The Mario Kart and Hot Wheels Collaboration is Here

(Business WIre)

Like a match made in racing heaven, Hot Wheels and Nintendo are teaming up for the global release of Hot Wheels Mario Kart die-cast vehicles and tracks.

Honestly, something that probably should have already happened years ago, the collection will feature three Mario Kart game-inspired track sets and a bevy of your favorite Kart racers. At launch, Mario, Yoshi, Luigi, and Bowser will be available at 1:64 of there normal size to race around the Super Mario-themed courses. Other characters like Peach, Toad, and Koopa Troopa will be available at a later date not yet announced.

The three-track sets include Piranha Plant Slide Track Set, Thwomp Ruins Track Set, and Hot Wheels Mario Kart Circuit Track Set.

Senior Director of Global Brand Marketing at Hot Wheels, Matt Brutocao, said the team-up between the two brands is definitely something to get excited about:

“Mario Kart and Hot Wheels are two of the most iconic brands in play, each with their own storied history and devoted fan base, so the combination of the two is something very special. Our new Hot Wheels Mario Kart line creates an exciting Mario Kart play experience, complete with fun characters, authentic details and the type of out-of-this-world racing challenges that are synonymous with Hot Wheels.”

A limited number of vehicles are on Amazon now – you can snag Mario and Princess Peach.

(Business Insider)

And you can preorder / order portions of the track too. Or you can expect to find all the tracks and racers in select retail markets soon.

And, yes, it looks like you can buy all three tracks and assemble them together into one giant Mario Kart circuit that spans the entirety of your living room. . . for your kids. Definitely for the kids and not you, an adult man with a mortgage.

Let’s-a-go!

Just a heads up, if you buy stuff using the provided links, The Dad may collect a small commission.

Family Collects 30k Pounds of Food for the Hungry and Starts Mini Food Pantries

Family Starts Mini Food Pantry
(Facebook/Be The Good Project)

The response to a global pandemic has varied, but regardless of the lack of a wholesale government response, the way regular, everyday people have helped those less fortunate has been one of the most inspiring things from the last year. Whether it’s a family starting a food kitchen under a bridge, or providing free plumbing to the elderly and disabled, it’s clear to see those helpers Fred Rogers always talked about.

One family in Virginia fits that mold. When they heard about food insecurity rising sharply and how overwhelmed food pantries were getting, they put a box out on their driveway to collect non-perishable food from their neighbors. It quickly filled up, and Amber and Sterling Marchand and their four kids found a new mission.

“We realized that as much as a need was there, there was also a desire to help,” they told Good Morning America. “We started to reach out to local nonprofits to donate the food and create relationships.”

They began making sandwiches for another local charity that feeds food insecure people and also started becoming a collection point for others who wanted to contribute sandwiches or food. They now deliver 1,500 sandwiches a week. They also started collecting food, which they’ve used to donate to charities and to set up mini food pantries around the community.

They quickly set up a non-profit, the Be The Good Project, to help focus their efforts. To date, they’ve collected nearly 30,000 pounds of food.

“Our laundry room is now mini fridge land, we store the nonperishables in our living room and we have two additional full-size fridges that we’ve added to our garage,” they said. “It has definitely infiltrated [our house], but the neat part is our children, who are fairly young, really do understand what’s happening. Our youngest, who is 3, will say, ‘Is this food for us or food for neighbors?”

They even do emergency grocery delivery for people stuck at home because of the pandemic and gave away more than $11,000 in grocery gift cards around the holidays. In less than a year, the family has organized efforts to donate more than 30,000 pounds of food and nearly 50,000 sandwiches.

Food insecurity is definitely a HUGE problem in the US, as some estimates place nearly 50 million in that category, especially when many schools are still operating remotely, as schools serve a huge food role for many food-insecure kids.

The mini food pantries the family operates in local neighborhoods (some of them assembled by dad Sterling) are a great stop-gap for those who want to donate or take food and can’t make it to a regular food pantry when it’s open. And while the pandemic may have been the starting point for the family, they aren’t going back.

“We know this need for food is not going to go away even as we’re able to return to what we seemingly see as normal,” Amber said. “It’s going to be here for a long time, this is hopefully going to be an outlet for people to continue to help one another.”

New ‘F9’ Trailer Sends the Gang to Infinity and Beyond

F9 Trailer
(YouTube/The Fast Saga)

We were supposed to get Fast 9 last May. Then the pandemic happened and movie theaters were closed and movies were delayed. Many of them ended up, or will end up, on streaming services, but we all know that a streaming platform is no place for a Fast and Furious movie. Especially one that goes to outer space!

So, instead, it’s hitting theaters this summer, and now they’ve finally released a new trailer.

With every Fast movie, the stakes get higher and the spectacles get bigger. Last time they fought a submarine in Russia or some shit. None of it makes any sense and all of it is awesome! This time looks no different.

Not only is the once-presumed dead Han back – along with seemingly every person who has appeared in any of the previous movies (including Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren) because along with the bigger spectacle comes bigger casts – John Cena appears as Dom’s heretofore nonexistent brother. Dom has long put his makeshift family on a pedestal, and apparently, his brother is upset that he hasn’t been treated quite as well, and now they’re gonna fight about it for 2+ hours.

(Not fighting is Dwayne Johnson, who won’t appear in Fast 9, perhaps because he may or may not get along with Vin Diesel.)

Oh, and there’s stealth bombers and magnets and Ludacris and Tyrese may or may not go to space? Who knows, who cares, let’s do this!

Fast 9 hits theaters on June 25th. Here’s the trailer:

Couple Shares Moving Story of Baby They Adopted After Finding Him in the Subway

Couple adopts baby found in subway
(Instagram/petemercurionyc)

There’s a generally-understood meaning when people refer to one of their kids as a “surprise.” In most situations, your initial assumption would be absolutely correct. Danny Stewart and Pete Mercurio, however, are not your typical parents. And 20 years ago, their now adult son was certainly no typical surprise.

Danny Stewart boarded a New York subway on August 28, 2000, heading home to his partner as he’d done countless times before. While scanning the crowded subway, Danny noticed what he thought was a doll left behind by a distracted child. Upon closer inspection, Danny made a startling discovery – this was no baby doll laying haphazardly on the floor of the Chelsea subway, but an actual baby.

Fellow subway riders ignored the 34-year-old’s pleas to help find the baby’s parents, and it quickly became clear that his parents likely didn’t want to be found. The infant was wrapped only in a sweater, his umbilical cord still partially intact.

As Danny’s panic grew, he contacted the police but feared he sounded so frantic that they dismissed him as insane. Next, he contacted his partner.

“I found a baby,” he blurted out. “I don’t think the police believe me so call them please right now.”

Pete recalled the life-changing moment to BBC, stating that he immediately believed the seemingly unbelievable story. “Because Danny doesn’t joke, he wouldn’t say something if it wasn’t true.”

In record time, Pete made it to the subway before rushing Danny and the baby to a nearby hospital. When the police finally arrived to take their statements, the stunned couple left the baby in their care.

“I remember turning to Danny and saying to him on the sidewalk as the police car was driving away, ‘You know, you’re going to be connected to that baby in some way for the rest of your life,’” Pete said, not knowing at the time how true his statement was.

In December of that year, Danny was called to testify in court about the unforgettable day that happened four months prior. By some twist of fate, the city was experimenting with new protocols for abandoned children, a short-lived expedited adoption process that led the judge to ask Danny on the spot if he wanted to adopt the baby.

“Yes, but I don’t think it’s that easy,” he responded.

“Well, it can be,” the judge said.

Upon arriving home and excitedly revealing the news to his partner, Pete was furious. He hadn’t been consulted, and didn’t feel ready to become a dad. Even so, Pete agreed to go with Danny to meet the baby in his foster home.

“The baby squeezed my finger with his entire hand so hard,” Pete recalled. “He was just staring up at me and I was just looking at him, and it was almost like he found a pressure point in my finger that just opened up my heart to my head and showed me in that moment that I could be one of his parents, one of his dads.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Pete Mercurio (@petemercurionyc)

The soon-to-be dads rushed home to create a proper nursery in their small New York apartment, preparing to bring their new son home just days before Christmas. They passed background checks, home inspections, and absorbed the information they learned in their parenting classes like sponges. A year later, the couple legally became Kevin’s dads.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Pete Mercurio (@petemercurionyc)

20 years later, Kevin is in college studying math and computer science. Pete wrote a book called “Our Subway Baby,” detailing the unusual story of how he and Danny became dads. And Danny? Well, he couldn’t be happier.

“I can’t imagine my life if it didn’t turn out this way,” Danny said. “My life has become much more enriched and full. It has changed my world view, my perspective, my whole lens.”

Dad Shares Advice on Helping Out With Breastfeeding in Viral Instagram Post

Instagram dad shares ways dads can help with breastfeeding
(Instagram/chroniclesofdaddy)

While most information on breastfeeding is geared towards women, the process of naturally feeding a baby truly can be a team effort. Breastfeeding is an incredible thing, but it can be thoroughly exhausting, and there’s no reason dads can’t be involved. As traditional parenting roles are pushed to the side, research and literature are focusing more and more on involving dads in tasks previously recognized as a “mom’s job.” But if parenting has taught us anything, it’s an all-hands-on-deck process – and finally, it’s being recognized as such.

Muhammed Nitoto, the man behind the chroniclesofdaddy Instagram page, shared some wisdom for Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Nitoto paired his viral post with a photo of himself next to his thoroughly exhausted wife, her eyes closed as she breastfeeds their young baby. A familiar scene for any parent, but as Nitoto explains, dads are far from helpless.

“I figured I’d drop some knowledge on my fellow Dads and soon to be Dads,” Nitoto begins. “Here’s what it looks like for the first few weeks or months after your child is born. Yup if mom breastfeeds they pretty much are tucked like this and at times you’ll wonder ‘what is there for me to do?’ Here’s my top 5 tips for any Dad after your child is born.”

Offer to help with night feedings

Nitoto starts off simple, reminding dads that even if they aren’t doing the nighttime feedings, they can offer to help. A glass of water, a back rub – “The truth is most of the time she will say no,” he explains, “but just the fact that you offered will go far.”

Claim a feeding, any feeding

Next, Nitoto suggests claiming one feeding as yours every day if mom is willing to pump. That way, there’s no discussion of who does that feeding. Mom can relax, and you can bond with your baby one-on-one.

Don’t rush the process

Though breastfeeding can be challenging and exhausting at times, it’s also an extremely valuable bonding experience. It may be tempting to try to wean your baby off of nursing ASAP for mom’s sake, but it’s not that simple.

“I know everyone has a diffrent length of time they will breastfeed and as a Dad it’s hard to fully understand,” Nitoto explains. “Do not I repeat DO NOT try and rush this process it’s not our place and it’s not safe. You will open yourself up to a fight you can’t win.”

Be patient, Dad time is coming

This leads to Nitoto’s next point – it may seem like the early months are focused on mom and baby, but it won’t always feel that way. Becoming a dad is incredibly exciting, and you may feel a bit left out at times. But babies grow incredibly quickly, and before you know it, there will be more daddy time than you know what to do with.

If you can take paternity leave, do it

If you’re fortunate enough to have the option to take paternity leave, take full advantage. “You can always make money but there are no instant replays in life,” Nitoto says. “It doesn’t make you more of a man to not take the leave. It’s equally as important that you as a Dad get to be a part of the early development of your child.”

Father Figures: What Life Is About

“Eli had a rough day today. He’s 19 months old and teething like a maniac. This picture is what it looked like after his nap. I held him in this position for 12 minutes. No idea what he wanted but I knew he was happy in my arms.

I had back surgery 3.5 weeks ago so I can’t pick him up. Laying down would be preferable but this is what the little man wanted today. A comforting snuggle with Dad. It didn’t matter that I had work to do, or had some pain in my back. What mattered is that he felt safe in my arms.

My whole life I wanted to be the best dad I could be when my time came. I couldn’t wait for the day to come where I could hold my toddler’s hand and walk down the street, or into a restaurant (when that was feasible), or just down the hallway to the kitchen.

19 months ago, my life changed. No longer did I have the time, or the desire, to go golfing every weekend. Sure, I miss having the same amount of careless time out with my friends, as I’m sure many of us do. We may be getting older but we’re still young guys at heart, right?

I have laughed harder, smiled more, and cried more over the last 19 months than I had in my first 30 years on this planet. The little guy brings us so much joy, humor, and happiness. 5 out of 7 nights (at least) my wife goes to bed hearing me say ‘he’s just so amazing, and funny. I love him so much.’

She also hears me cry and doubt myself. I want to show him the highest example of what it is to be a person, a fellow human being on this earth. What if I do something wrong, or say something I may regret? What if he doesn’t see the lessons we try to teach so early on? It doesn’t matter. I’m here for him. As a father, as a male role model, as a friend.

By being there for him, I know he will not only succeed in life, but he will be one person others wish they could have been around. No matter what happens each day, I know that by the end of that day Eli and I (and everyone else in his life) will have had great laughs, lots of smiles, and more love than could be given.

This is what life is about. This is what our lives, as fathers, is about. Let’s all do what we can do be better for ourselves so we can be better for our little ones. Hold them and love them and cuddle them every chance you get. These times don’t come as much as we’d like, or need.”

– Brian Gaudet

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

Mark Hamill Cheers up Children’s Hospital Patients With His Voices

Hamill Cheers Up Kids with Voice Talents
(YouTube/Children's Hospital Los Angeles)

Luke Skywalker was a hero, but the man who played him, Mark Hamill, is every bit a legend himself. The 69-year-old actor went above and beyond to cheer up some patients at a Children’s Hospital by reading to them virtually and delighted them by doing his Joker voice and impressions of Darth Vader and Yoda.

Hamill flexed his prodigious voice talents (the guy did do a killer cartoon Joker for years) by reading to patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles as part of the Make March Matter campaign, where actors and organizations come together to support the hospital. He told People the kids knew more about Star Wars than he did.

“Virtually visiting young patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles was a remarkable and touching experience. My favorite part was reading a special book with them, Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown,” Hamill said.

One patient asked a brilliant question, pondering what Hamill’s Joker would say to Luke Skywalker. Hamill responded PERFECTLY.

He said he was happy to do the Joker impression on a private Zoom with a patient, but that it’s awkward to do when people ask in public.

“You can’t do him quietly and it’s disturbing for those who assume I’m just some random kook.”

During the book readings, he also voiced Vader, a stormtrooper, and Yoda. Hamill does a lot of charity work, but you always gotta give it up when someone can bring Luke Skywalker and The Joker to life to help put a smile on the face of a sick child.

Turns Out You Can Teach an Old Pooch Cool Dog Tricks, Here’s Where to Start

cool dog tricks, dog with stick in mouth
(Jamie Street/Unsplash)

First, we’ll level with you: Even if our dog were a complete idiot who never listened to a single command or learned a single trick, we’d still love her. Those tip-tappy toenails on the wood. The clumsy whole-butt tail wagging. Even that stinky, stanky hot breath. They’re all lovable and irreplaceable. After all, there’s a reason why emotional support dogs are a mainstay at children’s hospitals and hospice care facilities. All this to say if the only cool dog trick our dog ever learned was how to be excited when we walked in the door, that would be enough.

Having a dog isn’t about the tricks, but they’re certainly fun. What tricks you teach your dog might depend on what you need from them, what your kids will find most entertaining, or simply what sparks your interest. How you teach your dog, however, tends to be the same across the board. The American Kennel Club offers some pretty helpful tips. They recommend first teaching your dog to want praise. Any time your dog does something “right,” impressive, or even sweet, reward her. This is called “positive reinforcement” and it works with toys, treats, or just additional love and praise. For some dogs and for easy tasks, a simple but excited, “Good boy!” is all you need. For more complicated tricks, you might have to pull out the big guns, like those tiny but super pungent treats. They also suggest starting early (even at just eight weeks) and keeping sessions short. A couple of 5 to 10-minute sessions each day will be much more effective than one long, boring training session.

So, what do you want to teach your dog? There are tons of cool tricks here but start with the basic commands: Come, stay, and speak. You’ll have a much easier time getting Fido to jump through that hoop if they know how to come when called. Similarly, it’s less stressful teaching them to jump for a frisbee if you teach them to stay when told and they don’t run off. Need a little help with just the basics? Start here before moving on to more complicated tricks.

1. Train Your Dog to Open the Door

This could be a really cool trick. It will certainly surprise your guests. Just keep in mind that if you train your dog to open doors, they might start opening doors to places you don’t want them to go.

2. Train Your Dog to Close the Door

Opening doors is all well and good. But, how about closing a door behind them? Yep. You can teach that, too.

3. Jumping Through Hoops

Once your dog knows basic commands like “come” or “heel,” it becomes a lot easier to teach them more complicated tricks. Is jumping through a hoop useful? Uh, no. But, it’s certainly impressive and fun.

4. Teach Your Dog to “Get”

“Get” is different from “fetch.” In the dog training world, fetch implies you have an object, you’re tossing it, and your dog is retrieving it. Teaching your dog to “get” something means they’re bringing you an item you request. Since you can teach your dog the names of objects in your home, once they learn to get one or two items, it should be fairly easy to branch out. Start by having them get their leash or your slippers and branch out from there.

5. Train Your Dog to Count

Math can be hard for humans. It turns out, however, that it’s a little easier for Spot.

6. Teach Jump Roping to Your Dog

Wanna make all the other dog owners at the dog park jealous? Teach your pooch how to jump rope! As a bonus, you can refer to playing with your dog as “doing some cardio” and sound very fit.

7. Train Your Dog to Turn Off The Lights

One common command service dogs learn is to turn lights off and on. After all, how often do you find yourself doing just that? Your Doodle may not be a service dog, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be of service when you’re too lazy to get up.

8. Teach Your Dog The Snoot Challenge

Thank God for TikTok or we’d be without this completely useless but cool dog trick.

Ryan Reynolds Is Back in the Trailer for The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

Ryan Reynolds Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
(YouTube/Lionsgate)

Ryan Reynolds has been in the news a bunch over the past year, for his hilarious social media hijinks, he and his wife’s repeated efforts to help during the pandemic, and for his work with his liquor brand, Aviation Gin.

Unfortunately, aside from his Netflix action movie 6 Underground, he hasn’t been on screens all that much.

Deadpool 3, which will be the MCU’s first (and only?) R-rated entry is still a ways off, and his involvement in the newly-launched ThunderCats project is nothing but a rumor at this point. Thankfully, though, he does have a new flick coming out soon, and today we finally get to see the trailer.

It’s called The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. Reynolds stars as, well, the titular hitman’s wife’s bodyguard, and in the movie, he’s tasked with protecting Salma Hayek, who plays hitman Samuel L. Jackson’s wife, who is in danger from Antonio Banderas. The sequel to 2017’s action-comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard hits theaters on June 16th, and it looks like a lot of fun. At the very least it will be nice to see Reynolds again!

Check out the trailer:

Special Needs Puppy Gets Ghosted by Adopters, Goes Viral, Finds Fur-Ever Home

Jack Ghosted Puppy
(Facebook/PeachesBullyRescue)

After being ghosted by potential adopters, a special needs puppy named Jack has finally found his forever home.

In January the 9-month-old pup with spina bifida had a bath, put on his fancy harness, a fresh diaper, and went with his foster team on a 40-minute drive to meet his new owners. And he was ghosted. All that, and they were a no-call, no-show.

Peaches Bully Rescue in Ohio posted about the puppy’s disappointing day out. They said the foster team put in all that work, drove 40 minutes each way, and puppy Jack was ghosted. The post on Facebook said he was “very sad” and that it was a “huge disappointment.” But, they realized that just wasn’t going to be his family.

“Respect that we are all volunteers just trying to give this guy his best chance. Not showing up or calling is bad form,” they wrote. “Your family will come sweet boy, and when they do, they will be perfect.”

But the post on Facebook did resonate with people. Like, a LOT of people. In fact, it quickly went viral, as plenty of decent people out there felt for the lil guy. And since the post went viral, Jack had HUNDREDS of people lining up to adopt him and give him a home.

Since then, his story has been covered by People Magazine, the Today Show, and The New York Post.

The rescue is processed hundreds of applications and has expressed deep gratitude for the gifts and warm wishes they’ve received. They said the post reached more than 3 million people, and they’ve heard from folks in Australia, the U.K., Germany, Singapore, and more.

“Who knew that our little Jack Jack would be so widely loved,” they posted about the attention. “Thank you all and please support rescue. We are the last chance for many animals in this world.”

Because of his condition, Jack has to wear a diaper, but he is still mobile and still cute as heck.

And now he has a family to take him in fur-ever!