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.

Fast and Furious 9 Could Be Going to Space

Fast and Furious 9
(Universal)

Fast and Furious 9 could be headed where no Fast movie has been before…outer space. One of the franchise’s stars tried to very coyly tease a major development for the next installment of Fast and Furious movies. Only, it wasn’t as secretive as he thought.

Here’s why the rumor mill is churning with F9 to space stories. Ludacris was doing an interview with SiriusXM when he said the COVID-shutdown in the movie’s filming has allowed the producers to up the ante even more for the highly anticipated blockbuster, allowing it to do something that hasn’t been done before.

The host said the only thing that hasn’t been done would be space, and that she can’t imagine what happens in the next movie.

Ludacris responded by noting she “just said something very important. I will say that you are very intuitive, cause you said something right, but I’m not going to give it away.”


She then yelled that she said space, and he covered his mouth. So…it’s definitely space. Definitely maybe. At least, it’s more fun to think the long-running franchise is yet again going to up the ante.

In the past, the writers haven’t shrugged off space entirely, saying they were open to anything as long as it was ‘cool.’ Which, as a motto, isn’t a bad way to go through life.

Most of the heavy hitters from past films are back, but the real question we all want to know, is Vin Diesel gonna fight John Cena in space?

And until we know 100 percent otherwise, the best answer to operate from is “absolutely.”

Former Football Player Catches Toddler Thrown From Burning Apartment Building

Football Player Catches Baby
(Twitter/ChandranTheMan)

A former college football wide receiver made the biggest catch of his life over the weekend when he dramatically caught a toddler dropped from a burning apartment building.

Phillip Blanks heard the commotion outside the Arizona apartment building and quickly saw the fire. He didn’t even have time to put on his shoes, he just ran into action. He arrived on the scene just in time, to catch a toddler who was dropped from a third-story balcony in an attempt to save his life. Blanks was able to get there just milliseconds before the child would’ve crashed into the gravel below.

“It was all fast, it was a blur,” Blanks told MLive.com. “It was tunnel vision, I didn’t see anything but the baby.”

The video is heartbreaking but shows Blank’s heroics as he caught the falling 3-year-old. The child survived the blaze, as did as an 8-year-old girl as well. Tragically, their mother that helped them escape the blaze did not survive the apartment fire.

Blanks, who is currently a bodyguard, said his background is what helped him jump into action without hesitation. In addition to playing college football as a receiver at a school in California, Blanks served in the Marine Corps.

He told the Washington Post that his training taught him to “always be on high alert.” And he did credit his football skills in an interview with a local TV station.

“I know how to catch,” he said. “I learned how to catch a football. So I’ll give some credit to football.”

Ultimately, though, he deferred any praise, calling the real hero the child’s mother.

“She made the ultimate sacrifice to save her children.”

Supermarket Sweep, King of All Game Shows, Hits Netflix

Supermarket Sweep
(Netflix)

There have been a rash of 90s show revivals recently, and plenty of old classics finding new life on streaming platforms. And then sometimes, a show that had completely moved out of your brain will come out of nowhere and remind you of a simpler time. And that show is Supermarket Sweep, which just landed on Netflix.

Supermarket Sweep is probably the greatest game show ever invented. Purists will argue for Jeopardy, and I’ll grant that its formula is a little more standard and erudite, has a more iconic host, and is (deservedly) the most beloved game show of a generation.

I will even concede that The Price is Right would probably land second in the pantheon, given its longevity, great hosts (Drew Carey is much better than he’s given credit for) and that it’s the ultimate “sick day” show.

But here’s why you can’t sleep on Supermarket Sweep. What it lacks in game show gravitas, it makes up for in utter chaos. The show is bananas, often literally.

If you haven’t seen it, it’s a game show that defines the excess of the 90s. The entire point is to run around the store, throwing as much crap as you can into a cart, and then the team that gets the most expensive order wins. You haven’t truly lived until you’ve seen housewives morph into gladiators when they start tossing 30-pound Thanksgiving turkeys into their cart like they’re marshmallows.

Netflix added 15 eps of the cult classic, along with a random smattering of other throwback TV shows.

And, before the world shut down, there was actually a reboot of Supermarket Sweep in the works, starring SNL’s Leslie Jones as the new era host. So while we may have new Sweeps in the future, it is a glorious jump into a time machine to watch an ep or two of the old Sweep.

The fashion choices alone make it worth the watch. And if you run out of episodes, Amazon Prime has two seasons as well, one from 1991 and one from 2000.

Walmart Is Turning Their Parking Lots Into Drive-In Theaters at 160 Stores

Walmart Drive-in Theaters
(Walmart)

Walmart is a store where you can literally get anything. You can go there and leave with new tires for your car, groceries for the week, new clothes for your toddler, and a goldfish. And that’s without even going in the other half of the store. And now, some Walmart’s are also turning into the place to be for your night’s entertainment.

The superstore chain announced this week they are planning to turn the parking lots of 160 stores into temporary drive-in movie theaters. During this time of social distancing, with actual theaters closed and many families left looking for safe alternatives, drive-in movies are coming back into style.

And so Walmart is going to make the experience easy. They will offer curbside pickup of whatever food/snacks you ordered for the movie experience and will have their parking lots structured for the perfect socially distant family night out.

The store is planning red-carpet events with directors and celebrities and much more.

“This family-friendly night will include hit movies, special appearances from filmmakers and celebrities, and concessions delivered right to customer vehicles,” according to a press release. Walmart will use the nearby physical stores to let people use curbside pickup for treats and food.”

This is starting up in August, but if you want to be the first one to get info as it happens, you can sign up for Walmart’s weekly newsletter. I did not even know Walmart had a weekly newsletter, but I assume it’s pretty coupon heavy (it took me longer than I’m proud to admit to come to that conclusion, rather than my first thought of there just being a newsletter about different things workers were up to that week).

The pop-up events are temporary and should last through October, but for a few nights, you’ll see the store in a whole new way.

A Cardboard Cutout Version of You Can Attend MLB Games

Cardboard Cutout Baseball Fans
(Twitter/darrenrovell)

As the major professional sports start their “training camps” in preparation for a return to action later this month, there’s one thing missing; fans. So far, there has been no official word on fans returning to the stands. The NBA will be playing in front of no one when they resume play at DisneyWorld, and the NFL is still entertaining the idea of limited capacity games versus virtual fans, but when it comes to baseball, plenty is up in the air.

Two teams, though, have made it clear that fans can be in the stands if they’re willing to pony up the $. And, also, if they are willing to accept being there in proxy, via a cardboard cutout of their likeness.

That’s right, the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants are offering fans the chance to have their lifeless representation at home games this season. Which, honestly, sounds pretty cool. The cost to have your cardboard cutout attached to a seat range from $49 to $129. For the most expensive option, there is an added bonus.

If a foul ball hits your face (well, your cardboard face), the team will mail it to you. You can end up with a foul ball without even having to be there. You won’t go viral because you hilariously drop it, and you won’t have to wrestle some drunkard for it. Not a bad deal.

For fans, it’s a cool way to feel connected to your favorite team during this absolutely insane part of human history. Fans will get to collect their cardboard likeness at the end of the season. The money raised from the cutout sales will be going to local charities.

And, if you aren’t going to fill your stands with stuffed animals, this really does seem like the next best option.

Pizza Hut Brings Back ‘BOOK-IT!’ and Now Parents Call the Shots

Pizza Hut / BOOK-IT!
(pizzahut.com)

There was a time, say the mid-1990s, when childhood literacy was being fueled mainly by personal pan pizzas from Pizza Hut. The Book It! program was the gold at the end of the tunnel for many a 2nd-grade reader. Finishing a book was met with the delicious reward of your own pizza, which is the height of luxury to a child.

And now, you can bring the Book It! program back into your life. Sadly, not as an adult, although it would be pretty badass if you could still get some za for reading a Goosebumps book. But, the program is back for kids and is taking a new shape this summer; a digital version where parents keep track of their kids’ progress.

Camp Book It! allows parents to enroll kids in grades K-6 in the summer reading program and set the goals. Unlike the glory days, these pizzas aren’t tied to finishing a book, they are tied to hitting a certain reading goal for the month (usually minutes per week), with the pizza reward coming at the end of the month.

But, in a move that rules, you can now redeem the codes digitally as well, so you don’t even have to risk catching COVID just to cash in that sweet voucher. Kids can ring up one pizza per month, so summer reading has never been more important. Parents get pizza for their kids all the time, it’s about time kids use whatever means available (in this case, through life-enriching reading) to return the favor.

I don’t think it’s asking too much for your pre-teen to kick up a personal pan pizza to you as thanks for the endless support and love you shower them with daily.

More details here.

New PBS Cartoon “Hero Elementary” Features Superhero Kid With Autism

Hero Elementary
(YouTube/SouthCarolinaETV)

Kids have a new group of superheroes on their TV, including a boy on the autism spectrum. The PBS Kids new animated series, “Hero Elementary”, follows a diverse group of superhero students who are learning how to control their special powers.

Autism isn’t frequently depicted on TV shows, and when it is, it’s not normally in a way that feels real (and not overly negative, or a cheap character device). On Hero Elementary, AJ Gadgets is just like the other buddies on his team; just another kid trying to figure it all out.

The show’s creators say they wanted to normalize the idea that all kids are different, and that empathy is important. The other superheroes are aware of AJ’s needs and preferences (one episode is spent searching for his lost backpack) and the creators said it “models how you can, with a few adjustments, adjust to a friend with different needs, whether it’s autism or anything else.”

The creators came from Sesame Street, one of the few kids shows with an openly autistic character.

“We feel like there is so much strength in the idea of portraying a kid on the spectrum as just one of the kids and not making a huge deal about his autism,” said creator Christine Ferraro to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“For the most part, it’s not the focus of attention at all. He’s just one of the gang. And that’s something that we don’t see a lot on television. And that’s why we thought it was really important.”

Representation and inclusion is important for kids, especially when it’s normalized and not seen as “a special episode.”

“Hero Elementary” is geared towards kids between 4-7, so your little ones can check it out on PBS Kids.

NFL’s Solomon Thomas Surprises Dad With a New Tesla

Solomon Thomas Tesla Surprise
(Twitter/SollyThomas90)

A big surprise for a dad who has sacrificed so much for his son. That’s the type of Dad content we’re for: feel-good stories from the world of sports. And that’s what we got from Solomon Thomas, defensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers. His dad had been driving the same car since Solomon, now a hulking professional athlete, was a 4th-grader.

But not anymore. Thomas surprised his dad on Father’s Day with a brand new car. And not just any car, he went top shelf and got his dad a Tesla.

Thomas posted the reaction video to social media, along with documenting his steps along the way, from purchasing the car to driving it back. Thomas comes from a close-knit family, and his dad’s reaction is just priceless.

Solomon said his father was a true role model.

“You will never meet a man with higher integrity, character, and work ethic,” he wrote on Twitter. “Would work out of state but still never miss my games. An honor to give back to my role model.”

An awesome gesture. Now we only hope that all awesome role model dads are honored similarly (hoping my 4-year-old is reading this right now).

COVID-Positive Couple Celebrates 65th Wedding Anniversary in the Hospital

(East Alabama Medical Center)

The virus that’s thrown a giant wrench into everyone’s 2020 has elicited plenty of heartbreak, but it’s also shown that humanity still shines through in tidbits of good news. And the story of Colonel Ollie Herbert Edwards and his wife, Virginia Mitchell Edwards, is one of them.

By now, everyone is likely familiar with the way hospitals work now. Because of COVID fears, hospitals and care facilities are locked down, with most outright restricting any visitors. It has forced families to get creative to stay in touch and to stay connected with a loved one that’s suffering from the ruinous disease.

Family members have tried to keep vigil outside of hospital windows, or have hours-long Facetime sessions to commemorate special occasions. For Ollie and Virginia, though, not even COVID could stop them from celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary.

And that is because both of them were in the hospital with COVID.

Virginia contracted the virus first in early June, and Ollie joined her in the hospital a little more than a week later. And though they are four rooms apart, on the day of their 65th wedding anniversary, some heavily PPE’d nurses wheeled Virginia to Ollie’s room for a special anniversary lunch and chocolate cake.

The hospital “party” had flowers, balloons, decorations, and a card signed by the staff. The Edwardses were joined by their three children and some of their grandkids via Facetime as the two celebrated their wedding anniversary.

The global pandemic may have changed their expectations for an anniversary party, but it couldn’t keep them apart on their special day.

Paul Walker’s Daughter Shares Sweet Selfie With Vin Diesel’s Kids

Meadow Walker with Diesel Kids
(Instagram/meadowwalker)

Paul Walker’s daughter showed the bond between his family and co-star Vin Diesel’s is still strong, as she posted a sweet picture with Diesel’s kids. She left a simple caption, recognizable to all Fast and Furious fans:

“Family, forever”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

family, forever

A post shared by Meadow Walker (@meadowwalker) on

It’s been almost seven years since Paul Walker passed away in a tragic car accident, but the bond between him and co-star Vin Diesel was a real one, as the two became fast friends (I mean, that was just sitting there).

And the bond between their families is also a strong one. Diesel is Meadow Walker’s godfather. And Diesel’s daughter Pauline (now 5) was named after his late friend.

In the pic, Meadow (now 21) shared the shot with the three Diesel children (who range between 5-12).

In the past, Vin Diesel has spoken about how he values his relationship with Meadow and being a part of her life. And he credited Paul Walker for inspiring him to be a better dad.

Meadow was 15 when her dad passed away, but she and the Diesels have kept his memory alive, especially through the special bond between their families.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

happy birthday to the loveliest soul I’ll ever know

A post shared by Meadow Walker (@meadowwalker) on

Sopranos Creator Accidentally Reveals What Really Happened to Tony

What Happened to Tony
(HBO)

The Sopranos was one of the greatest TV shows of all time. The darkly funny drama ushered in the age of the anti-hero, as Tony Soprano paved the way for morally dubious dads like Walter White and Marty Byrde. While fans eagerly await the prequel the series continues to be remembered for its infamously cryptic finale, which was hotly debated by fans for years. Until now. The creator of the series accidentally let it slip what really happened to Tony in the final scene.

In the series finale, which aired in 2007, Tony and his family are eating at a diner while Don’t Stop Believing is playing. The tension builds throughout the scene, as the mob boss in the middle of a mafia turf war keeps scanning the room for threats, until…everything goes black.

Was he whacked? Was it the guy in the Members Only jacket at the bar?? It had to be, right? Or is the fade to black symbolism for what the rest of Tony’s life is going to be like, where he can’t even enjoy a family dinner without being on high alert for danger??? Maybe it’s all a metaphor for something esoteric and pointless (every 10th person has some wild theory like this, and they are obviously trying to stand out by being dumb).

We have an answer now, as Sopranos creator David Chase was doing an interview for a book commemorating the series when he let it slip during an answer to a question the author, TV critic Alan Sepinwall, asked.

Sepinwall: “When you said there was an end point, you don’t mean Tony at Holsten’s [the diner], you just meant, ‘I think I have two more years’ worth of stories left in me.’ ”

Chase: “Yes, I think I had that death scene around two years before the end … But we didn’t do that.”

The author called him out for acknowledging it was a death scene and noticing his mistake, Chase cursed out the authors. So, we finally officially know what we always suspected we knew…Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss, was whacked.

The prequel movie, “The Many Saints of Newark”, is scheduled for a 2021 release.

And, with respect to one of the most compelling TV dads, and to what a great actor James Gandolfini was, here are his most bad-ass moments on the series.

Dad Thanks Kids Who TP’d His House, Offers Tips for Next Time

Dad Thanks Kids for TPing House
(Facebook/jhartanov)

When Jason Hartanov’s daughter sent him a picture of their house after it had been TP’d, she apologized and offered to help him clean it up. He had a different feeling…a giant THANK YOU to the kids responsible.

In a Facebook post that has since gone viral and been shared more than 1,000 times, the dad of four thanked the kids for restoring his hope in the youth. “Thank you for making me smile and reminding me of the best days of my childhood,” he wrote. “Thank you for giving us all a break from the issues in this world and thank you for finding a great use of the excess toilet paper people bought during COVID.”


He also thanked the kids for being kids and embracing that life is short, so we should all have fun. However, he had some pretty steep complaints about their parents.

“This is shoddy TP-ing work,” he wrote. “We should be ashamed. We need to teach out youth about doing things with excellence, and focusing on the details.”

He then gave some advice for the kids who did the job, advising them to use more TP because “the roof has little to no paper, the trees are too bare and you left half-rolls sitting on the ground.”

And, well, wouldn’t you know it, his house got his again later that week. Jason was still a bit unimpressed, so he mocked up a visual to help the perps do better on their next try.

He did say he loved the kids because of “their desire to improve” because they “are doing adventures instead of watching adventures.”

He said he has hope for this generation, but that they need to learn a thing or two from their parents.

“We would have been embarrassed to leave such a clean mess,” he wrote. “More TP. More people. BURY THE HOUSE IN TP! Ask your parents, we took pride in EPIC TP battles.”

Daughter Surprises Stepdad With Every Inspirational Post-It Note He Wrote Her

Post-It Notes Collage
(Twitter/Sophia_Kallie)

If you’re looking for a cool gift for your dad, The Dad Shop never closes. But if you’re looking to put something more sentimental together, inspiration can be found in one of the great all-time Father’s Day gifts

Check out what this daughter in Maryland did. She surprised her stepdad on Father’s Day with a collage of inspirational Post-It notes he had written for her every single day during middle school. She surprised him last year and he begins to tear up once he realizes what he was looking at.

“These are all your notes,” he said. The girl sweetly responded, “I kept them all. I love you.”

She posted the video on Twitter, where it rightly and justly went viral. Of course, it also sets the bar pretty dang high for everyone else. More than six million viewed the Father’s Day reveal.

So, while there’s still time, just scurry together some sort of emotional, DIY gift encompassing an ongoing supportive ritual and involves a half-decade of record-keeping, and you should be good to go. Your dad will love it, the internet will love it, and you will be left wondering how you’ll ever top it.

Or, we can always bail you out.