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.

Tributes Pour in for The Undertaker Who Is Now Retired in Peace

Undertaker Retires
(WWE)

After 30 years of greatness, the Undertaker can finally Rest in Peace (from the professional wrestling world). The iconic WWE superstar made his official final appearance as a wrestler at Sunday’s Survivor Series and got a hero’s send-off as he enters retirement. rid

It’s easy to love the ridiculousness of pro wrasslin’, especially if you grew up in the 80s or 90s. And there’s a reason it was deemed an essential business during the dark early days of the pandemic. But the sad truth behind professional wrestling is very few of its stars get a proper send-off into retirement. There are far more tragic early deaths and bittersweet controversies than proper salutes to legends, which is why Undertaker’s final show was so great.

You know a wrestler has impacted the pop culture fabric like few others when even SportsCenter gives a nod to your retirement. The Undertaker, Mark Calaway’s character he’s embodied for three decades of ups and downs, gave one last heartfelt farewell speech, saying:

“For 30 long years, I’ve made that slow walk to this ring and have laid people to rest time and time again. And now my time has come. My time has come to let The Undertaker rest in peace.”

In an extremely touching twist, the WWE used a hologram of the late Paul Bearer, Undertaker’s longtime manager, recreating their old pose.

It was a fitting end to a career that started 30 years ago at a much different Survivor Series show, but his character impacted pro wrestling like few before or after. And many greats of the wrestling world were quick to highlight that, as The Rock quickly fired off a touching tribute.

Vince McMahon summed up Taker’s impact fittingly: “The measuring stick. The locker room leader. The Phenom. Three decades ago today, Undertaker changed the landscape of sports-entertainment. His legacy is incomparable, his impact immeasurable, ” he wrote on Twitter.

Soon, the #ThankYouTaker hashtag took off, letting other WWE stars chime in with the impact he had, with praise from John Cena, Shawn Michaels (they had some classic matches together), Triple H, Ric Flair, and more.

A truly legendary career, and a retirement tribute fitting of one.

Dad Has Sewn Over 200 Dresses for His Daughter To Bond Through Creativity

Dad sews over 200 dresses for daughter
(Instagram/daddydressedmebymg)

For many of us, getting our kids dressed in the morning is little more than a necessary chore to fit into our already hectic days. But for one dad named Michael Gardner, his daughter’s wardrobe became something that helped the pair bond throughout the years. Helping his 9-year-old daughter Ava get dressed doesn’t mean laying out an outfit the night before – for this crafty dad, it means starting from scratch. In fact, Gardner has started from scratch over 200 times, and he has no plans to slow down.

“I decided to start sewing for Ava to teach her to be confident, have high self-esteem, and to believe in herself,” Gardner told The Dad. “I have been creative since I was a kid, I was in search of a new creative challenge and sewing became the catalyst to achieve my mission. My goal was to bond with her through my creativity, which is the most impactful way that I express myself.”

 

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A post shared by Michael Gardner (@daddydressedmebymg)

When Ava was younger, her dad took creative control. Gardner started sewing dresses for Ava when she was just 3 years old, but as she’s gotten older, Ava has become an essential piece of the creative puzzle. She helps choose styles, fabrics, and once her masterpieces are complete, she helps choose locations for photoshoots.

“Ava and I have been inseparable since she was born,” Gardner explained. “The journey of me sewing and her modeling strengthened our bond. It is truly a collaboration on all levels. We share ideas, inspiration and encourage each other throughout the process. It has also allowed us to have in depth conversations and simply have fun together.”

 

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A post shared by Michael Gardner (@daddydressedmebymg)

Gardner is self-taught when it comes to sewing, and if he can do it, he truly believes that anyone can. Gardner learned to sew through YouTube videos and Pinterest, and last summer, he was named a brand ambassador for Janome Sewing Machines. This talented dad even started Daddy Dressed Me by Michael Gardner, a fashion brand and social media campaign. Through sharing the creations he and Ava have brought to life on social media, the creative duo has received support from around the world.

 

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A post shared by Michael Gardner (@daddydressedmebymg)

“Every time I am thanked for bringing joy, happiness and complimented for being a positive light in what’s been a challenging year I am truly amazed,” Gardner said. “Hearing that I am an inspiration as a creative and parent means so much to me.”

The bond between Gardner and Ava is immediately evident through their photos and videos, and since Gardner’s relationship with his own dad was less than ideal, being a great dad to Ava was especially important.

 

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A post shared by Michael Gardner (@daddydressedmebymg)

“I want people to know that it is absolutely possible to be the parent you choose to be, regardless of the circumstances in your childhood,” Gardner expressed. “I am blessed to have an amazing relationship with Ava, it’s a totally different experience than I had with my parents. I put in the work, time and love into providing Ava with all the things I wish I had as a kid, I broke the cycle and for that I am proud.”

Netflix Creates Bizarre Christmas-Themed Witcher Promo

Netflix The Witcher Christmas Promo
(Twitter/Netflix)

I’m not entirely sure that I would associate swordplay and dragons and monsters and Henry Cavill with Christmas, but I don’t work at Netflix.

Cavill stars as The Witcher in Netflix’s popular adaption of the videogame, and about the only thing he has in common with Santa Claus is the white hair. And maybe the enormous arms, I’ve never seen St. Nick with his shirt off. But that didn’t stop the streaming service’s social media people, who cobbled together a bunch of Witcher scenes and made a little holiday video out of it.

So far, Netflix has only aired one season of the show, and a making-of documentary and season 2’s production has been delayed by COVID, like everything else. So they don’t have a lot of new footage to work with, but they did their best, layering a Christmas song over clips from the show in a strange effort to connect it to the holiday season. They’ve even added Christmas lights and presents and more, for some reason!

Not sure how seeing a bunch of people get stabbed in the throat is the reason for the season, but gotta respect the effort!

Check it out:

‘The Last of Us’ TV Series Coming to HBO From Writer Behind ‘Chernobyl’ Series

The Last of Us
(HBO)

I don’t like starting every paragraph about a Hollywood project by bemoaning the constant remakes and reboots and hijacking of existing intellectual property, but you play the hand you’re dealt!

This time we’re talking about an adaptation of a video game, and for once it’s not another version of Resident Evil. This time, it’s The Last of Us, a beloved zombie game whose devotees swear is one of the best stories, videogame or otherwise, out there.

HBO must agree because they’ve just announced a plan to bring the popular game to their network in the form of a series.

If you’ve never played the game, Variety describes it as taking place twenty years after modern civilization has been destroyed. Joel, a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle Ellie, a 14-year-old girl, out of an oppressive quarantine zone. (Spoiler alert: there are zombies GALORE!)

It sounds pretty bleak, which may explain why HBO has hired Craig Mazin, who created the network’s devastating Chernobyl miniseries, to write and direct. Mazin will work alongside Neil Druckmann, who created the game.

“Craig and Neil are visionaries in a league of their own,” said Francesca Orsi, executive vice president of HBO Programming. “With them at the helm alongside the incomparable Carolyn Strauss, this series is sure to resonate with both die-hard fans of ‘The Last of Us’ games and newcomers to this genre-defining saga. We’re delighted to partner with Naughty Dog, Word Games, Sony and PlayStation to adapt this epic, powerfully immersive story.”

The Last of Us was released in 2013, to acclaim and blockbuster sales, and last summer the sequel came out. We’ll see if that one eventually makes its way to HBO too.

Hibernate Through the Winter in Pizza Hut’s Weighted Pizza Blanket

Pizza Blanket
(Twitter/PizzaHut)

For all it’s faults, 2020 is coming to an end. And with it, 2021 brings the promise of vaccines and a much more normal world (without pepperoni shortages.) But, we still need to get through the winter, with many still stuck (mostly) at home. So if you’re going to be hibernating more than usual this winter, you gotta do it in style, like with a giant pan pizza weighted blanket. Pizza Hut is making the chill game even tastier with its new creation, part of a collab with the popular Gravity Blanket company.

The new Original Pan Weighted Blanket is modeled after the same exact pizza you remember wolfing down at birthday parties as a kid. It’s also the type of nonsensical brand product you just learn to accept these days. Giant pizza blanket? Sure. Waffle House Bacon Beer? Absolutely. And, to be fair, Pizza Hut has already earned our trust, especially after bringing back the Book-It program.

In a press release from the pizza maker, a spokesman said there was ‘no better way to close out 2020 than eating a Pizza Hut Original Pan Pizza while wrapped in the warmth and comfort of the Original Pan Weighted Blanket.’

Honestly, I can think of worse ways to end this year, so yeah, sign me up for eating pizza and wrapped in the giant Pizza Blanket. The blanket is supposed to be a 15-pound weighted blanket (I’m not a Gravity Blankets guy, but their rep seems to hold up) and the blanket sells for cheaper than their normal products. It’s 72-inches in diameter and has a “luxurious” feel to it.

Weighted blanket people swear by them, so if you’re looking for that final touch to your Hibernation 2020 game, you can do worse than a giant pizza.

Father Figures: Selfless

“My husband Tim Parrish (@timatreez) has not only been an amazing dad to our boys but has shown me a level of selflessness I didn’t know was possible.

After I went back to work when our first son was two months old, he changed his entire work schedule to ensure he could be home with our son during the day. He gave up so much to be a full-time dad – and then work a night shift.

When we had our second (rainbow boy) he once again shifted his schedule to ensure our family had him when we needed him most so I could go back to work and focus on my career.

When Covid hit, he didn’t get to stay home. He had to work – often around people without masks – and had to come home to an exhausted wife, newborn, and toddler. He never flinched. He jumped right into wrestling, running, jumping, baseball, and baby wearing.

When I eventually lost my job, he told me to take time off and focus on me for a while.

He’s by far the most selfless, loving, and dialed-in dad and husband and we are so lucky to have him. He deserves recognition more than anyone I know because he refuses to accept that he’s gone above and beyond!”

– Meg Parrish

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

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney Bought a Soccer Team Together

Reynolds and McElhenney Buy Soccer Team
(Twitter/WrexhamAFC)

“The Gang Buys A Welsh Football Club.” It’s the Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode you never knew you needed, now that actor (and Sunny co-creator) Rob McElhenney and movie star Ryan Reynolds have teamed up to buy a Welsh soccer team. It’s one of those stories that only make sense in 2020.

Reynolds, aka Deadpool and home school gin connoisseur, can seemingly do no wrong, so we’ll get to see if his magic touch can extend to Wrexham AFC, one of the oldest professional soccer teams and one that’s currently entrenched in the fifth tier of English soccer. But the two are serious about turning the team around and plan to make it a “global force” around the soccer universe.

“This is really happening,” Reynolds said in a video released by the team. The club is fan-owned and approved the takeover by the two celebrities. Apparently, the duo did a lot of research after deciding they wanted to buy a soccer team and thought Wrexham AFC had the most potential.

Reynolds said he and McElhenney want to be at as many games as possible (once fans are allowed, post-pandemic) and ‘want to have a pint with the fans.’ They also plan to be ‘great ambassadors for the club’ and want to introduce them to the world.

The Wrexham Supporters Trust Board voted overwhelmingly to sell to the two celebs, as they have serious plans for community engagement and plans to improve their standing in the soccer world. Chief among them is a behind-the-scenes documentary to help bring more fans into the fold.

“You may never have heard of Wrexham, but you will. So to the Wrexham Supporters Trust, thank you for your faith and trust in us,” McElhenney said.

Reynolds added: “We are humbled and we are already getting to work.”

So now that two of our coolest and funniest celebrities have bought a soccer team, we all have a Cinderella squad to root for as Wrexham AFC works its way out of the cellar of the soccer world.

Thank a Teacher for Their Help in 2020 With a Free Card From Hallmark

Hallmark Teacher Giveaway
(Twitter/Hallmark)

Parents certainly understand the strain the pandemic has caused. Forget the professional costs (of which there are many), the added stress it’s caused for families as they navigate new school restrictions, and, in many places, remote learning has been intense. But we know that. One group feeling the other end of that strain this year? Teachers and school staff across the country.

Hallmark is honoring that group by giving away 1 million greeting cards to educators for the role they’ve played during the pandemic. We know how hard it is to get a kid to sit still for a Zoom class, imagine being the person responsible for actually teaching to 20+ kids via Zoom. And going just as hard in the paint as parents, teachers are going above and beyond to help kids through this weird time.

“For many parents, navigating their children’s education amidst a pandemic has been a difficult challenge,” a Hallmark spokesman told People Magazine.

“We’ve all seen so many teachers and school staff members rise to the challenge, working long hours and using their imaginations to deliver the best education possible from a remote, hybrid, or in-person learning environment. Despite these changes, one thing remains the same: the sincere connection between teachers and their students.”

Teachers, like parents, have had to get creative to connect and engage with little learners, and while the results may not always be pretty, WE ARE DOING IT. And it’s important to recognize everyone doing what they can to be as good to our kids as they can. If you’ve made your kid sit through a Zoom class, you know how much it sucks, and the endless patience required of teachers to completely re-learn how they teach and structure a classroom.

Is a Hallmark card (or, in this case, three) enough? Probably not, no. But it’s something you can do (for free!), by going through the Hallmark website, and sending some goodwill out to the educators and school staff helping us all through a schoolyear we would love to forget.

Conan Leaving Late Night, Bringing Variety Show to HBO Max

Conan Going to HBO Max
(Twitter/ConanOBrien)

I was in college with Conan O’Brien first launched his talk show. It took a little while, but it wasn’t long before his and Andy’s goofy bits, like “In the Year 2000,” the Masturbating Bear, Talking Mouths, and, of course, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, became favorites, both for stoned college kids and, eventually, for mainstream TV fans.

After the debacle that was the late-night host’s transition to the iconic Tonight Show that ended with him touring the country and, ultimately hosting a show on TBS, Conan seemed to lose a bit of enthusiasm for the format, and the prestige that being on one of the major networks brought him.

His bits remained funny, especially his legendary remote segments, but the show eventually transitioned to a half-hour, and Conan started spending more time interviewing guests on his Conan Needs a Friend podcast. So when the news broke the other day that he was leaving late night, it wasn’t a huge surprise.

According to TVLine Conan, the TBS show that’s been running for nearly a decade now will wrap up at the end of its tenth season in June. But he won’t be leaving TV. O’Brien will continue to host his TBS travel show, Conan Without Borders, and will be bringing a brand-new variety show to HBO Max.

“In 1993, Johnny Carson gave me the best advice of my career: ‘As soon as possible, get to a streaming platform,’” O’Brien said in a statement. “I’m thrilled that I get to continue doing whatever the hell it is I do on HBO Max, and I look forward to a free subscription.”

HBO Max seems excited to have him and as curious as the rest of us about what his variety show will bring to the table. “Conan’s unique brand of energetic, relatable, and at times, absurdist, comedy has charmed late-night audiences for nearly three decades,” said HBO and HBO Max Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys. “We can’t wait to see what he and the rest of Team Coco will dream up for this brand new, variety format each week.”

No word yet on when the show will appear, how long it will be, or if Andy Richter is going to play a part, but if you’ve been having a hard time finding the tall pale Irish funnyman on your TV screens since he moved to basic cable, it should be a lot easier once he’s on HBO’s big-name platform.

In the year 2021, Conan will be streaming.