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, 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.

12-Year-Old Discovers Woolly Mammoth Tooth at Family Reunion

Jackson Hepner with Woolly Mammoth Tooth
(The Inn at Honey Run)

There are few things are less exciting for a 12-year-old than a family reunion. You’re surrounded by your parent’s cousins and other estranged family members you barely know for an entire afternoon. Boorrrrrrrinnnnnnnnng. So you can’t blame Jackson Hepner, who was “taking a break” from pictures at his family reunion in Ohio, for wandering alongside a creek. And he found more than a brief respite from familial chaos — sticking out of the creek bed, Jackson found a woolly mammoth tooth.

It’s not like he a found a “woolly mammoth tooth”, which is just some random rock that a liar of an uncle pretends is legit. He found the real thing, as he had the discovery verified by multiple different university professors who all concluded it appears to be the upper third of a Woolly Mammoth molar.

Granted, when you’re told you’ll be going to a family reunion in Ohio’s Amish Country, you expect you might encounter some ancient history. However, you probably aren’t expecting to find a fossil from a creature that died 10,000 years ago.

Jackson, to his credit, said he wants to get his Woolly Mammoth tooth “back in my hands as soon as possible,” so he can show it to his friends.

Jackson Hepner Woolly Letter
(Facebook/The Inn at Honey Run)

What’s up with kids finding prehistoric teeth lately? Just a few weeks ago a boy found a megalodon shark tooth on the beach.

Should we be worried?!

Mysterious “TV DUDE” Leaves Old TVs on Dozens of Porches

TV Dude Leaves TV on Porch
(YouTube/Inside Edition)

TV dude has struck the Virginia area, again, which is a sentence that makes absolutely no sense but hey, it’s 2019, and this is actually a news story. Surveillance videos from doorbell cameras show a man wearing a TV on his head who calmy drops off old television sets on porches.

“TV dude,” as he was dubbed by Inside Edition, has struck more than 60 houses this summer.

The police think more than one person is involved and say something similar happened in a nearby neighborhood last year. They’re only remotely interested in the case, possibly because no crime is being committed.

No one is quite sure what TV dude is up to. Some assumed nefarious intent, opening the TVs to ensure nothing dangerous was inside. Others see him as a hero and are enjoying their new-to-them TV. Most people are just…confused.

“He’s committed to his trade. He wants to be known as the TV Santa Claus. I don’t know,” said one man, who found an old CRT TV on his doorstep, “I can’t think of any technology or political point that would be valid here. It’s just a senseless prank,” he told WTVR-TV.

Maybe. Or maybe not! Maybe there’s more to this story. The world may never know until TV dude reveals himself, or is apprehended.

The Little League World Series Has Its First Female Player in 5 Years

Maddy Freking Little League World Series

In the 70+ year history of the Little League World Series, only 18 girls have played. The last female to play at this level was star pitcher Mo’ne Davis in 2014 – she was a strikeout machine and is now a college softball pitcher.

Five years later, 12-year-old Maddie Freking has made history as the 19th female. The second-baseman for Coon Rapids-Andover caught SportsCenter’s eye with a heads up double play.

That double play ended up being a huge part of her team’s come from behind win in the regional finals. Afterward, Freking spoke about the reaction people have when they see a girl in the LLWS.

“Some people say, ‘Woah,’” she told the Pioneer Press. “Some think it’s cool, some not so much.”

Freking continues to play awesome and keeps making the highlight reel.

Maddy, we salute you.

Flight Becomes Private Jet for Lucky Passenger but It Never Takes Off

Vincent Peone's Private Jet Experience

Flying can be a chore. No one is exactly sure how early you have to get to their airport anymore, so you either arrive three hours before your flight with nothing to do but wander around an overpriced mall, or you arrive 20 minutes before your flight and have to sprint through security like you’re in a John Hughes movie.

Throw kids or connections into the mix, and it can be hell. The one small joy you hold onto is that no one will sit in the seat next to you, and you can have a reasonable amount of space, a far upgrade from being forced to fit into a seat built for a skeleton. One man got to live the most extreme version of that in a Delta flight last week, as there was no one else seated in his row. Or the row in front of him. Or any of the rows, actually, as he was THE ONLY PASSENGER ON THE PLANE.

The short flight from Aspen to Salt Lake City was rescheduled and, amazingly, New York-based director Vincent Peone was the only passenger. The Delta staff had to pile on sandbags just to help even out the weight.

It’s rare to hear a great flying story these days, and this is right up there. The Delta staff still went through all the motions and announcements for their one passenger, and he thoroughly enjoyed the private plane experience he lucked into.

“It was an altogether very fun experience with a couple of tequila sodas involved when I finally sat down,” he told the Washington Post.

A flight attendant told Peone the airline probably spent $30,000 just to send him to Salt Lake City. Hearing stories like this is important because it’s nice to know it can randomly happen. It’s important to have this aspiration every time you go through security, even if your hopes get viciously dashed the second you get to the gate of your oversold flight.

And then there was a sad update to this story, the plane had mechanical problems and it never took flight:

Kids Open Lemonade Stand to Pay for Dad’s Medical Diagnosis

Jillian and Hunter Garisson
(YouTube/Inside Edition)

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Then you sell that lemonade to raise money to help solve the issue that gave you lemons in the first place. That’s what two kids from Cape Coral are doing to raise money to help their father.

A few weeks ago Hunter (age 12) and his little sister Jillian (age 11) opened a lemonade stand to fund a medical diagnosis for their dad.

Their dad, Virgil, suffers from a spinal fluid leak that was detected earlier this year and was the product of a car accident nearly seven years ago. The leakage leaves Virgil suffering from constant headaches and the family wants a specialist to diagnose and help solve the problem.

“We just wanted to do something good. We want to help dad get better, and if we have to sell a ton of lemonade and be outside all day, we’ll do it,” Hunter told the Cape Coral Breeze.

The siblings, who spent weeks sitting in the hot summer sun selling lemonade, said dozens of cars stop at the busy intersection every day. So far they’ve raised over $6000 selling lemonade and a GoFundMe campaign was created to further assist them.

This definitely seems like the summer of kids opening lemonade stands for great causes and we’re all for it.

Pilot Flies Dad’s Remains Home From Vietnam 52 Years After Seeing Him Off

Bryan Knight Flies Dads Remains Home
(YouTube/Southwest Airlines)

52 years ago, Air Force Col. Roy Knight Jr. left Dallas Love Field Airport to serve in Vietnam. His then five-year-old son Bryan was there to send him off with a wave. Tragically, Col. Knight’s plane was shot down later that year and it wasn’t until 52 years later that his body was recovered.

Then last week, the veteran’s body was brought back to the same airport in Dallas, finally returning from Vietnam. And the person flying home the soldier was none other than his son, now a pilot with Southwest Airlines.

The somber scene of Col. Knight’s return home went viral when a reporter who stumbled on the scene live-tweeted it. The fallen hero was given a proper welcome by both the staff at the airport and from the touching response of people in the airport. And it’s one of the greatest Twitter threads you’ll come across.

For Bryan, an Air Force veteran, bringing his dad’s body home after 52 years was a special moment.

“When I first got the call, it was almost surreal,” he said in a video produced by Southwest Airlines. “Wow, we’re gonna be able to bring him back, and have a place to honor him.”

Hungry 5-Yr-Old Calls 911, Cops Deliver Pizza and Lesson

Sanford Cops Deliver Pizza
(Facebook/Sanford Police Dept)

Calling 911 as a child is a big deal. There are plenty of stories of toddlers making that call for the first time in emergency situations. There are stories of preschoolers making that lifesaving call when a family member is in peril.

This is not one of those stories.

A 5-year-old boy in Florida recently called 911 because he was hungry. And not in a “no one has fed me in days, this is my tragic last resort” way. When the police arrived on the scene, the boy’s 15-year-old sister explained that he was fine and he grabbed the phone without her knowing.

When the police arrived they gave the kid a speech about the seriousness of calling 911. And then they went out and got him a large pizza, according to a Facebook Post by the Sanford Police Department. It’s a pretty cool move, even if it undercuts the lesson a bit.

There’s a lot we can all take away from this, but perhaps the most important is the hashtag the police department tagged the post with:


Or for homework problems, like this boy who got some help with math from a 911 dispatcher.

Pack of Wild Kids Derail Sports Reporter’s Broadcast

Pack of Wild Kids Derail Sports Broadcast

Live TV is unpredictable especially when it comes to sports. You never know when a drunk fan is going to shout at you, you might have to dodge an errant ball, player, or adult stuck in 1997 who wants to scream “Baba Booey!”

Those are all fleeting challenges, though, and nothing like what Colorado TV sports anchor Troy Lynch had to deal with during a report from a minor league baseball game. Just as he started his report when a group of feral children overtook it.

He did his best to carry on through the madness but it was hopeless. A mere 20  seconds in he started yelling that their parents needed to do better, and that’s when things really went downhill.

It really requires multiple viewings, as each new watch helps you find something new and even more joyous to focus on. It’s fun to watch the moment he just completely gives up and embraces the chaos. His tweet also turned into a thread of other TV reporters offering support and sympathizing, or even highlighting their favorite part.

How this happened is no longer important. We must figure out what these Lord of the Flies disciples want and deliver it to them before it’s too late. We can’t save this reporter, but maybe if we act fast enough, we can save the rest of us.

Sadly, Not even a career as a weatherman is safe, there’s always the risk of some kid running into your shot and farting at you.

ESPN PSA Features a 9-Year-Old Announcing His Retirement From Sports

9-Yr-Old is "retiring" PSA

Last week, ESPN made news during SportsCenter when they aired an athlete’s retirement announcement. The athlete was 9-years-old. In his retirement, he cites the pressure put on him at a young age, and that parents and leagues have sapped the fun out of sports.

The “retirement” is a PSA about the decrease in youth participation in sports, and part of ESPN’s new “Don’t Retire, Kid” campaign. The Aspen Sports Institute recently released a report citing statistics that most kids quit playing all sports by age 11 and that the number of kids playing sports between the ages of 6 to 12 is down considerably over the last decade.

While the report lists travel, rising costs and playing only one sport year-round as some of the contributing factors to the decline, along with additional stress from parents and coaches.

Several sports stars are also speaking out about the campaign, as Kobe Bryant stopped by ESPN to talk about how youth coaches can do better.

Baseball great Albert Pujols took to Twitter to advocate giving kids sports ‘back to the kids.’

And women’s basketball star Sue Bird was another voice championing the importance of youth sports.

Kids leaving sports at an early age is a problem, as they don’t usually replace it with another physical activity. Forbes has a deeper look at the campaign and the problem of kids not getting enough exercise.

Cleveland Browns Kick Returner Goes From Homeless to Hero

Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi in Pile Up

Preseason football has never been more forgettable. More than ever, starters are left on the bench and college also-rans get their shot to make the final roster spots. The scores are ridiculous (like the Giants breaking 30 points) and the outcomes meaningless. But one moment in the Cleveland Browns preseason game has captivated the sports world.

It’s one of the coolest stories in football. Kick returner Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi has been out of competitive football for years. He managed to lie his way into a workout with the Browns, where his 40-yard-dash time convinced scouts to give him an actual tryout. The only problem? Sheehy-Guiseppi spent his last dollar getting to the workout, and the actual tryout was a week away.

He wasn’t willing to let go of his dream, so he alternated between sleeping outside (!) and sleeping at a 24-hour fitness center. He wandered neighborhoods, eating one meal a day at whatever sidestreet cookouts he could find. When he finally got his shot, he earned a preseason contract with the Browns. This at least got him three meals a day and a place to sleep while chasing his dream.

On Thursday, he got to return his first kick. And took it straight to the end-zone.

Seriously, go read his entire story, it’s incredible.

Cleveland isn’t supposed to be likable. It’s the Browns. They are a perennial joke. But now they have not only the heartwarming story of the week in sports, but they have an actually compelling roster. A star wideout in OBJ, a very good young running back, a true franchise quarterback for the first time in forever. And speaking of that quarterback, even being at a baseball game didn’t stop him from delivering an elite performance.

Baker wasn’t the only standout at a baseball game this week, as this dad went viral for his incredible one-handed catch while holding his baby.

Houston Texans star JJ Watt broke some kid’s bike. The Houston Texans had a joint practice with the Packers, and Watt got to take part in a longstanding Green Bay tradition of riding a fan’s bike the short distance to the practice field. The Wisconsin native was overjoyed to take part in the fun preseason ritual…until the bike, he picked broke on his ride.

Watt has already hooked the boy up with a brand new bike. And if you’re a star, this is the type of preseason news you want to make. Anything that’s not an injury or a bizarre, helmet-related holdout (we’re looking at you, Antonio Brown).

One of the craziest moments of the week happened in golf. One PGA pro narrowly missed his putt, until a huge gust of wind blew it back into the hole. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prayed for this exact moment to happen during a round of golf and I’m overjoyed someone finally got to experience this miracle.

Baby Shark Song Assists During Rescue of Boy Who Drowned

Baby Shark CPR Rescue
(YouTube/WESH 2 News/Pinkfong!)

Baby Shark is taking over the world. It’s invading cereal bowls. It’s being turned into a TV show for Netflix, with a live stage show to follow. It has taken over baseball stadiums and maternity wards.

There is no escape.

Resistance is futile.

But our Baby Shark world isn’t all bad given the popular kid’s song recently helped save a life!

A 4-year-old at a party wondered off during snack time and fell into the pool. One mom jumped in to rescue the child, brought him up and began CPR while singing ‘Baby Shark.’

She told a Florida news station she had heard the tempo of the song was a perfect match to the necessary frequency of chest compressions.

The mom told the news station she hates the song. But, it did come through when it mattered most.

“I remember singing it out loud, thinking she’s going to think I’m nuts,” she said to WESH 2.

So while it is much reviled, this time, we must give kudos to our Baby Shark overlord.

Two Dads Rushed to the Rescue During Chaotic El Paso Aftermath

Jimmy Villatoro and Ray Garcia

Amid the anguish being felt throughout communities affected by mass shootings are stories of regular citizens who rose up in the moment, often putting themselves in harm’s way, to help someone else.

Two El Paso dads, Jimmy Villatoro, and Ray Garcia, fall into that category, as they were able to race to the scene upon hearing the news and saved dozens of lives. The two said they had friends selling drinks in front of the Wal-Mart to raise money for their youth soccer program, and they heard about the shooting from other parents on the team.

Villatoro, a youth baseball coach, said he was looking all over the parking lot for kids and parents involved with the fundraiser when he heard a group of kids hiding behind a car shouting “Coach!” He realized it was kids from his baseball team and quickly helped them to safety. He then went looking for the parents. Upon finding one of the moms wounded, Villatoro tried to get her help. After being told the ambulances were full, he helped a paramedic get her into a van to get to the hospital.

“Thankfully, God protected us to be able to get them out of the scene,” Villatoro told Good Morning America.

“We didn’t think twice,” Villatoro told Dallas News.

6-Yr-Old Requests Custom “I Will Be Your Friend” Tee for Back-to-School

I'll Be Your Friend Anti-Bullying Shirt
(Facebook/Unfading adornments)

Going back to school can be a nerve-wracking experience for kids. There are new teachers to get used to, new buildings and new routines. And, for younger kids, getting used to dealing with new kids can be the most intimidating part. Which is why one Georgia 6-year-old, who has been bullied before, decided he wanted to make a statement on the first day of school.

His mom told him she’d make him any shirt he wanted to wear on his first day of school, and Blake Rajahn decided on one that simply said: “I will be your friend,” so any shy kid would who needed a friend would know who to go to.

His mom, Nikki, began selling the t-shirt to others after her post went viral, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting a local charity. Blake was just glad to hear more people would have friends because of the shirts. His principal also reportedly wanted to get a photo with Blake in his shirt on Day 1 and when you’re 6, principals are still cool.

As a parent, it’s heartwarming when your kids show a level of compassion beyond their age. It makes you feel like you’re doing something right, even when it likely has almost nothing to do with you (stop trying to be a glory hog, parents!).

I remember when my daughter briefly caught a snippet of a news story talking about a community that needed help after a hurricane. She immediately wanted to go to the store to buy things we could donate, and I’ll never forget that (mainly because it was the day she was no longer allowed to watch the news because I can’t afford to have her organizing a daily crisis response).

Props to Blake, and his big heart.