9-Year-Old With Dyslexia Creates Incredible Rubik’s Cube Mosaics

Benjamin Russo's Mosaics
(Benjamin Russo)

Benjamin Russo is a pretty special young man. The 9-year-old who lives with his family in Canada recently posted a video sharing a talent that he says all stems from his unique superpower.

No, Benjamin can’t fly, nor can he see through walls or leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Benjamin has Dyslexia, which oftentimes makes things such as reading and understanding languages difficult. However, Benjamin’s mom Melanie Russo says his reading disability also comes with a few other characteristics which her son has turned into a heightened ability to perform otherwise complex tasks

Take for example the well-known Rubik’s cubes. The one-time toy that has now become the gold standard of brainy competitions around the world. Benjamin can finish a single side of the cube in about one second. While that’s not a world record or anything, it’s what he does after he has solved them that has people sharing his story and this incredible video:

It opens with Benjamin sharing his story via printed cards, then embarking on what ended up being a 5-hour session spread over several days to complete a pixel-perfect portrait of Professional Wrestler John Cena made completely out of specially solved cubes. The video ends with Benjamin sharing an important message, “Dyslexia is not my disability, Dyslexia is my SUPERPOWER.”

The video went viral, quickly spreading across the web and eventually to the social media feed of the WWE superstar himself. He then shared the clip with a special message for Benjamin and everyone else:

Benjamin shows no signs of slowing down either, recently posting this full-size homage to fan-favorite Keanu Reeves.

It’s yet another reminder that a diagnosis of dyslexia or autism is only a small part of an individual’s full story. We’re excited to see what Ben creates next, which he promises to share on his Instagram page found here.

Heroic Healthcare Professionals En Route to Help New York City Hospitals

Healthcare Workers Fly to NYC
(Instagram/southwestair)

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe – there are a handful of hotspots where large numbers of cases have been confirmed. One of those hotspots is New York City, now known as the epicenter of the Coronavirus in the United States.

Over the past week, frequent updates from hospitals and healthcare workers in the NYC area have bemoaned the overwhelming number of Coronavirus patients and a subsequent lack of personal protection equipment (PPE). Also at a premium are doctors and nurses, those dedicated professionals who are putting themselves in harm’s way every day, to help care for patients and try to stem the growth of the disease.

To that end, many selfless doctors and nurses are heading to New York to help their colleagues on the front lines of the pandemic, and a whole bunch of them recently flew up from Atlanta on a Southwestern Airlines flight. The airline shared a photo of those brave men and women on Instagram, where it’s getting a lot of attention with over 25,000 likes.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

While so many of us continue to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, no one knows what is happening quite like our medical professionals. These brave souls soldier on in the midst of tremendous risk and exposure, constantly putting the needs of others above their own. Their selfless sacrifice is a beacon of light during such a dark time in our world, and no amount of gratitude and praise would ever be enough. Because of their courage, our family, our friends, our coworkers, our neighbors, and more have a fighting chance. More than a dozen healthcare professionals from Atlanta answered the call this past Friday evening to serve in New York. This photo embodies it all: bravery, courage, and sacrifice. If it were easy, everyone would do it, but we know that is not the case. Thankfully, this group and countless others do it each day, and for that we are forever grateful and in their debt. So to all the first responders, medical professionals, healthcare workers, and anyone else on the front lines today and every day to keep us safe, thank you. #SouthwestHeart (📸 Southwest Employee Dayartra E.)

A post shared by Southwest Airlines (@southwestair) on

Southwestern’s caption perfectly describes their heroic actions, which is the behavior that we can all do with hearing more about during these tough times.

“While so many of us continue to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, no one knows what is happening quite like our medical professionals. These brave souls soldier on in the midst of tremendous risk and exposure, constantly putting the needs of others above their own. Their selfless sacrifice is a beacon of light during such a dark time in our world, and no amount of gratitude and praise would ever be enough. Because of their courage, our family, our friends, our coworkers, our neighbors, and more have a fighting chance. More than a dozen healthcare professionals from Atlanta answered the call this past Friday evening to serve in New York. This photo embodies it all: bravery, courage, and sacrifice. If it were easy, everyone would do it, but we know that is not the case. Thankfully, this group and countless others do it each day, and for that we are forever grateful and in their debt. So to all the first responders, medical professionals, healthcare workers, and anyone else on the front lines today and every day to keep us safe, thank you.”

They’re all making the “Southwestern heart” logo with their hands, but they might as well be showing the size of their own hearts as they fly halfway across the country to help.

Head of Security at Cowboy Museum Handed Keys to Twitter Account

Tim Send Tweets
(Twitter/ncwhm)

In these trying times, it’s nice to see folks pull together, helping where they can, doing others’ parts in addition to their own. One hero that’s emerged in recent weeks is Tim Send, head of security for the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma.

After the mayor of Oklahoma City declared a state of emergency, the museum closed to the public and various tasks were relegated to employees still able to work. The responsibility of maintaining an active social media presence was entrusted to Tim, whose big heart and unbreakable spirit are needed now more than ever.

He introduced himself with a pic.

He then tried to show us around, unsure of how these newfangled hashtags work.

So he reached out for some pointers.

Well, accidentally.

No progress yet on hashtags.

His wholesomeness is nothing short of heartwarming.

He gave a shoutout to his grandson.

Keeping so positive and encouraging.

Eventually, he figured out hashtags.

Come to find out he has both a sense of humor and a wife named Tina.

And if that’s not sweet enough, he even used the platform to wish his grandkids goodnight.

Click here to follow Tim’s journey into the world of tweeting. We wish him good health and can’t wait for the Cowboy Museum to reopen its doors!

Hero on Twitter Uncovers the Secret Meaning Behind “Triscuits”

Triscuit Mystery Solved
(Nabisco)

Without being able to go to bars and restaurants and concerts and sporting events, thanks to the coronavirus, most of us are stuck inside all day long without a lot to do. We’re forced to Netflix and chill ourselves into oblivion, which, thankfully, the various streaming services are more than happy to help us do.

There’s only so many times we can re-watch Tiger King before we find ourselves searching for different ways to pass the time.

One man has found a heroic way to do just that, by launching an investigation into one of the enduring mysteries of our time: where did Triscuits get their name?

His name is Sage Boggs, and his Twitter bio reads, simply, “Triscuit guy.” He certainly lives up to that description with this thread, which he started by saying “OK, buckle up. I wanna talk to you about Triscuit.”

And talk about Triscuit he did.

He begins by explaining how he became interested in tracing the origins of the popular cracker’s name.

He quickly discovered that there was no definitive answer.

So he reached out to Nabisco, to hear it from the horse’s mouth. But what he learned was… unsettling. Not only did Nabisco themselves not know where the name came from, they immediately refuted the seemingly obvious assumption that the “tri” in Triscuits means “three” or something.

Sage was not satisfied.

In fact, he was left with more questions.

He kept digging.

And he discovered the truth.

The answer will shock you!

After Sage published his findings, Triscuits themselves finally weighed in, confirming Sage’s research.

No, living under quarantine is no fun. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be productive! Sage Boggs hero dug deep and uncovered a mystery. We salute you.

TRISCUIT MEANS “ELECTRICITY BISCUIT”

Who knew?!

Father Figures: Thank God You’re Here

“It’s 3:33 in the morning, and I, a man known by his wife to be a world-champion sleeper, am hopelessly awake.

Since I work from home these days, I’m not too concerned about having to power through tomorrow’s work day; one of the silver linings of this terrible pandemic is that instead of catching the 5:45am Manhattan-bound bus in a suit and tie, I wake up at 7:30 in mesh shorts and a t-shirt and go with my wife to get our little 9-month old daughter out of her crib.

Eventually I fire up the computer and earn my paycheck, but not before taking the time to be a good father and husband. I’ll miss this dearly when life goes back to normal.

But I won’t miss the underlying sense of concern I constantly feel for our Siena as we live amidst viral pandemic.

I never used to be this way; back in my twenties, when my bod wasn’t so dad-like, I was pretty fearless.

9/11 literally hit close to home and became my inspiration for joining the Marines. In the nine years I stuck around the Corps, I found myself volunteering often to deploy, eventually hanging it up after four tours. I never thought seriously about the possibility that I might get hurt or killed. Why bother with those harsh considerations when you are an immortal twenty-something anyway?

But the thirty-something game is way different. I used to run around with an M4 rifle strapped to my chest, my adventurous soul fueled by nothing more than Mountain Dew and a youthful ignorance sometimes known as bravery. Now, I take baby aspirin to reduce my risk of heart disease (okay, not really, but to be honest maybe I should start).

Life is not just about me anymore. It’s about the woman I get to wake up next to. It’s about the little girl in that crib who smiles and gives you this ‘thank God you’re here!’ look every morning when you rescue her from the monotony of her mandatory rest period.

No, little girl, thank God you’re here. You are my reason for being and I’m glad you’re awake.

And as uncertain as things are these days, at least one thing is for sure: there is no one I would rather be stuck with in this damn house than you and Mommy.”

– Nick De Gregorio

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

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here

Sports Apparel Companies Start Manufacturing Hospital Supplies

Sports Apparel PPE
(Twitter/AROD/BauerHockey)

Getting healthcare workers the supplies they need has become a worldwide effort, with companies doing what they can to make sure doctors and nurses have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely treat COVID-19 victims. We saw it with medical TV dramas donating their supplies to local hospitals, and now sports equipment manufacturers are shifting gears to help answer the call.

Major League Baseball and Fanatics, the company that makes its jerseys, are retooling their efforts to instead make some of the most in-demand items in hospitals: masks and gowns. Fanatics immediately stopped making jerseys for MLB and is using the fabric to make those masks and gowns. Their goal is to make one million for hospitals around Pennsylvania (where the factory is located), with hopes to increase production to help the New York/New Jersey area as well.

The employees are appropriately spaced out in the factory (read: more than six feet apart) and volunteered to be part of the movement. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred quickly agreed to the shutdown of MLB jerseys and cleared the way for Fanatics to refocus on much-needed hospital supplies. Baseball greats approve:

Fanatics isn’t the only sports company getting in the mix. Bauer, which is synonymous with ice hockey, has joined in to start manufacturing much-needed face shields for doctors and nurses. Sure, it would be cool if they were inked up like a goalie’s mask, but I understand how that may be time prohibitive. The legendary hockey company released a statement on social media, saying:

Protection that allows athletes to give everything for their team is our heritage. Right now, we’re all on the same team. We’re repurposing our facilities to make face shields so that medical professionals battling COVID-19 can safely continue to help those most vulnerable.

Bauer will put skates and helmets on hold, and will instead be dedicating its efforts to making the equipment doctors and nurses need more than ever.

The 9 Best Disney Virtual Rides and Tours You Can Enjoy at Home

9 Best Disney Virtual Rides and Tours
(YouTube/Theme Park University)

Disney might be closed right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy their rides. Videos of just about every ride are available online now, and even better you don’t have to wait in line! With so many to choose from, it’s hard to narrow down, but we’ve come up with a handful of our favorites. (Maybe one of these will even inspire you to create a DIY Disney ride experience for your kids.)

Star Wars Millennium Falcon

Turns out a galaxy far far away was actually only Florida. Galaxy’s Edge opened last year and has proven to be enormously popular. The best ride is undoubtedly Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, and with this video, you can see why. As Chewie says….actually no I have no idea what he says.

Pirates of the Caribbean at Walt Disney World

You shouldn’t watch pirated videos at home – unless it’s this one. This ride is always popular and a firm favorite and this video nicely captures the magic.

It’s a Small World at Walt Disney World

Another essential for younger kids, and even better this will keep them entertained for 13 minutes and 7 seconds, which really is Disney magic!

Space Mountain

It’s one of the best and most iconic Disney rides. There are a number of videos that use night vision to capture the real experience but we enjoy this one, the lights are on and it’s cool to see what you’re screaming about!

Splash Mountain

You can’t ride Space Mountain without its bigger, wetter brother. Enjoy the relaxing first section through the caves before that incredible drop, when my stomach introduced itself to my feet.

Expedition Everest

Another classic, this time from Animal Kingdom. Kids will love the part when the track unexpectedly ends, resulting in a thrilling backward plummet. And watch out for the Yeti!

Slinky Dog Dash at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

As it is the best ride in Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios, the lines are usually pretty long. But online they’re not, and you get right to the front! Get ready for that boost start midway through! To infinity…and well, back to the start.

The Seas With Nemo & Friends

If you can find Nemo, this ride is an under-rated gem at Epcot, and you can see here what a fun, colorful experience it is.

Test Track

A Dad favorite – designing a car, and then testing it out on the track? We’re all in. Do not wear driving gloves though. People laugh. Don’t ask how I know.

Dad Makes up for Canceled Disney Trip With DIY Splash Mountain Ride

Dad's DIY Splash Mountain Ride
(reddit/laramargaret)

The coronavirus has taken something from everyone. Even for those who are in good health, it’s disrupted and changed daily lives in ways we are still unpacking. Even the small indignities can have big effects on kids, such as missing graduation, a prom, a birthday party, or even the last three months with a beloved first-grade teacher. And for plenty of families, a missed vacation is part of the equation.

Obviously not equivalent to having a family member or friend struggling with the virus, but it’s still a bummer to see your kid’s heartbroken at the cancellation of a long-awaited trip to Disneyland. That was what one Utah family was experiencing. So their dad decided if they couldn’t go to Disneyland, they would bring Disneyland to the living room. All he needed was the library of virtual Disney rides on YouTube and a little dad-ingenuity.

In a video shared by their mom, the dad is shown with his five-year-old son on his lap, as they watch a POV video from Splash Mountain. He’s got his kid in an empty diaper box that he’s moving around along with the ride and even adds authentic home-made splash effects throughout.

When you can’t go to Disneyland…thanks for the idea Reddit! from r/Disneyland

This is where we’re at after only a few weeks into life under pseudo house arrest. For now, we can turn our living rooms into theme parks. If this lasts into the fall, we can kick off the NFL season in our basements, ruthlessly bowling over toddlers on your way to a badass touchdown.

Everyone is going to cope with changes in their own way, so if some dads are going to kick that creativity up a notch, more power to them. And maybe we learn we don’t really need Disneyland because the real Disney was in our hearts the entire time.

And that’s the lie we’ll all tell ourselves until this mess is over.

Here at The Dad, we hope you, your families, and communities stay safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the latest information, please utilize online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.

Ryan Reynolds in Talks for Live-Action Dragon’s Lair Adaptation

Ryan Reynolds Dirk the Daring
(Don Bluth/Cinematronics)

I have a confession to make: I don’t “get” Dragon’s Lair.

This was the supercool looking arcade game that seemed to take things to the next level. It didn’t look like other games, it looked like a cartoon. Like something you’d watch on Saturday morning. But it was playable! Somehow. Like I said, I was never really able to figure it out and preferred to waste my tokens on Outrun and pinball. It was an incredible looking game that foreshadowed more immersive video games with movie-quality graphics – like we have today.

Which makes it the perfect time to bring Dragon’s Lair back. To the big screen!

Ryan Reynolds is doing just that, having signed on to a movie version, both live-action and animated, that he’ll star in for Netflix. The Hollywood Reporter says that the movie will be written by Dan and Kevin Hageman, who worked on The Lego Movie and wrote the recent Scary Stories We Tell in the Dark. Netflix only just secured the rights to the game, so there’s no word on the director, plot, or release date yet. Obviously.

Released in 1983 with animation from Don Bluth, who went on to direct An American Tale and All Dogs Go To Heaven, Dragon’s Lair was a sensation.

Apparently, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the game used LaserDisc technology to deliver the graphics, and they were so good that the game was the most popular arcade game in the country for a time. It recently had a cameo in Stranger Things, along with every other piece of 80s pop culture you can think of.

The game is about a knight who is trying to rescue a princess from an evil wizard and a dragon, and one presumes Reynolds will play the knight, Dirk the Daring. Or maybe a man playing the actual game itself? Hard to tell at this point, but one thing is for sure: no matter who he plays, Blake Lively’s husband will spend a lot of time winking at the camera because that’s basically what he does when he’s not supporting bartenders or donating large sums to food banks.

If anything, the dude knows how to have fun, and this movie will surely be that. We’ll find out, eventually.

MLB Teams Share Messages of Solidarity as Opening Day Passes

We Miss You Baseball
(Twitter/RaysBaseball)

Usually, this is a triumphant time for baseball.

Winter is over, teams are hopeful, and fans are ready for a new season. Opening day is a special day in America, even if baseball doesn’t occupy the same place in our culture as it once used to when it truly was the country’s national pastime.

Unfortunately, thanks to the global pandemic we are all dealing with right now, opening day has been postponed, along with the rest of the season. But major league teams still did their best to recognize opening day online.

First, Rob Manfred, the MLB commissioner, put out a statement urging fans to stay home to help contain the coronavirus, sharing ways they can watch classic games for free online, and professing hope that the sport will return soon.

Teams across the league put out video messages on social media, sharing messages of solidarity with fans.

The Rockies made an exception to the “no crying in baseball” rule.

The Red Sox put out a statement recognizing fans for their efforts to protect themselves and others from COVID-19:

And the Mets put a call out to fans to share images of themselves celebrating this unique opening day with their gear:

We may not have baseball this April, but we’ll have it again, and the MLB is doing its best to keep fans happy and hopeful as we wait to return to our favorite ballparks.