The Dad Of The Month, June 2020: Bryan Piatt

((Photos courtesy of Jessica Piatt))

We are honored to announce The Dad of the Month for June, 2020: Bryan Piatt. Bryan is a relentlessly hard worker and an all-star father and husband, even with a 4-year-old son who requires specialized medical care. His wife, Jessica, couldn’t help raving about him in her submission:

“Bryan is the most amazing dad. Our first baby was unplanned, but he was so excited to find out he was gonna be a dad. When he was born, we knew immediately something wasn’t right. Our son Nolan has gone on to be diagnosed with an incredibly rare chromosome disorder (very few in the world have it!), and in Nolan’s short 4 years, he’s had 4 surgeries, many ER trips, countless tests, procedures, and therapies. He’s significantly mentally impaired, so he relies on us for everything.

“Bryan has been there every step of the way, to every surgery, to most therapies, and is the sole reason Nolan learned to walk. He worked with him tirelessly. He was amazing with my post-partum depression, very encouraging, and helpful. Never judging. And all through this, he works third shifts in a factory, which is hard on his body.

“We had a second baby (no big health issues with this little boy, who we named Dallas), and he’s been just as involved with him. He gets very little sleep to make sure he gets to see the boys (and me!) before we leave for the day. We are so so fortunate for Bryan, and I couldn’t imagine living this life with someone else. Nolan and Dallas are so, so lucky.

To honor Bryan and his tireless commitment to his family in the face of such adversity, we’re giving him $500 and some special edition dad gear. Bryan’s steadfastness and refusal to let a medical condition steal their family’s joy is something we all hope we would exhibit. Cheers!

Click here to read more or nominate a special dad in your life.

8-Yr-Old’s Kindness Restores Walmart Employee’s Faith in Humanity

8-Year-Old’s Kindness Restores Walmart Employee’s Faith in Humanity
(Facebook/Tiffany Livengood)

Being an essential worker right now is stressful at best. With everyone so on edge that even the slightest breeze could cause a total meltdown, workers are facing a host of new challenges (aside from the fact that they’re keeping the world running in the middle of a pandemic). For one exhausted Walmart employee, an act of kindness by an 8-year-old girl reminded him that even though things are chaotic and especially hard right now, there is still a whole lot of good in the world.

Tiffany Livengood and her daughter Ryleigh made a Walmart run in Oxford, North Carolina earlier this month. Upon leaving the store, Ryleigh noticed carts scattered across the parking lot, with a single employee named CJ corralling them all by himself. To Ryleigh, this was completely unacceptable. This empathetic 8-year-old couldn’t simply sit by, watching this drained employee tediously collecting cart after cart – so she joined him.

“She looked at me and asked if she could help”, Tiffany wrote on Facebook. “She wanted to help him because ‘That’s what we are supposed to do. We are supposed to be kind.’ So she and I started to gather carts and push them to the store. Cart after cart, she pushed them to CJ. (It’s hard work pushing a line of carts, btw.) After 30 minutes or so, we pushed our last cart to Cj. Ryleigh ran to high five him and we parted ways.”

When noticing something that you don’t quite like going on in the world, there are different approaches to dealing with it. You can wish things were different, or you can make them different. This is far from the first time Ryleigh has taken it upon herself to make a positive difference, and her mom couldn’t be more proud.

“Ryleigh is incredibly sensitive and feels for everyone,” Tiffany told The Dad. “She is always trying to be nice to everyone.”

CJ shared his gratitude towards Ryleigh and her act of kindness in a post on Facebook.

CJ Facebook
(Facebook/CJ Hart)

The next day, Tiffany and Ryleigh returned to Walmart (Ryleigh stopping to collect a stray cart in the parking lot, of course). When CJ saw them, he approached Ryleigh and handed her a card, a small token of just how much her good deed meant to him. The card (which also contained $20, a small fortune to an 8-year-old) read, “Your hard work meant a lot to me. I don’t know you but you’re an angel.” CJ also slipped a $20 bill inside, as an additional thanks to the girl with a heart of gold.

Ryleigh Card
(Facebook/Tiffany Livengood)

This may have been a small act of kindness for Ryleigh, but to CJ, it made an enormous difference. Aside from pushing carts, Ryleigh has given us the push we needed to remember just how important it is to take care of each other.

Ozark Teaser Confirms It’s Coming Back a 14-Episode Final Season

S4 of Ozark
(Instagram/Netflix)

A few months ago, when the quarantine was still young, we all found ourselves gravitating to the same exciting new content. Stuck inside and desperate for entertainment, the world was captivated by Netflix’s Tiger King mini-series, ESPN’s Jordan documentary The Last Dance, and the third season of Ozark.

Ozark is the only one of those shows that wasn’t self-contained, and that ended with a cliffhanger. No spoilers here, but it was a shocking end to a tense, violent season, and almost immediately viewers were desperate to know two things: what’s going to happen next, and if there even would be a next.

It seemed unfathomable that Netflix wouldn’t re-up Ozark for a fourth season, but when it didn’t happen immediately, some viewers got more nervous than Wendy Byrde upon learning her brother had bought a cellphone.

Thankfully, Netflix has finally made it official, but the news is a tad bittersweet. Because while Ozark is coming back for a fourth season, the streaming platform also announced that it would be the show’s last. The good news? It’s a super-sized season, with 14 episodes!

It was announced via Ozark’s own Instagram channel:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

They’re going out with a bang. Ozark will conclude with an expanded 14-episode final season.

A post shared by OZARK (@ozark) on

The plan is for the season to be split into two seven-episode parts. No word yet on when it will air, but hopefully the pandemic will be but a memory by then and we can devote all of our anxiety to the efforts of the Byrde family to escape the Ozarks alive.

“Tom’s Bad Dad Jokes” Provide Some Much-Needed Groan-Laughs

Tom’s “Bad Dad Jokes” Provide Some Much-Needed Groan-Laughs
(Facebook/ TOM'S BAD DAD JOKES)

In COVID times, it’s tough to find any kind of respite from the stress of daily life. With most of our favorite activities canceled indefinitely, it’s important to find some kind of joy wherever we can. One Maryland man has taken it upon himself to bring a little bit of laughter into the lives of his neighbors in the form of his “Bad Dad Jokes”, because, you know – laughter is the best medicine (unless you’re actually sick).

A couple of weeks into the maddening uncertainty of quarantine, even Tom Schruben, a generally optimistic man, was losing a bit of his spark. His wife heard that a friend had started posting dad jokes in her front yard, and thought a bit of humor might be just the thing to revitalize her husband’s cheerful demeanor. Tom figured it wouldn’t hurt to try (and humoring your wife is almost never a bad idea), so he posted a joke on a whiteboard, in the middle of his lawn across from a busy walking path. Within the first hour, a passerby stopped to look at the joke Tom had written and laughed – and “Tom’s Bad Dad Jokes” was born.

Tom is in his fourth month of telling Bad Dad Jokes and has no plans of stopping any time soon. He is reminded daily of the huge impact his jokes have on his community and beyond, which makes posting his daily jokes both exciting and rewarding. Tom explains, “Many people have stopped to tell me that it has become an important part of their day. I have gotten letters of thanks in the mail and a woman taped a note to my sign saying how she walks past each day and likes the sign because it makes her think of her father who loved bad puns. She takes a picture to share with her friends and she said it puts a smile on many faces.”

Coping during stressful times is nothing new to Tom, who has dealt with more than his share of grief in life. After losing two of his six children, Tom realized just how important it is to not only keep going but to do so in a way that makes life worth living. Tom leaves us with an important reminder about the power of positivity: “Something that I have learned through my grief is that happiness is in large part a choice that each of us makes – sometimes you have to push to find it in yourself – and sometimes small gestures, even silly ones can make a big difference.”

Here are some of our favorites from “Tom’s Bad Dad Jokes” collection to help you reach your daily groan-laugh quota:

Bad Dad Joke #70: Boomerang

(Facebook/TOM'S BAD DAD JOKES)

Bad Dad Joke #63: Hare Line

(Facebook/TOM'S BAD DAD JOKES)

Bad Dad Joke #62: Snickers

(Facebook/TOM'S BAD DAD JOKES)

Bad Dad Joke #33: Cinderella

(Facebook/TOM'S BAD DAD JOKES)

Bad Dad Joke #42: Eat a Clock

(Facebook/TOM'S BAD DAD JOKES)

Bad Dad Joke #16: Peek-a-Boo

Bad Dad Joke 6
(Facebook/TOM'S BAD DAD JOKES)

Bad Dad Joke #25: Faux Pa

(Facebook/TOM'S BAD DAD JOKES)

Bad Dad Joke #31: Mathamachicken

(Facebook/TOM'S BAD DAD JOKES)

Father Figures: Runner Runner

“Since the 6th grade, I’ve been a runner.

I have done cross country and track for the last 10 years of my life. Before I started running for my middle school team, I remember running with my dad for the Vulcan 10K race in Birmingham, AL. This was my first ever official 10K race.

I was only 9 or 10 years old, so at the start, my dad told me that for safety reasons, we needed to stay together for the first three miles. We slowly ran the first three miles and I was struggling to keep up. I even started to walk during some parts. He kept on saying that he wasn’t going to keep slowing down for me and was going to go ahead and finish the race.

But he saw that I was struggling and decided to stick with me through it all. My dad decided that rather give up on me and finish the race himself, he was going stay by my side to encourage me.

I now run XC and Track at Freed-Hardeman University. He is one of the big reasons why I am still running to this day. Had it not been for him encouraging and sticking with me through it all, who knows what I would be doing.

I hope I can do the same for my future children.”

– Josh Dykes

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

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

RIP to an Absolute Comedy Legend Carl Reiner

RIP Carl Reiner
(Getty/Axelle/Bauer-Griffin)

2020’s wrath isn’t making any exceptions for aged-to-perfection comedy icons. Sadly, show business legend Carl Reiner passed away from natural causes Monday evening at the age of 98. The term “legend” is thrown around with aplomb to the point that it’s almost meaningless, but there are few truly worthy of the mantle. Carl Reiner is absolutely in that class.

The comedy icon created “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and was a prolific director, helming memorable films such as “The Jerk” with Steve Martin. His show business career spanned decades, as a writer-director-producer and even as an actor. He even won a Grammy for his hit comedy album with his best bud Mel Brooks, “2000 Years with Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks.”

The father of another prolific director, son Rob Reiner, Carl lived the old man life everyone dreams of, spending his final years with friends and spending every night eating dinner with Brooks and watching Jeopardy and movies.

Some may remember Reiner as an actor for his later work, having starred in “Ocean’s 11” and it’s subsequent sequels. He also did voice roles in “Family Guy”, “King of the Hill” and “Bob’s Burgers.”

But the man has been an entertainment icon for decades, through film, TV, Broadway and any other medium you can think of. Reiner was even active on social media, tweeting frequently until his final day.

Reiner was a true legend, with a history full of making people laugh and smile. There is no better legacy to leave the world than a lifetime of laughter and being a great dad.

Dos Equis Introduces 6 Ft Beer Cooler to Promote Social Distancing

Dos Equis 6 Foot Cooler
(Dos Equis/PETER ZLEBEK)

It’s truly wild to see all of the innovative ways in which businesses are working to accommodate these new frustrating pandemic social norms. One seafood restaurant in Maryland is keeping patrons at a safe distance by turning them to human bumper cars. Another joint in Germany is achieving the same effect with foam pool noodles strapped to customers’ heads.

(Facebook/Cafe Rothe)

But easily the most ingenious thing we’ve yet to see come out of this new 6-feet rule is from the Mexican lager, Dos Equis. You may remember Dos Equis as the beer brand behind those massively popular “Most Interesting Man In The World” ads.


But now, in addition to thirsty, Dos Equis is insisting you stay safe and healthy. Now you can drink a whole new kind of responsibly, as the makers of the pilsner-style lager unveiled the very first social distancing beer cooler.

(Dos Equis / PETER ZLEBEK)

The Seis-Foot Cooler is, as you’d guess, six feet in length, providing the perfect buffer zone between you and a buddy looking to pound a few cold ones in the back yard. It’s essentially two smaller coolers with no storage space in between, but this novelty cooler is still bound to be a hit at your next gathering of no more than six people.

(Dos Equis)

Dos Equis is graciously giving away a few of these coolers for free. All you have to do is buy any Dos Equis product and submit a photo of your receipt right here to enter!

Stay health-conscious, my friends.

 

Ryan Reynolds and Friends Crash Hugh Jackman’s X-Men Reunion

Reynolds Crashes X-Reunion
(YouTube/Global Citizen)

One of the fun perks of the quarantine is watching celebrities cope with boredom and stress the same way we are: by Zoom calling their friends. Of course, not many of us include Patrick Stewart and Halle Berry in our contact lists, but not many of us co-starred in the X-Men movies. The first X-Men movie was 20 years ago and pre-dates the current Marvel-led superhero boom by an entire decade. Recently, the stars of that film reunited via Zoom to catch up and discuss their franchise.

Of course, in the years since that initial movie, the X-Men franchise has ballooned, going backward in time, adding alternate timelines, even introducing Deadpool in the notorious X-Men: Origins, years before Deadpool re-introduced himself in a couple of standalone movies with a far-higher swear count.

So while Hugh Jackman and the cast of the first movie thought they were having an intimate little gathering to celebrate their bond and the work of healthcare and other essential workers for Global Citizen, Ryan Reynolds showed up and brought some of his friends from the extended X-Men universe with him.

It’s actually quite a bit of fun, especially when Reynolds refers to the messy timelines of the franchise as “like Knots Landing.” Eventually, it all falls apart… or does it?

Check it out, and don’t worry, there’s much less swearing from Deadpool than usual:

Boy Asks Dad If He Can Dress As Elsa To See Frozen

Cast of Ferris Bueller Reunites, Stars of John Hughes Films Make Cameos

Ferris Bueller Reunion
(YouTube/JoshGad)

For a few months, Josh Gad has been hosting a YouTube show called “Reunited Apart” on which he gathers a bunch of cast and crew from classic movies to reminisce on camera about their experience during and after the making of the film.

An 80s kid, Gad has leaned heavily on 80s movies, hosting the casts of The Goonies, Splash, Back to the Future, and Ghostbusters (plus the non-80s Lord of the Rings), and having a blast doing it. It makes sense that the series would eventually tackle one of the most iconic 80s movies, and directors, out there, and last week, he finally called out “Bueller…Bueller” to bring together a collection of actos from John Hughes’ classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, as well as some special guests.

John Hughes helped define the 80s with his collection of teen comedies, including Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, and Ferris Bueller’s. He passed away a few years ago, way too soon, but the mark he left has been indelible, and Gad and friends made sure to celebrate it.

Not only did the cast of Bueller show up, including, Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, and Jennifer Grey, and even Ben Stein (of the infamous “Bueller… Bueller…” roll call quote), and not only does Jake Gyllenhaal quiz them all on their knowledge of the film, but at the end of the episode, a whole collection of actors who appeared in Hughes’ films – Steve Martin, Michael Keaton, Chevy Chase, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, and more – showed up to recite some of their famous lines.

Check it out:

Cam Newton Signs With Patriots Just to Make Things Interesting

Cam Newton Patriots
(Getty/Streeter Lecka)

Recently, the NBA and the MLB have announced their plans for resuming their seasons and giving fans back some of the sports they’ve been desperate for since COVID-19 shut everything down in March. After successfully pulling off an entirely video-based draft, the NFL hasn’t said much, perhaps assuming that things will be fine come September. The off-season progressed pretty much as normal, aside from the fact that Tom Brady left New England to join the Tamp Bay Buccaneers.

That was weird. Even weirder is the prospect of the AFC, and the league as a whole, without a dominant Patriots team. But without Tom Brady behind center, it seemed likely. Even with the greatest coach of all time (besides Don Shula).

“Coincidentally” around the same time the Pats got fined $1 million, this news broke.

Look, no one is going to pretend that Cam Newton, even at his peak, is as good as Tom Brady. And he hasn’t been healthy in years. But the dude won the MVP award 5 years ago, and we can all agree he’s better than Jarett Stidham! It’s definitely worth the gamble.

Does this mean the Pats are back in the driver’s seat in the AFC or even the AFC East? Maybe not. Newton might not be healthy, and he might not even play a snap. But even despite some recent lackluster seasons, a healthy Newton is better than many of the QBs in the league, including Stidham and Andy Dalton (or whomever else the Patriots might have snapped up in free agency), and it’s a sign the Belichick and the Krafts have no interest in lying back and letting the Bills or the Jets or the Dolphins, led by rookie and future Hall of Fame Tua Tagovailoa, steal their crown. Not yet.

Newton’s contract is for one year and is loaded with incentives, a sure sign that nobody is entirely sold on him securing the starting job. But if he is healthy? If he does suit up as the Patriots QB? The rumors of the Patriots’ demise may be just that: rumors.

Either way, things are suddenly a lot more interesting. So long as the season happens, of course.

New England Patriots Hit With Big Punishment for Latest Cheating Scandal

Pats Fined $1 million
(Getty/Michael Reaves/Stringer)

The New England Patriots have found themselves embroiled in another cheating scandal, and the NFL did them no favors Sunday when they hit the Pats with a major blow, including a fine of more than $1 million and the loss of a third-round draft pick.

This stems from the New England video crew that was videotaping the Cincinnati Bengals sideline during a game with the Cleveland Browns. Caught in the act, they tried to explain it off saying they were “filming a documentary” about the scouting crew (New England was playing Cincinnati the next week).

The Patriots thought it was serious enough a charge to masterfully leak their pursuit of former MVP Cam Newton just minutes before the punishment story was released. And that is why they are the Patriots, with their innumerable Super Bowls and legacy of success. At least, that’s what most fans like to think.

Obviously, it breaks into two camps. The New England fans (the die-hards, the casual fans are now sporting Tampa Bay jerseys and spouting facts about Brady’s immortality) will give it an eye roll, trot out the team propaganda, and call it much ado about nothing.

Everyone else will rightly point out that it’s more smoke to a fire some believed to have been burning for years. On the surface…it’s not great, to be caught up in MULTIPLE cheating scandals over the last few years. And the NFL took this one seriously. You may think a $1 million fine is insignificant (and maybe it is to a billionaire owner) but it’s one of the biggest fines the NFL has levied.

And losing a third-round draft pick? An enormous cost to give up, especially when it was in service to beat THE CINCINNATI BENGALS! No one needs to cheat to beat the Bengals. The Bengals are pretty effective at beating themselves, in fact (caveat: I write this as a Bengals fan, and this does not apply to the Joe Burrow era, which inevitably is going to be epic and awesome and in no way another bust).

If you’re going to give up something as valuable as a third-round draft pick, you better at least get some good return on that, such as a playoff victory (AT A MINIMUM). Not a win over the worst team in the NFL last season.

Ultimately, it’s not going to be a huge deterrent. The Patriots will have a hard enough time being competitive after failing to add any key skill position players to their offense for years, and after losing cyborg quarterback Tom Brady.

And for the rest of the NFL, to which hating the New England Patriots is a fun hobby, it’s just more fuel to the fire.

After Parents are Infected with COVID-19, Teen Invents Wristband to Help Prevent it

After Parents are Infected with COVID-19, Teen Invents Wristband to Help Prevent it
(Youtube/VybPro VybPro)

In case you’ve been sleeping, we’re currently in the middle of a pandemic. Until there’s a vaccine, the best we can really do is stay home, sanitize everything we can get our hands-on, and stop touching our faces. Unfortunately for many, these three seemingly small things are actually pretty dang hard because we spent most of our lives learning to live in a non-pandemic world. Old habits die hard – we are tempted to go out with friends, forget a mask when going for a walk, and we cannot seem to stop touching our faces. Fortunately for us, 15-year-old Max Melia is here to help us break at least one of these problematic habits.

The Bristol teen had a personal connection to the cause very early on when both of his parents contracted COVID-19. His idea, however, wasn’t new. Melia began developing these wristbands years ago, to help reduce flu transmission. These ingenious wristbands remind wearers not to touch their faces by vibrating whenever the user’s hand gets too close. The sad truth is, touching your face is almost always completely subconscious. In a normal world, this isn’t a huge deal – but we now know that touching our faces is extremely dangerous if we’ve come into contact with anything contaminated with COVID.

Once Melia’s parents contracted COVID, he poured everything he had into the creation of the VybPro. He developed a prototype, launched a Kickstarter campaign, and created a website with more information.

Melia told the Good News Network, “The main priority of this project is not to make money, but to get it onto the wrists of those it can help keep safe. Any profits made from early sales via the crowdfunding site will be reinvested into providing free devices to organizations that help people such as NHS staff and nursing homes.”

Not only has this techy teen created something that could potentially save countless lives, but he is also doing it so that nobody else has to go through what his family went through. Personal gain is the last thing on Melia’s list, although tons of people stand to gain a whole lot by using it. Here’s hoping Melia reaches his Kickstarter goal, and we see the VybPro available for purchase around the world very soon.