Nothing is more dad than laughing at your own jokes. Here are our 12 personal favorites from October. (Actually as voted by you, based on Facebook engagement.)
What were you up to 17 years ago? I was spending inordinate amounts of time eating Bagel Bites and playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 on Nintendo 64. I’d jump from rail to rail, park bench to car to building, constantly on the grind… not literally of course. I was a lazy college student.
The real Tony Hawk was out there grinding for real. And crashing through coffee tables. (This iconic commercial just celebrated its 17th birthday!)
In addition to being the most influential skateboarder ever, Tony is a prolific media and entrepreneurial powerhouse: video game producer, actor (60 IMDB credits, including Sharknado 5!), skateboard emoji adviser, and philanthropist, making a big difference in low-income communities with The Tony Hawk Foundation.
That’s cool, but has he ever turned a Nosebluntslide grind into a McTwist grab while eating a Bagel Bite? Probably. But whatever.
My friends and I idolized Tony growing up. Still do. And he’s been a follower of The Dad for quite some time. As a dad of 6 himself, he’s very much “part of the club.” So it was super cool to catch up with him by phone for a quick chat.
JOEL WILLIS, EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF THE DAD: What are you like as a dad? What is your parenting style? Has it changed or evolved over the years?
TONY HAWK: It’s definitely changed. I think I’ve learned to be more effective as I’ve gotten older and through experience. But I think that [all of my kids] are all different obviously. They all have different needs and different kind of attention that they want or require. It’s been fun to see them all develop their own interests. They all are very unique, and my approach is to be supportive of whatever it is they’re getting into.
If they really find their passion, I want them to explore and to have the resources to take it further. I think that’s probably how I’m most effective not just financially but in terms of really giving them the tools and giving them the confidence to go forward in something that maybe is untested. Because that’s exactly what I did as a kid. I started skating and it was the furthest thing from cool you could do. I just kept at it because I loved it. I didn’t know I was going to have any sort of career out of it, and I feel very fortunate that that’s what happened. But at the same time, I want them to have that same desire and passion in their life.
Totally. That’s great. I think anybody in any career or any pursuit can relate to that. I know I do. I used to work in IT, and I was there in what many would call a soul-crushing corporate job. I just like making people laugh and making memes and stuff, and now I get to do cool stuff like talk to you on the phone.
That’s exactly it. You never know where it’s going to take you, and if you embrace the challenges of it, you’ll go further than you ever imagined.
And I think that that lesson is so important for kids, the lesson of doing what you love, but also learning every aspect of it and being up for the challenge if things don’t go the way you expect, because those are probably the moments that are more defining and probably more important.
Exactly. Like that video with your daughter where you were helping her overcome her fear and go down the ramp on the board. So cool.
Oh, thank you. Yeah, I just set my phone in a cup that was nearby. Mostly because I knew that she would want to see it. I knew that if she did it, she was going to be excited about it and maybe not do it again, so I just wanted her to have documentation for herself. And then I thought it was such an interesting experience to see her have that doubt, but then have the confidence to really try it, and I was encouraging but I wasn’t trying to be overbearing or intrusive on her thought process.
So I felt like that was a fun thing to watch unfold, and that’s why I shared it with people.
My daughter overcoming her fear in real time (wait for it). I might have been more nervous than she was.
— Tony Hawk (@tonyhawk) February 23, 2019
I think the reason I loved it so much and related to it was your excitement. You were fired up. Amped up for her. Did she feel the same way?
She was very excited. She actually ran back up to do it again, because she didn’t want to lose that confidence that she had. I think that she thought she didn’t do it as well as she could have. So she ran back up and did it again. That particular ramp is actually at my office, so whenever she ends up at my office, her first go-to is to go up there to make sure that she can still do it.
With the Rad Dad Squad, I feel like a “rad dad” to me is when you’re able to get down on your kids’ level and play with them and do the things that they like to do, and love it just as much as they do because they do…
It gives them the self-confidence to keep doing it, and as long as you’re doing it and not being intrusive at the same time, that’s obviously a fine line. But the idea of this whole campaign with the rad dad squad is that we want to recognize those moments and those fathers that are really putting out that effort, and getting into what their kids are doing. Being silly, but also being engaged. I’m sure they do it to very little appreciation. So we want to recognize that.
I relate to that. That’s part of our goals at The Dad to recognize modern, involved dads who are going above and beyond and give them that recognition they may not get otherwise.
A little controversial here, but I want you to rate the Bagel Bites jingle in terms of musical artistry on a scale of 1 to 10.
You mean, “Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at suppertime?”
You got it.
I’m going to give it an 8, just in terms of memorization. And concise, or you know, impact. Effective impact. Because it’s not like you have to sing it all the way through to get there. It’s very to the point. I like that. It’s a concise message.
I consider it a commercial masterpiece. I ask this because in your commercial in 2002, the jingle was different. It was sort of like a hard rock remix. So I want to ask you if you were involved in that decision.
I was not directly involved in that decision, no. But I’m honored that my inclusion changed the vibe enough that I got my own signature version. Signature cover, let’s put it that way.
Yeah. The Tony Hawk remix of the Bagel Bites theme.
Yeah, the punk cover of the Bagel Bites jingle, absolutely. I brought that to the world.
Thanks for the chat, Tony.
If you’re a rad dad, you can chat with him too. 3 winners will be inducted into the Rad Dad Squad later in June and will get to hang with Tony on his skate ramp. Just post a video of your own rad dad moments using #RadDadSquad and #sweepstakes.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta get back to the grind.
We are happy to announce The Dad of the Month for April 2019: Mike McGowan. Throughout his fatherhood journey, Mike has continuously stepped up in a big way to be a positive inspiration in his kids’ lives. Read about Mike in the nomination from his stepson:
“This is my stepdad. His name is Mike. He is the greatest man on the planet. He has been there for me since I was 12 years old.
My biological father was a drug addict and criminal, but my mom refused for me to be exposed to that. I grew up with my mom, grandma, and grandpa and they took good care of me, but I never had a dad to talk to. I was bullied and picked on constantly at school. I never stood up for myself and was often depressed.
The first time I met Mike, even though I was little, I told him to never hurt my mom’s feelings, and he obliged. He’s been in the picture ever since. I put that man through hell and he never gave up on me. I could have easily succumbed to addiction, but Mike treated me like his own son and kept me on the right path.
Before Mike met my mom he was married to a woman named Sue with 3 children from a previous relationship. Without hesitation he became a father to them. Sue and Mike also had a child together, my half-brother, Stephen. Mike and my brothers lost Sue to a grueling battle of cancer. All along, Mike was an unwavering pillar of love and support for everyone.
In 2013 our family tragically lost Stephen, Mike’s only biological son. Stephen was a soldier in the army. Even then, Mike remained our rock and everyone’s shoulder to lean on. That Christmas, my wife and I decided to legally change my name to McGowan to honor Mike, who is truly my father. We also changed my son’s name to McGowan, because Mike deserves to have his name carried on by the next generation. He is my superhero and I believe more than anything that he deserves this.”
To celebrate Mike’s tireless contributions to his family, we’re giving him $500 and special edition dad gear. Enjoy. Thank you for being a role model for your kids and for dads everywhere. We salute you.
You can try this at home. Printable version available here.
We are happy to announce The Dad of the Month for March 2019: Juan Bustamante. A true pillar of fatherhood in both his family and in the community, we salute you, Juan. Read about Juan in the nomination from his family:
“Juan is a veteran of the United States Navy, serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. He then joined the Los Angeles Police Department where he has been for over 10 years.
Juan is the perfect person for this type of recognition because he is not only an amazing role model in the community but he is also a father of 4 with another on the way! He has 16, 14, and 6-year-old daughters and a 4-year-old son with another baby boy on the way, due in May. Juan loves his children and goes above and beyond for them on a daily basis. He works nights and weekends to be able to be home early morning to help take the kids to school. Then he sleeps, picks them up, spends time with the family, and does it all over again.
When Juan isn’t patrolling the streets of South LA or with his family, he mentors children from the Watts area with a non-profit organization called Operation Progress. Juan loves giving back to the community because of his belief that all children deserve a father figure present to guide, protect, and teach them about things they typically wouldn’t be able to, given the geographic area they come from. Operation Progress opens many doors for these kids and Juan is there as a chaperone at every event.
The major obstacle Juan faces is battling his PTSD. Like many veterans, it’s an everyday struggle not just for him but for those of us closest to him. There are good days and bad days, but regardless he always takes care of his duties as a father and husband.
I am proud to be a part of his family and be personally impacted by all the good that he does.”
To celebrate Juan’s tireless contributions to his family and the community, we’re giving him $500 and special edition dad gear. Enjoy. And try to squeeze in a nap if you can. You deserve it, man!
You may have noticed the latest absurd internet craze: throwing cheese at babies. Yes. For real.
The highlight of my day was watching this video of someone throwing a slice of cheese on their baby…. what’s wrong with me and why am I still laughing? pic.twitter.com/ZHUB421SG2
— madi (@Madison_Combs1) March 1, 2019
Here at The Dad we’ve been asked to participate. But… c’mon.
Here’s the challenge we’d rather see: kids throwing cheese at dads.
Make it happen, internet.
Spoiler warning of course.
Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) was recently quoted in Entertainment Weekly, describing the grueling 54-day shoot for a battle scene, “Nothing can prepare you for how physically draining it is. It’s night after night, and again and again, and it just doesn’t stop. You can’t get sick, and you have to look out for yourself because there’s so much to do that nobody else can do… There are moments you’re just broken as a human and just want to cry.”
Coincidentally enough, that’s exactly what it’s like being a parent.
Game of Thrones Season 8 premieres April 14 on HBO.
“The most unflattering photo of me ever? Easily top 3. But posting anyway because THIS IS FATHERHOOD. Pulled up my camera roll this morning to get a The Dad meme and saw that my wife snuck my phone at 6am to snap this. I literally laughed out loud when I saw it. My son has an ear infection and snuck in our bed in the night. I know it’s cliche and I don’t always think this way but lately I’ve been feeling like time is getting away from me, and the kids are growing up too fast. So any moment I can get like this, I’ll take it. #NoFilter #ILiterallyWokeUpLikeThis #RealChinsHaveCurves”
– Joel Willis, Executive Editor of The Dad
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Look, some dads are tech masters who are always on top of the latest thing, but I just hadn’t thought about home automation before. I had Alexa, and loved it, but I figured smart lights and everything would mean rewiring the whole house. But then I was part a “favorite things” gift exchange and someone gave me a pack of four smart outlets, and it was a huge “Oh, duh” moment.
To have a smart home, you don’t have to reprogram your whole house’s electricity…you just take remote control of an outlet. I downloaded the Smart Life app, plugged in one of the outlets and held down the button until it blinked.
With my phone connected to the wifi, they synced up and were good to go. I grew up with frustratingly slow tech, and had to deal with computer virus hell in the 90s, so it’s still crazy to me how intuitive and quick most things can work now! I could plug in anything to this outlet: a lamp, the Christmas tree, a surge protector connected to all devices in the room, and control it all from my phone.
Now, the next phase of any conquest is delegation. I enabled the Smart Life skill in the Alexa app so I could use it to control the smart outlets. Fun Pro tip: You can reprogram Alexa’s response word to be “Computer.” So for a while I could say “Computer, lights” and the lights would go on or off! It was basically like being a starfleet captain all the time. Word of caution though: you say the word “computer” way more often than you think you do. It’ll hear you, man. It’ll hear you.
Of course once I got started, I became hooked. I wanted to connect full rooms and the outdoor lighting. I wanted to control the thermostat and the garage door. I wanted unlimited power! So, my next step was buying several smart switches.
These work the same way the outlets do, but for the internal stuff, and even the nicer ones only run for about $20. They allow voice, remote and timed control of anything that isn’t plugged in – ceiling lighting and fans and so on. I installed them myself, but it’s a little more complicated so no shame in hiring a professional for this part. It was still way easier than the complete rewiring I’d always imagined, and setup with Smart Life was just as easy as the outlets.
Now I have 6 smart outlets and 4 smart switches on the grid. With Alexa, it’s super easy to create groups for different rooms, like: Family Room, Kitchen, Outside, or larger groups like: Whole House.
From here, I was basically set to go. Smart Home: Activate! But I tend to dive…deeper.
There’s a section in the app called “Routines,” and it’s key. With it, I schedule all of my groups to turn on and off depending on day and time. For example, the box fans in all our bedrooms (#whitenoise4lyfe) are programmed to turn off, while the lights all turn on just before alarm time every morning. This is usually enough to wake up my kids without an alarm!
All of the downstairs lights are on when my wife gets up at an ungodly hour for her workout. My outdoor lights turn on and off at the appropriate times. The customization possibilities are awesome. Routines can also be voice-controlled, and you can make your voice commands whatever you want by typing it in the app.
So when I say “Alexa it’s TV time!” she says, “Heck yeah let’s get this party started” and turns on the Family Room.
You can also use these routines to mess with your kids. When I ask “Alexa, who is the best?” she responds with “Joel is the best” and that is an airtight argument from an omnipresent computer controlling our entire lives.
Westworld season 3 looks amazing pic.twitter.com/c6zQDNIYEo
— The Dad (@thedad) January 3, 2019
I was really impressed by how simple and easy it was to get all this up and running. The big takeaway for me was realizing that having a smart home wasn’t something that’s just for super rich people living in future homes. I know there’s more that could be done, and as prices on the tech come down, I’ll probably automate more stuff. Eventually, I will achieve the ultimate goal of an automated breakfast machine, like from Back to the Future III.
The Dad loves cool stuff, and we want to share it with you. We are a part of the Amazon Affiliate Program, so we may earn a fee if you buy stuff from links featured here. But this was a true story, and it happened mostly before that whole arrangement, so no bullshit.
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