Dave Lesser

Dave Lesser

How Got Toddlered Became A Viral Sensation

Seeing the before and after photos of a US President can be downright shocking. Although their time in office is relatively short, the everyday burden of the job seems to age them in dog years.

Maybe that was Mike Julianelle’s inspiration for his Instagram phenomenon Got Toddlered, with pics of parents before and after they had children. After all, the only thing comparable to the stress and responsibility of having the power to unleash nuclear Armageddon on an unsuspecting world is the stress and responsibility of having no power to control a screaming two year old in an unsuspecting Walmart.

Or maybe Mike, who runs the Dad and Buried blog, found his inspiration closer to home, as he looked in the mirror, saw the bags under his eyes and a suddenly swollen jowl and recalled, with a mix of sadness, longing, remorse, and complete and utter despair, what he used to be. For alas, that man is no more. Le sigh.

Since Mike is a friend and also my editor at The Dad who is forcing me to write this article about him, I decided to ask.



The Dad: Before we get to the photos, what was the inspiration for your Instagram page Got Toddlered?

Mike Julianelle: Um, my toddler? I believe it started when he converted what had been a nice coffee table into a train yard. And then I just started noticing all the other stuff that had been toddlerfied, aka, altered beyond its initial pre-kid purpose, aka, totally destroyed. And there were a lot of examples, especially once I asked other parents to share some.

TD: Were the before and after becoming a parent pics a natural extension or was there a different inspiration or impetus?

MJ: Yeah, MY HIDEOUS FACE after almost 8 years of parenting. And also a photo I posted showcasing the way it has changed, because when a follower saw it, she suggested I ask others for THEIR before/after photos. So I did! Boom. VIRAL. My followers are great.


TD: Yeah, you’re pretty grotes…I mean, you’re still so good looking. Are you sure you’re really a parent?

MJ: That depends on who you ask (at least in regards to the “Are you really a parent?” part, not the “you’re so good looking” part; everyone agrees with that). Many people who read my blog or follow my social platforms think I should have my kids taken away from me because I make fun of them and call them names, but like I’ve already told my wife: until you convince a judge, they’re still my kids!


TD: What is the biggest stress of being a parent? What has aged you the most?

MJ: Making sure they don’t die while simultaneously making sure you don’t go broke while simultaneously making sure they don’t grow up to kill people while simultaneously making sure you don’t fall asleep behind the wheel while simultaneously making sure you don’t ruin your kids while simultaneously making sure they don’t ruin your marriage while simultaneously making sure…

TD: Parenting is definitely a chainsaw juggling act. So, what makes becoming a parent “worth it”? Are you mostly interested in making sure the Julianelle name survives or are there some short-term benefits as well?
MJ: Can you ask me again in 30 years? Because there’s no way to know if any of this has been worth it until you see how they turn out. Look, bro, the lows of parenting are PLENTIFUL but the highs, while much more rare, are also much higher. That’s the trade-off. As for my name surviving, it is a pretty cool name, but seeing as my wife already refused to take it (FEMINISM FTW!), I don’t have much hope.


TD: Why no before and after pictures of your wife?

MJ: You think I’m fucking stupid, Hans?

TD: Has anyone submitted before and after kids photos where the after is an improvement? If so, do you have an explanation for these aberrations? 

MJ: I have an explanation: they’re rich and/or they have a nanny. But they’ll never be on my Instagram because listening to someone explain how their life has improved after having kids is not only not funny, it’s flat-out RUDE.

TD: Well, thanks for sitting down with me for this fascinating interview.

MJ: This was done over email. You’re not fooling anyone, idiot.

Of course, Mike isn’t the only Dad staffer who #gottoddlered.

Here’s the bossman himself, Joel Willis:


Here’s comedian Josh Sneed:


And here’s yours truly!

Charlie Daniels Warns Taco Bell Not To Take Illuminati Lightly

(YouTube/Taco Bell and Twitter/CharlieDaniels)

Sometimes a tweet comes along that blows the lid off some conspiracy theories while, at the same time, opens up a whole new jar of salsa. A famous musician’s response to a recent commercial is one of those times…

With a simple message (or was it a warning?), country music legend, man who got cheated by the devil in a fiddlin’ contest, and everyone’s favorite crazy uncle recently managed this rare feat when he tweeted some words of warning to a fast food taco restaurant.

Wow. Chills, right?

For those unfamiliar, Daniels’s Tweet refers to Taco Bell’s new ad campaign, which attempts to poke fun at the Illuminati (unwisely, some would say. Including Daniels!). In the “Belluminati,” the Mexican-inspired fast food chain is at the center of a grand conspiracy. (For more information about the actual, very real, Illuminati, check out this user-friendly website that invites anyone who logs on to become a member.)

Here’s the ad:

As a number of people noticed, Daniels neglected to even @ Taco Bell.

[tweet 951067001497235456 hide_thread=’true’]

A strange tactic, but perhaps understandable, if one were attempting to distance one’s self from a terrifying shadowy cabal that may or may not have reason to assassinate the Taco Bell chihuahua.

It makes sense that Taco Bell is part of the famously secret organization. The evidence goes beyond the “jokes” in the commercial or the even the evil eye in the Taco Bell bell. After all, no one would dare brazenly mock such an organization, unless they were trying to deflect…

[tweet 950576183552495616 hide_thread=’true’]

Further evidence lies in the facts: no one admits to eating there, yet Taco Bell is the fifth most popular fast food chain in America.

How many fourth meals do people consume with absolutely no recollection of the dining experience? It’s almost as if many of their customers are in some sort of myopic, drug-like trance, compelling them to order a chalupa, extra guac. The next day, the experience is but a hazy dream. The only evidence of the meal is the packet of Diablo sauce in your pocket and a nagging feeling that evacuates your body almost as soon as it enters.

But isn’t it just as likely that Charlie Daniels is a member of the Illuminati? The man’s most famous song The Devil Went Down to Georgia was obviously a metaphor. Wake up, sheeple!

The Devil wouldn’t be going “down” anywhere; he’d be traveling up from the depths of Hell! But the Illuminati, sitting on high, atop their metaphorical pyramids, look down upon God and man. Mixing with common folk and tempting them to gamble away their souls is mere sport for the Illuminati. Mark Zuckerberg (obviously!), Kim Kardashian (you didn’t know?) and their ilk delight in the game. It’s a poorly kept secret that Zuck has a special room in Fort Knox filled to the brim with golden fiddles for just this type of bet. (Yes, most of the song is a metaphor, but the fiddle thing is totally literal.)

Some people get it.

[tweet 950695275538079745 hide_thread=’true’]

Or perhaps – unlikely though it may be – Charlie Daniels cracked the hard shell around his brain and has cranial queso dripping out of his ears.

[tweet 950619036391526400 hide_thread=’true’]

Just kidding. The Belluminati is real! There is no escape, no matter how fast you run for the border.

[tweet 950873111381073920 hide_thread=’true’]

600 Men Volunteered To Be Mentors At A School’s Breakfast With Dads


When the opportunity arises to inspire the next generation, will anyone answer the call?

That is the question children’s advocate Kristina Chäadé Dove must have asked herself when she put out a request for volunteers on social media.

Billy Earl Dade Middle School in Dallas was hosting its annual “Breakfast with Dads” event, but the organizers feared that attendance would be low. Dove’s Facebook post asked if 50 men could take an hour out of their schedules to mentor the boys of this middle school that serves a predominantly lower-income population.

The post was shared and shared again and nearly 600 men responded, exceeding Dove’s wildest expectations and forcing the school to move the event from the cafeteria to the much larger gymnasium.

The surrogate dads didn’t arrive empty-handed; they brought extra ties along to teach the boys an important life skill that every man must have. Stephanie Drenka, a Dallas photographer and blogger who chronicled the event wrote, “the sight of a necktie may forever bring a tear to my eye.” But the ties were just the beginning.


The 600 men in the room also brought lifetimes of passion, experience, compassion and inspiration to a group of young men who don’t always have a positive male role model in their lives.

The event truly took a community to make it a success. The larger venue required more volunteers to help with setup, check-in, and other logistics. According to Drenka, volunteers from all over “showed up alongside the male mentors to make the event possible.” The event clearly meant as much to the mentors as it did to the students.

“There were so many volunteers, that at times I saw young men huddled in the center of 4-5 mentors. The look of awe- even disbelief- in students’ eyes as they made their way through the crowd of ‘Dads’ was astonishing.”

The normally sardonic Twitter took notice and could not help but share this feel good story.

People felt all the feelings.

But mostly they felt inspired.

In a time when bad news seems to be the only news, it’s easy to forget that there are good men out there. And with enthusiastic role models to guide them, another group of good men will soon be graduating from Billy Earl Dade Middle School.

Nirvana In A Major Key Makes Your Angsty Adolesence Feel Like A Lie

(Getty Images/Samir Hussein)

Even if you couldn’t quite understand what the hell he was talking about or even saying, you knew Kurt Cobain spoke to you.

His melancholy demanded to be entertained, as he seemingly lacked the energy to even play his own guitar. Mixed with Dave Grohl’s violent drum mashing, the sound captured how you felt as an angst-ridden, emotional and misunderstood teenager who just wanted to fit in and be left alone. It all made perfect sense – if only your parents, teachers and friends would listen! – but it was too hard to find, oh well, whatever, never mind.

It doesn’t matter now, anyway. You grew up and your angst is just a fond memory, with Nevermind kickstarting the mixtape that was the soundtrack of your adolescence. That is until some asshole on Vimeo recorded it in a major key and now your world is shook and you can’t figure out why you don’t hate the new pop punk version!

The asshole in question is Sleep Good, a pop punk band from La Jolla, CA who woke up one day and decided to fuck with us all, apparently.

Despite what has been written, Sleep Good didn’t just quickly auto-tune the grunge classic. In a comment under their video of the appropriately and ironically named Nirvirna Teen Sprite, Sleep Good explained, “I just used the original vocals and drums then re-recorded all the other parts using different chords. Then I pitched the vocals to be in the new key.”

Non-music nerds probably have no idea what the hell that means. But after hearing the remixed song, it’s clear that nothing means anything anymore! Maybe your teenage years weren’t the misery you remember. Maybe you actually enjoyed high school, had lots of friends, loving parents, and a guidance counselor who wasn’t just going through the motions. Maybe you were the worst at what you do best. And for this gift, you feel <hashtag> blessed. Yeah!

As soon as the video was posted, the debate began. Some people loved it and some hated it.

Some people hated that they loved it.

Other people just tried to make sense of the whole damn thing.

Whatever you think about Nirvana Teen Sprite, your adolescence will never be the same again. But if you ever feel stupid and contagious, just remember that with the lights out it’s less dangerous!

You Can Now Play Classic Video Games On Your Phone, Old Man

Old school games make new school appearance

If there’s one thing old people love it’s stuff to make them feel young again.

Let me be the first to break it to you, dear child of the 80s: you are old as dirt. Sure, you still rock a sweet graphic tee and may even have (most of) your hair, but you also have kids, a mortgage and a strict 10:30 bedtime or you will be cranky AF in the morning. But just because you’re old (and again, you are), doesn’t mean you can’t play the games of your youth.

Best of all, there’s no need for a frustrating search through all that newfangled hulabaloo in the app store, Mashable did the work and found the “9 Classic Games You Need On Your IPhone.”

These games are guaranteed to bring back fond memories from when you were much cooler. Or could, at least, stay up late, playing stupid games.

(Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The first computer game many of us had as kid tricked us into learning about American history and asking questions like, “what the hell is dysentery?” Basically, if you didn’t die on the Oregon Trail, you won. It’s just like your everyday life now, old-timer! Except, your minivan is even less bad ass than a covered wagon. And instead of dysentery, it’s probably just high cholesterol. Happy trails!

Simplicity was at the heart of many early cellphone games. Simple to learn, but a lifetime to master. And you convinced yourself you would master them! Snake was the ultimate phone game before your phone was a tiny computer in your pocket. Pretty much all your stupid phone did back then was make and receive calls, and play this one inane and insanely addictive game. Now you’re pissed when someone dares call you, instead of texting. The good news is, you can ignore them while you play Snake.


I’m not sure what’s wrong with Mashable, but Pac-Man should have been number one with a Power Pellet on this list of classic games. Pac-Man is THE classic arcade game. As soon as you hear the music a wave of nostalgia hits. You can practically feel the stack of quarters in your fingers and the worn carpet under your feet as you eat or are eaten by ghosts.

As for some of the other games on the list: Battleship and Clue weren’t even computer or arcade games when you were a kid. They were board games. Why were they included, let alone the number one and two picks?? Whoever wrote the Mashable list is probably as old as you are. They must have gotten winded and just threw two extra games onto the list. Also, ignore their coloring book selection. If you’re going to get an adult coloring book, get this one with lots of fun curse words and actual paper.


The point is: you’re old, but you can still have a good time. Go have a nice warm cup of tea (not too hot!) and play Snake or one of these other classic games. Keeping your mind active and stimulated will keep you feeling young.

Even though you’re really, really, REALLY old.