Mark Chalifoux

Mark Chalifoux

Mark Chalifoux is a stand-up comedian who has been featured on Fox and IFC and has made national radio appearances on The Bob and Tom Show, SiriusXM and BBC Radio. As a writer, Mark has contributed to ESPN.com, CBS Digital, The Baltimore Sun, The Cincinnati Enquirer and The Chalifoux Family Christmas Newsletter. Mark is the father to a beautiful and amazing daughter and her sister.

Retiring Pilot Ends Final Flight By Pinning His Wings On Toddler With Down Syndrome

(Joe Weis | American Airlines)

An American Airlines pilot retired earlier this month after more than three decades, and his final flight was one he will never forget. On his Miami-bound flight, Captain Joe Weis was in the cockpit for the final time, while his wife was in the cabin, making friends with a mother and young child.

The child was a 2-year-old boy with Down syndrome, and he was making the return journey of his very first plane trip. When Joe heard about the boy’s special trip happening on his final flight, he invited the boy into the cockpit (after landing, he’s not breaking any rules on his final flight) and pinned his official captain wings onto the toddler.

“It’s so amazing what he did. The whole thing was so cool,” the boy’s mother told the Orlando Sentinel on Friday.

The boy smiled, clapped and said “thank you” in sign language after Captain Joe pinned his wings on him. His mother said she still talks about the moment and Weis’ former employer, American Airlines, said in a statement they were touched by Captain Joe’s actions.

For his part, Weis said he would never forget it.

“Since it was my last flight, and his first, we wanted to make it special,” he wrote on Facebook.

 

 

SNL’s Joker Parody Shows You The Seedy, Grittier Side Of Sesame Street

(Warner Bros Pictures | Saturday Night Live)

The Joker was one of early fall’s most notable cultural touchpoints. And while Joaquin Phoenix was lauded for his terrific portrayal of the Joker, many critics found the overall production a little lacking in substance. But, the most important takeaway was the outstanding series of parodies it spawned. Some, assuredly, were quite terrible. At the far other end of the spectrum, you have parodies like this one, created by the talented, handsome, creative folks at The Dad.

Sure, that one is the leader in the clubhouse. But, there is a new challenger, as Saturday Night Live unleashed a pretty epic short based off the Joker trailer. It is the dark origin story of a beloved children’s television character, and one that shows you a side of a world you’ve never seen before.

The episode was hosted by Stranger Things star David Harbour, who took on the title role for the short. The dystopian look at Sesame Street has it all, the origins of Oscar the Grouch, a trash collector turned… trash monster. You also have the Count using his mathematical prowess in service of a pill addiction, Big Bird as a dancer, Elmo getting arrested, Snuffy is a pimp, The Cookie Monster is homeless, and Ernie gets a goddamned knife to the chest.

The hilarious trailer was the highlight of the young SNL season and definitely deserves its spot as one of the top two Joker parodies on the market.

Dad Helps Son With Cerebral Palsy Score His First Touchdown

Bryson Jenkins and Dad Touch Down
(YouTube/ABC 7 Chicago)

Having a child with special needs can be a hard situation for parents, which makes the joyous moments all the more special when they happen. One Illinois dad got to enjoy a moment many parents take for granted when his son, who suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy, was made the honorary captain for a game by a youth football team.

The 7-year-old got to run through the banner with the team and got to watch the game from the sideline, cradling a football the entire time. His parents said it was a special opportunity for their son, who has only been walking for a year and spends a lot of his week at doctor’s appointments.

The day became even more special for the boy during the game’s last minute, when he had his number called and took the field, with the help of his dad. Walking with his dad, he got to score a touchdown. Afterward, players from both teams surrounded him, chanting his name.

“It was an incredible moment that I got to share with him,” his dad told ABC. “It was amazing.”

“Everyone was standing and cheering. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a dry eye there,” his mom said to Fox News.

The NFL Players Association got wind of the story, and are planning a special presentation for the boy. They were also very touched by how inclusive and accepting the boys on the team were.

“We absolutely plan to recognize Bryson and make him an honorary member of the NFL Players Association- Chicago Chapter,” the NFLPA of the Chicago chapter, Tom Serpento, said.

MLB Dad Skips Postseason Game for Birth of His Child

Daniel Hudson Skips Game
(Twitter/JeffPassan)

Being there for the birth of your child is an incredibly emotional, special time for parents. And one professional baseball player reinforced how important those moments are when he skipped game 1 of the National League Championship Series so he could be there for the birth of his daughter.

Washington Nationals closer Daniel Hudson showed he has his priorities straight when he skipped the huge clash to be there for his family.

“My family is top priority for me. I heard somebody say one time, ‘Baseball’s what I do, it’s not who I am.’ And kind of once you have kids, or once I had kids, it really resonated with me,” Hudson told ESPN.

The move was criticized by a few curmudgeonly old baseball people, who think sports are more important than everything. Hudson did have the full backing of his team though. His manager told him to not have any second thoughts about taking care of his family. His teammates also went strong in their defense.

Teammate Sean Doolittle put it into perspective better than anyone, with a straight fire quote about what professional athletes sacrifice, and where the line needs to be drawn:

“If your reaction to someone having a baby is anything other than, ‘Congratulations, I hope everybody’s healthy,’ you’re an a——. As important as our careers are to us as players, nothing is more important to us than our families. Our careers will end someday, but family is forever.”

“We sacrifice so much and we miss so much during our careers. We miss graduations and weddings. Lots of players might miss their kids’ first steps or first words. They’re gone six to eight months out of the year and can’t take their kids to school or help their wives with taking care of the kids. So when he said, ‘Hey, I need a day to be with my family because my wife is about to give birth,’ it was a no-brainer for me, and we focused all our energy on picking him up.”

The team rallied and picked up the win while Hudson was away. And the critics that did speak up, prioritizing baseball above everything else, were pretty much routinely mocked by the rest of the Internet.

The Nationals got the W, Hudson got to be there for the birth of his daughter, the dad returned for game 2 and earned a save, and most important of all, the haters struck out.

Kid Detectives Band Together to Find Missing 97-Yr-Old Woman

Kid's Find Lost 97-year-old
(YouTube/Inside Edition)

When a 97-year-old woman with dementia was reported missing from her care facility, the Roseville Police and Fire department leaped into action. They posted notifications to the community and sent cruisers (and a helicopter) to the area looking for the woman. But the heroes who found her was a “junior search party” of neighborhood kids.

The kid detectives heard the news and mounted their bicycles in an effort to aid the search. After canvassing the area, the kids found the woman and alerted the grateful authorities.

“This is a great example of our exceptional community coming together to lend a helping hand,” the police department said in a statement on Facebook. “This proves a great point, age is just a number and anyone can help out in a time of need.”

The dad of two of the kids in the search party told Good Morning America the story was a real-life Goonies Moment.

“When they came back home running in, so excited they found her, I got so emotional,” he said. “I’m so proud of them.”

One of the police officers in the city told Good Morning America the kids should give them a call in 10 years to talk about becoming official detectives.

The Highs and Lows of Pitching in the Postseason

Highs and Lows of Pitching in Postseason
(Twitter/SNFaizalKhamisa)

The biggest story of the sports week was the heartbreaking end to the Los Angeles Dodgers postseason hopes and dreams. The Dodgers, one of baseball’s best teams, won more than 100 games and seemed like a surefire lock to play in their third consecutive World Series. Then Clayton Kershaw happened.

During the regular season, he’s a generational talent. In the postseason, he’s anything but, and a relief performance that started well fell completely apart after he gave up two home runs late in the game as the Washington Nationals took the NLDS series.

We now go to a live highlight of Kershaw’s relief efforts:

Kershaw will never be able to escape the narrative of his playoff collapses, and he knows it, but man, you can’t help but feel for the guy.

The loss did lead to some great trolling. After it looked like the Dodgers were going to walk all over the Nationals, the LA Kings got in a ruthless jab after the 8-2 win.

This tweet sure didn’t age well, as the Dodgers collapsed just a few days later. The LA Kings also played that day, and they lost by a familiar score of, you guessed it, 8-2. I wonder if the Washington Capitals had anything to say about that funny coincidence?

One pitcher who is having no shortage of success over the last few months is the Cardinals Jack Flaherty, who was on the mound for the series-clinching annihilation of the Atlanta Braves. Flaherty credits his success to his mom, who adopted him when he was three weeks old. And after the win, there was only one person he wanted to celebrate with.

The Philadelphia Flyers have become the first pro sports team with a ‘rage room’, as fans can rent time in 5-minute intervals to let out their frustrations and…well, basically just destroy shit. They can throw an adult temper tantrum, all for the low price of $35.

I like the idea, I just expected in a more sports-troubled city, such as Cincinnati. No team with Gritty for a mascot should need a rage room.

Finally, in the lowlight of the week. A golfer on the European tour was interrupted during his backswing, a major no-no on the golf course. Someone slammed a door right as he was about to take his shot. The mystery culprit? His fiancé.

Everyone Keeping Score at Kids Soccer Game Where Teams “Don’t Keep Score”

Parents Keeping Score
(Getty/Corbis/VCG)

It was a beautiful fall afternoon for a friendly match between two instructional soccer teams. This level is designed for beginners aged 7 to 9 so the score is not a factor. Yet every single person there was aware the Gold Tigers team would have dominated the Blue Ghosts 9-3 if the score had actually been kept.

“Both teams played hard and had a lot of fun,” said Tigers head coach Ryan Hamilton. “If I had to get specific, I’d say we had an amount of fun equivalent to scoring nine times. And they definitely had less than that. But we don’t keep score so who knows for sure?”

Greg Stephenson, coach for the Ghosts, agreed the kids had a swell time. “We need to work a little harder if we want to have more fun though,” he said. “In my experience, the most fun thing in soccer is scoring goals. And I know we don’t keep score, but if I had to ballpark it, I’d say we scored exactly three times. Which, if we had kept score, would’ve been about seven too few.”

The score isn’t kept during these games because the emphasis is all about the kids having fun. The Blue Ghosts, however, were visibly demoralized by the Tigers kicking the ball into the goal relentlessly. A random survey of the family members on the sideline indicated everyone was not only aware of the number of times each team kicked into the net, but also specifically which kids would have scored if scoring was a thing (which it isn’t).

“I loved watching my big brother score six times,” said 5-year-old Richie Hamilton, who spent most of the game playing on his mom’s phone but was still bang-on with his goal estimate.

Lizzie, a player for the Ghosts, said the highlight of the game was the snacks and drinks after the game. “That was definitely more fun than losing the game 9-3,” she admitted.

This Just In…is The Dad Faking News. Despite being completely plausible to parents, it’s satire and intended for entertainment purposes only. For more stories like this one click here.

Hungry Dad Left Heartbroken When Kids Eat Their Entire Meals

Heartbroken Hungry Dad
(Getty/JGI/Jamie Grill)

Kevin Miller decided to treat his kids by bringing home a Chick-Fil-A lunch, ordering a sensible salad for himself so he’d appear to be a responsible adult. In his head, he was doing the mental math of the leftovers he’d soon be feasting on from the kids’ meals he ordered for his three kids. He was left heartbroken, though, when they all finished their entire meals.

“Oh, Tristen, you ate all your nuggets, great job,” he said in a shockingly passive-aggressive fashion. He then moved on to his middle child, feeling comfortable in A.J.’s eating habits that he’d have at least a spare nugget and half an order of fries to eat. Panic began to creep in when the boy plopped the last nugget into his mouth. Kevin frantically grabbed the bag, hoping to at least secure a few fries that are almost always in the bottom. He stared with utter disbelief into the endless depths of an empty bag.

“There’s…there’s nothing left,” he breathed, his voice barely above a whisper. He began to nervously peck at the remnants of his salad, which had consisted of a handful of pieces of lettuce, two miniature pieces of chicken and some indecipherable vegetable combination. He had already consumed the seasoned croutons in what felt like ages ago.

His face turned white as he turned his gaze to his youngest, daughter Kayleigh. Still, he had hope. Sure, his bounty wouldn’t be the glorious feast he expected, but Kayleigh never let him down. And he had planned for this. She was only 2, and he had ordered her a 6-count meal, knowing full well she rarely ate more than two.

“Daddy, look, I finished all my food!” she beamed, as a tear began to trickle down his cheek.

He turned ashen, realizing the dream was dead. There would be no leftovers. There would be no scavenging. Instead, he spent the rest of the afternoon with a literal feeling of emptiness.

This Just In…is The Dad Faking News. Despite being completely plausible to parents, it’s satire and intended for entertainment purposes only. For more stories like this one click here.

Hero Airman Saves Baby While on His Way to Receive Hero Award

Hero Airman Saves Baby
(Facebook/AFSOC Commander)

The men and women in the United States military are all heroes. And then there are people like Tech Sgt. Kenneth O’Brien, who raise the bar so high it’s hard to even see it anymore. The airman was recently recognized as one of the 2019 Outstanding Airmen of The Year after protecting the president during the historic North Korean summit. While in Korea, he also saved a civilian from a burning vehicle. He was part of the special forces that helped rescue the Thai soccer players trapped in a cave, and he saved the life of a Thai Navy SEAL.

This resume of straight-up hero badassery earned him an award. And while he was flying to receive the award, a baby on his flight lost consciousness due to a blocked airway. That baby picked the right flight to choke on, unknowingly flying with a bonafide hero.

“Our man OB leaps into action, clears the breathing passage, resuscitates the kid, hands him back to the parents, and then goes on about his business,” Lt. Gen. Jim Slife, head of Air Force Special Operations Command, wrote on Facebook.

“I’m thankful that the child is ok and that I was able to help when the family needed support,” said O’Brien. “I happened to be in the right place at the right time,” he said.

I think it’s safe to say that after this many times, being “in the right place at the right time” is more than a coincidence.

Single Dad Adopts Girl With Down Syndrome Rejected by 20 Families

Alba and Luca Trapanese
(Instagram/trapaluca)

Alba was just a few days old when she was put up for adoption by her parents because she has Down syndrome. Sadly, 20 other families passed on adopting her by the time she was only 13 days old. But her story got a happy ending when a single dad stepped in to adopt the adorable weeks-old infant.

 

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Wedding Livio e Serena❤

A post shared by Luca Trapanese (@trapaluca) on

Luca Trapanese’s story went viral with the release of a book he wrote about his life with Alba, a story he says “destroys many stereotypes about fatherhood, religion and family.” Adoption laws in Italy are fairly strict, and rarely are single parents approved, but Alba’s condition warranted an amendment to the normal regulations. And Luca said he experienced no trepidation about the decision, driving to the hospital to fill out the paperwork the moment he was approved.

 

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Ma poi andrò in vacanza anche io?😂😂😂#Procida #estate2019 #Alba #maldischiena

A post shared by Luca Trapanese (@trapaluca) on

Luca had a history of volunteering and working with children with disabilities, so he felt prepared to raise a child with Down syndrome. And he couldn’t wait to become a dad.

“When I held her in my arms, I was filled with joy,” he told the BBC. “I felt she was my daughter immediately. I knew I was ready to be her father.”

 

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I momenti di relax con Alba sono veramente pochi😂😂😂 #alba #nataperte #padre #diversità #single #roma #nuoviamici

A post shared by Luca Trapanese (@trapaluca) on

Luca said Alba, now 1.5 years old, loves to play and meet new people. “I will spend the rest of my life with a girl I love,” Luca says, “and we will do many wonderful things together.”

Police Pack the Stands for Fallen Officer’s Son at His First Football Game

Police Attend Boy's First Game
(Twitter/CityOfMissionTX)

When Joaquin Espericueta took the field for his first middle school football game, his dad was not among those in the stands. His dad, Jose, loved football and was eager to see his son’s first game in the fall, but the elder Espericueta, a Mission, Texas police officer, was killed in the line of duty in June. The stands weren’t empty for Joaquin’s first football game, though, as dozens of cops from Mission and surrounding communities packed the stands to support the youngster.

Jose was the first police officer to be killed in the line of duty in nearly 40 years, and Mission Police Chief Robert Dominguez said they were going to take care of Jose’s family. The game wasn’t the first time they turned out en masse to show their support, as they also provided overwhelming support for Joaquin’s first day of school in August. The football game was the next chance to be there for the family, but it won’t be the last.

“It was important for us as a law enforcement family to support Joaquin on his special day of his first football game,” Mission Police Chief Robert Dominguez told the Washington Post. “This was another first in his life, and we wanted to be there….We’re going to be there for family. It’s a healing process for all of us.”

Broadcaster Dad Does Play-by-Play of Daughter’s First Collegiate Goal

Maddie Posick's Dad Calls Goal
(Twitter/BadgerWHockey)

The University of Wisconsin’s top-ranked women’s hockey team started their season with a bang. They unveiled their championship banner and defeated Penn State 7-0. But the coolest moment of the night belonged to the second of those seven goals, as junior forward Maddie Posick scored her first collegiate goal. And her dad, Brian, a broadcaster for Fox Sports Wisconsin, got to make the call from the booth.

You can hear his surprise and jubilation at his daughter’s first goal, and his partner takes a moment to acknowledge how special it was.

Maddie’s sister played the video of their dad broadcasting the goal and Maddie was overwhelmed with emotions. “I just teared up right away,” she told Madison.com. “I couldn’t even look at the video; I just had to hear his voice. Hearing him say Posick, it’s making me choked up now. It’s incredible.”

As the video started to go viral, some were surprised he was as calm as he was. And Brian said it wasn’t easy.

We were alerted to this awesome moment thanks to ESPN SportsCenter anchor Steve Levy who tagged us. Cheers, Steve!

Truly an awesome dad moment for Brian, getting to make the call on Maddie’s first collegiate goal. And truly an awesome goal, with putting the puck between her legs and turning a 1-on-4 opportunity into a highlight-reel worthy goal.

The Best Tackle This Week Was by a Dad During Baseball Playoffs

Juan Soto's Dad Tackles Him
(Twitter/Cut4)

The NFL is a great league to follow. Fantasy football has made looking at box scores fun, which is amazing. Gambling has made football interesting to sports fans across the spectrum, even to those in cities that only have amateur football (looking at you, Cincinnati). There’s just one problem with the current state of the NFL…it’s just not a lot of fun to watch.

While the future health of the sport lies in concussions, CTE, declining youth numbers, etc. etc., the current NFL has a game flow issue, which falls a lot on the officiating. The pass interference review was a novel idea, but no one understands what a pass interference really is, and even the most obvious evidence on tape isn’t enough to change an official’s mind.

And then you have plays like the one from Thursday’s game between the Rams and the Seahawks, when Clay Matthews got hit with a hard-to-swallow roughing the passer flag for leading with his helmet. Only…he didn’t.

It’s certainly important to protect quarterbacks, I get that. But, at the same time, the NFL needs more consistency with their officiating, and the answer can’t just be “treat every linebacker like he’s Vontaze Burfict.”

The Bucs had a big win last week, and gave the game ball to their GM, Jason Licht. Only Jason wasn’t at the game, as he was with family after the death of his father the day before. So the team Facetimed him after the emotional win to let him know. It’s a cool moment!

The other big sports dad moment this week happened in baseball, as the Washington Nationals won their wildcard game thanks to Juan Soto’s game-winning hit. And his dad stole the postgame celebration, reacting in the way that just about any dad anywhere would react if his son helped win a playoff game. –

In bad dad news, legendary magazine Sports Illustrated is officially falling apart. While it’s not shutting down yet, it was sold again, and then saw its staff get ruthlessly cut in half by a media company no one has ever heard of. The magazine featured the very best when it came to sports writing and chronicling the world of sports, and it’s a sad day to see the icon fully hit a decline. I think everyone’s dad was legally obligated to subscribe to Sports Illustrated, even if some were only in it for the Swimsuit issues.

The craziest highlight of the week, a week that features the return of the NHL, the prime part of football season, and playoff baseball, comes from girls basketball, naturally. I have attempted this shot in pickup games many times, and I have never been remotely close to this result.