems insane, how can a single person deliver hundreds of diplomas, one by one? I guess the only real answer is “uh, you just do it”.

It took 10 days, and Rudes covered a total distance of 1,500 miles to visit all 240 of his seniors. He laughed with them, danced with them, and gave them something they never thought they’d get – a memory of their very own high school graduation.

Some lessons can be taught in the classroom. Math, history, you can learn about those from a book. Some lessons though, like selflessness and generosity, are often best learned outside of the classroom. Preferably from one excellent principal.

Josh Gad Is Reuniting the Cast of ‘Lord of the Rings’ Tomorrow

Lord of the Rings Reunion
(YouTube/Josh Gad)

Over the course of the quarantine, Josh Gad has been doing the Lord’s Work.

He’s used this period, during which we are all forced to stay home and occupy ourselves inside, to bring together the casts of some classic 80s movies. The man who embodies Olaf created a YouTube series titled “Reunited Apart” in which he gathers cast members from various movies onto a big video call, and they reminisce about the making of their movies.

Thus far, Gad has focused on 80s flicks like The Goonies, Back to the Future, and Splash. We rounded up all of the full episodes here for your nostalgic viewing pleasure.

But for his next episode, he’s chosen a classic property that’s only a few decades old instead.

This Sunday, Gad will debut the Lord of the Rings episode of Reunited Apart, complete with Elijah Wood, Sean Astin (who already appeared on The Goonies episode), Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Orlando Bloom, and Sir Ian McKellen. That’s all four hobbits, Legolas, and Gandalf! A pretty solid collection of cast members from one of the most epic fantasy trilogies ever made.

Check out the trailer below, and let us know what case you want to see Gad bring together next. I vote for Red Dawn. WOLVERINES!!!

Watch the Full Episodes of the 6 Best Cast Reunions (So Far)

6 Best Cast Reunions
(Instagram/Will Smith YouTube/Josh Gad)

Celebrities: currently just as bored as the rest of us nameless nobodies. And if there’s one silver lining to all this, it’s that they’re far more susceptible to the concept of cast reunions. Most are willing, eager even to recapture any modicum of onscreen chemistry they shared with former costars. It’s truly a treat for everyone involved.

Here are 6 of the best pop culture reunions we’ve seen so far this year.

The Goonies

Heeyyyy you guyyyyys! If the prospect of a Goonies TV series doesn’t shift your nostalgia gear into overdrive, this certainly will. Josh Gad, Olaf himself, recently launched a reunion-centric YouTube series called Reunited Apart, and so generously invited on the clan from this 80s classic. Thank goodness Goonies also never say no to reunions.

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Back To The Future

Josh Gad making with the goods once again. If you’re even the most casual fan of the BTTF trilogy, you’re certain to get a kick out of this one.  Featuring Christopher Lloyd, Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, director Robert Zemeckis, and several surprise guests! Spoiler: Huey Lewis! There was also one cast member missing from the first round but he made his presence known here.

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The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

When Will Smith launched his quarantine Snapchat show, Will At Home, we knew this was an inevitability. Will successfully reassembled the whole Banks family (minus Uncle Phil of course, RIP) to chat about their time together on Fresh Prince. Carlton, Hilary, Ashley, Geoffrey, Aunt Viv. Even Jazz pops in for a bit!

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Parks & Recreation

It’s been 5 years since your favorite crew from Pawnee, Indiana appeared together in the series finale of Parks & Rec. In a bid to raise money for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund, Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Aziz Ansari, Rashida Jones, Aubrey Plaza, Nick Offerman, and a few other familiar faces got together for, not just your run-of-the-mill cast reunion, but a whole freakin’ scripted episode, with everyone filming remotely. Hopefully, this paves the way for other shows to do the same. Fingers crossed for Seinfeld’s “The Zoom Call.”

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Community is one of the most resilient sitcoms in TV history. It stayed on NBC for four seasons despite abysmal ratings, got canned, was immediately revived by its fan base, and then killed once more. Now the students of Greendale Community College are back, raising money for frontline workers with a table read of the season 5 classic, “Cooperative Polygraphy.” Even Donald Glover was there!

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Okay, now you’re just showing off, Josh. But we approve of the John Candy related content.

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Ryan Reynolds Joins the Reunited Cast of ‘Splash’ to Discuss John Candy

Splash Reunion
(YouTube/Josh Gad Touchstone Films)

The COVID-19 quarantine is forcing us to be stuck inside, with only our families and our streaming services for company. It can be a little boring, even with all the extra content. Not having any sports and with very few new movies and events going on, there’s still a substantial void in our lives.

Luckily, some people in Hollywood are doing their best to spice things up, releasing movies early, having virtual watch parties, and more. Josh Gad has gone the extra mile, using his connections and celebrity friends to reunite some of our favorite casts and bring some excitement to our daily screen regimens. Gad – Broadway star, the voice of Olaf, upcoming costar in the Honey I Shrunk the Kids legacyquel – has been taking advantage of a captive audience – and captive celebrities – to bring together stars from some classic 80s movies. He’s reunited the casts of the Goonies and Back to the Future, and for the latest episode of his YouTube show “Reunited Apart,” he brought the cast of Splash into our homes. And the highlight of the episode is when John Candy becomes the focus.

Gad brought together stars Tom Hanks and Darryl Hannah, co-star Eugene Levy, and director Ron Howard to discuss the movie that made Hanks a star – and made him fall in love with a fish. One notable absence from the reunion was legendary comic actor John Candy, who passed away 26 years ago. The cast spent some time reminiscing about their old friend, and Howard shared a hilarious story about Candy’s hi-jinks.

The director recalled the most amazing excuse Candy offered when he arrived late to the set one day.

“He said, ‘Look, I’m drunk!’” the director said. “Here’s what happened … I’m at the bar and Jack Nicholson’s at the bar. Jack Nicholson knew my name, Ron. He starts buying me drinks, I said, ‘I gotta go shoot’ and he said, ‘You’ll be alright kid, don’t worry about it.’ I never went to bed, Ron, I never went to bed!”

Ryan Reynolds, a fellow Canadian and comic actor, even pops up to praise Candy, calling him one of his favorite performers.

Check out the reunion:

Ryan Gosling to Play The Wolfman in Modern Take on Classic Monster Flick

Gosling is The Wolfman
(Universal Pictures Getty/Jim Spellman)

A few years ago, Universal tried to resurrect its classic movie monsters and get in on the “expanded universe” game that was working so well for Marvel and Star Wars. They called theirs the “Dark Universe” and it was meant to kick off with Tom Cruise’s Mummy movie, before new versions of the Invisible Man and the Wolfman followed, starring Johnny Depp and Javier Bardem, respectively.

Well, The Mummy was laughed out of theaters and the Dark Universe died a quick death.

Or did it?

Earlier this year, Elisabeth Moss starred in The Invisible Man, which put a horror-fire, Me Too spin on the tale, and now news has it that Ryan Gosling may be throwing on some prosthetics to play The Wolfman.

Variety has the news that the Canadian heartthrob, last seen in Damien Chazelle’s First Man as Neil Armstrong, may fanging up, but it doesn’t sound like your typical werewolf movie.

Based on Gosling’s own idea, this version will take place in the modern-day and would be in the vein of Jake Gyllenhaal’s Nightcrawler, which was about an unhinged cameraman who, to get ahead in the news business, created his own news. How that movie will inspire a tale of a man who turns into a bloodthirsty wolf once a month is yet to be seen, but it sounds a little like Jack Nicholson’s fun 90s version.

These movies don’t appear part of any type of linked universe, so far, as Universal has apparently switched gears to make one-off movies featuring their iconic monsters. Which is probably a good thing. For one, the idea of a bunch of monsters forming an alliance or whatever it would take to unite them into a shared ecosystem is beyond silly. For another, can’t we just make the occasional movie that doesn’t require tons of backstory and mythology?

One thing is for sure, Gosling’s werewolf will almost certainly be charming AF.

The Sonic Redesign Must Have Worked Because He’s Getting a Sequel

Sonic Sequel
(Paramount Pictures)

Ben Schwartz is a busy dude.

His Space Force just debuted on Netflix, before the quarantine he was performing improv on tour with Thomas Middleditch (you can see those three specials on Netflix too), he reprised his legendary role as Jean-Ralphio for the Parks and Rec virtual reunion, and he starred in last year’s Sonic the Hedgehog movie as the voice of Sonic himself.

Now, according to Variety – and Schwartz’s own Instagram account – he’ll be back to reprise that role too, in a sequel to the surprisingly successful movie.


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Variety doesn’t have many details, but Schwartz will obviously be back as the speedy critter from another world who struck up a friendship with James Marsden’s small-town cop. Together the pair evaded the evil Dr. Robotnik, portrayed with scenery-chewing glee – and a scene-stealing mustache – by Jim Carrey, who ended the first movie stranded on a mushroom planet.

No idea yet if he or Marsden will be back, but based on the movie’s end-credit scene, Sonic’s little friend Tails will be joining the adventure, no matter what form it takes.

The movie’s success was a bit of a surprise, especially after Sonic himself underwent a total redesign after fans objected to his look in the first trailer. Apparently fans were happy with the new version, as the movie grossed $58 million in its opening weekend, which was the biggest opening for a movie based on a video game character.

Hopefully, the studio won’t have to re-engineer Tails for his debut in the sequel!

Watching Jack Black Torment His Celebrity Friends for Charity is Therapeutic

Jack Black Celebrity Escape Room
(YouTube/Celebrity Escape Room)

Celebrities are just like us! They drink coffee, they get gas, they let their hair go and their beards grow and get desperately bored during the quarantine the same way you and I do! We’re all doing what we can to survive this thing, and also find ways to pass the time so we don’t go insane.

Ok, maybe celebrities are having a little easier time navigating this pandemic, hunkered down in spacious luxury homes with pools, home gyms, and personal assistants providing for them. That said, watching them get mocked by Jack Black is the guilty pleasure we need right now. And it’s also for charity.

If you’ve never been in an escape room, it’s essentially a real-time puzzle you and your groups are forced to solve in order to, well, escape the room. Usually, these rooms don’t include celebrities, but for this special edition, Friends’ Courtney Cox and Lisa Kudrow were joined by Adam Scott and Ben Stiller, with Jack Black serving as the Master of Ceremonies. Duties he took obvious delight in performing while his pals attempted to solve their way out of captivity.

The show aired on NBC on Thursday, May 21st, aka Red Nose Day, just before a two-hour Red Nose Day special, to help raise funds for children in need.

Check out the whole episode here:

The “Man Reunites With Donkey” Video You Didn’t Know You Needed

Man Reunites with Donkey
(YouTube/Cadena SER)

We’ve seen our fair share of heartwarming reunions in the era of COVID-19. The cast of Fresh Prince came together for an appearance on Will Smith’s Snapchat show. Dan Harmon hosted a Community table read fundraiser. The gang from Back to the Future and Goonies reunited virtually.

But none of 2020’s nostalgia-fueled reunions will tug at your heartstrings quite like this one.

Meet Ismael Fernández. Ismael lives in Malaga, Spain, and has been on quarantine lockdown for the last two months. When restrictions loosened in recent weeks, he had but one order of business: a trip to his sister’s, who’d been caring for his best friend, a donkey named Baldomera.

“Que pasa?” Ismael repeats, his voice quavering. Baldomera reciprocated with some overjoyed brays and whimpers in return. It’s unbearably sweet. The video’s in Spanish, but the affection on display certainly transcends all language barriers.

Watch their precious reunion right here:

Top that, Will and Jazz.

Detroit “Mower Gang” Rivals Face Off to Preserve City Parks

Detroit "Mower Gang" Rivals Face Off to Preserve City Parks
(Facebook/Detroit Mower Gang)

Any lawnmower owner will tell you, with great horsepower comes great responsibility. The first rule of lawnmownership (the act of owning a lawnmower) is befriend your lawnmower – nobody wants to be up against what is basically a knife windmill on wheels when the robots take over. The second rule of lawnmownership is know your limits. You may think you can handle a cool 130 miles per hour on your sweet riding mower, but please take another look at rule one (see “knife windmill on wheels”) to remember what you’re actually dealing with here. The third rule of lawnmownership is use your lawnmower for good, not evil. That’s exactly what Tom Nardone did, and it ended up saving his city.

In 2010, Tom Nardone realized Detroit was in trouble. Financial hardship meant that the city had to pick and choose between basic maintenance projects, and the city’s inhabitants were left to live with overgrown parks and crumbling playgrounds. Instead of allowing his beloved city to be buried in buckthorn and dandelions, Nardone started a gang. A mower-riding, groundskeeping, donut-eating crew called The Detroit Mower Gang.

The Detroit Mower Gang has been in operation for a decade. Their Facebook page explains, “Every Other Wednesday The Mower Gang gets together to mow the abandoned playgrounds of Detroit. We are a crafty crew that refuses to let small budgets and bureaucracy stand in the way of a great playground.” The group is entirely volunteer-based and open to anyone interested in keeping Detroit looking its best.

Once a year, the Mower Gang kicks things up a notch. For 12 straight hours, grass will be cut. Parks will be revamped. Dreams will be crushed. That’s right gentleman, start your engines. The annual Detroit Mow-a-Thon is about to begin. There can only be one ‘Motown Mowdown’ Grand Champion, the mower who cuts the most grass within the 12-hour period.

Congratulations to this year’s winner, Gage, who rolled right over his competitors.

Though the group hosts other events such as the stinky fish challenge, ice cream night, and donut tasting (hey, the lawnmowers aren’t the only things that need to refuel after a long day’s work), the group’s main goal is to preserve parks so they can continue to be used by the community. Who would have thought that 40 years ago, when Nardone was running around those very same parks yelling “YOUR ASS IS GRASS” at his rowdy friends, he would return all these years later to say “and I’m the lawnmower”, ensuring that the next generation can do the same.