Dad and Daughter Graduate Fire Academy Together

In the #GirlDad era, there’s a refreshing amount of dad/daughter bonding. But a dad and his kid both graduating from a Texas  fire academy together? That is something you don’t see every day.

Billy Thompson and his 19-year-old daughter Alexis spent 16 weeks studying and spending Saturdays at boot camp to become the first father/daughter team to graduate in the same Hill College class. “It’s been fun going through it together because we had each other for support and helping out,” Billy said.

While he always wanted to be in some aspect of fire fighting, Billy could never fit training into his busy schedule. It wasn’t until his daughter showed interest that he was inspired to find a program they could both complete while continuing to work. Once the duo committed to the training, they began conditioning work together to prepare for Saturdays running through training exercises while loaded down with equipment.

Alexis has a passion for being a first responder. “I wanted to do something to make a difference. It was just a question of military, firefighting, or being an EMT.”

Billy, on the other hand, had even more obstacles to overcome. “We knew we were going to be running upstairs, toting gear and wearing tanks, going through the Burn House…For me, I wanted to make really sure because I knew I was going to be going up against a bunch of younger kids.”

As a dad, Billy will always be worried about his daughter pursuing a career as a first-responder, but that he’s confident in her ability. “She’s my daughter after all so I think about that definitely…but she never struggled with any part of the class,” he said. “Everything’s based on teamwork and looking out for each other, so that makes me feel better.”

A Lunchables Shortage May Be Coming to a Store Near You

We do not want to freak anyone out, but it appears there is a Lunchable shortage hitting grocery stores around the nation. When it comes to packing a school lunch, especially if you have a picky eater, Lunchables feel like a cheat code. It’s an easy way to check a meal (sort of liberal use of the word meal but you get it) off the list and get the kids off to school during a hectic morning. But that’s not so easy, now that some customers can’t find inventory in the aisles.

Anecdotal reports of shortages are seen any time the brand posts anything on social media. The posts, however innocuous in nature, are soon flooded with comments from angry parents about how they can’t find the product anywhere (which, if you’re going to have some anger, this is the kind you want as a brand).


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Some blame the supply chain hiccups, which have thrown holiday shopping into disarray for a second straight season, have impacted car sales and made the wait time for new furniture around six to 96 months. And surely there’s something to that. But a spokesman for Kraft Heinz says it’s much more than that. It’s that a ton of people want Lunchables these days.

In a statement to NBC, they said:

“Compared to 2019, nearly 2 million more households bought Kraft Heinz brands in the second quarter of 2021. We are also seeing all-time high demand for many of our brands, including Lunchables, which in that case has been driven by proactive steps and investments in marketing and brand renovation that deliver on expectations of modern parents and kids. As such, Lunchables is seeing double-digit growth for the first time in 5 years.

“We’re actively investing in our supply chains and have teams working fast and furiously so our retailers and consumers can get more of the Kraft Heinz products they love, wherever they like to shop,” said the statement.

So if this hasn’t hit your hometown yet, consider yourself lucky. After a year plus when parents have had to do more at-home cooking than we’d like, the idea of losing that Lunchables get-out-of-packing-free card is just one more inconvenience.

You Can Get the Super Rare Mew Pokemon Oreo for a Measly $100,000

Pokemon hunters are next-level collectors. We’ve seen that in many iterations, starting with cards, obviously, and later with the mobile game. And now that fervor has even spread into cookies. Oreo and Pokemon launched a collab last month, allowing fans to get their hands on the specialty Oreos with 16 different Pokemon character designs.

This really feeds into the collector’s mindset, because they are randomized. You don’t get all 16 in each pack. So Pokemon fans have been out in full force in local grocery stores, trying to get their hands on some of the rarer characters.

And the hardest to get? That would be Mew. But if you *really* want one, it’s not that hard to get. You can just go to eBay and walk away with a rare Mew Pokemon Oreo for a cool $100k.

Yep, $100,000 for a COOKIE. That is an insane amount of money for something a toddler could eat in a fit of hunger.

Of course, it all comes down to condition. You can get a less-than-stellar Mew for $100. Some pristine listings even come in at a much more reasonable $1,000, with the mint-condition Mews going for around $25,000. But, if you want the very premium version of the psychic Pokemon, you gotta shell out that six figures.

What’s crazy is seeing where this ends up. Cookies are still on the shelves of stores, but this is a limited edition run. What happens sixth months from now when you can’t buy packages anymore? How much will a Pikachu or Charmander run you then? How much will an unopened package run? And how many kids colleges could you pay for if you happened to snag a Mew, the type of cookie that will age more appreciably than any other financial asset you own.

Marvel Is Scrambling To Retain Control of Avengers Characters

Remember a few years ago, when it looked like the deal Marvel had made with Sony to use Spider-man in the MCU was gonna fall apart before the new Spidey trilogy, and the Infinity Saga, could wrap up? Thankfully, the two companies were able to come to terms to keep Spidey around, and this winter, the web-slinger’s highly-anticipated third movie will be a key component in the multiverse storyline that is picking up steam. Unless a new, even bigger, rights issue derails the whole thing.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Marvel is currently working behind the scenes to ensure that they don’t lose full rights to, well, pretty much every Avenger in their stable. They are suing the heirs of the people who created these characters, including Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Gene Colan, who want to retain some ownership of their creations.

This news comes on the heels of the Ditko estate filing a notification of termination for Spider-Man, which they are allowed to do since the set period of time provided by copyright law has passed. If the Ditko estate is successful, Marvel would have to relinquish the rights to Spider-Man – and the attendant billions of dollars associated with the beloved superhero – in 2023. So unless Tom Holland’s put-upon super teen perishes in December’s No Way Home, Marvel better hope they find a solution.

Spidey isn’t the only character facing termination (former Marvel writer Larry Lieber filed a suit of his own in May) that could impact fan favorites and franchise centerpieces Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Falcon, Thor, and more. The lawyer representing the heirs going against Marvel/Disney has been down this road before, having represented Jerry Sigel and Joe Shuster when they tried to get Superman back from DC. It didn’t work out (though neither have the recent Superman movies, tbh).

The Hollywood Reporter gets really in-depth about the challenges Marvel is facing, and how they plan to fight back in court (likely by using the “Marvel Method,” which claims that the atmosphere was one of loose collaboration and ownership wasn’t so cut and dry). The bottom line is, Marvel stands to lose a lot of money, and future MCU projects could be in real jeopardy if this doesn’t get resolved soon.

Hopefully, it will be, and hopefully, that resolution won’t come at the expense of some of the best and most influential comic book creators of all time.

90-Yr-Old William Shatner to Boldly Go to Space With Jeff Bezos

In the 60s, he boldly went where no man had gone before. Now, when he’s well past his 60s, he’s finally going to get his chance, sort of.

I don’t know if I’d call it the new space race, but over the past few years, the world’s billionaires have taken it upon themselves to extend our forays into outer space. Elon Musk is building ships, Richard Branson is hosting flights, and over the summer, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos flew into space (did that count?) with a few other civilians. Now Bezos plans to go back – this time, with some experienced backup: legendary spaceship captain William Tiberius Kirk – aka William Shatner.

The flight, which will last 15 minutes, and all the preparation for it, is part of a documentary that has yet to find a buyer. Perhaps the participation of one of pop culture’s most famous spacemen will speed up the process, or else the fact that, at 90, Shatner will be the oldest person to ever fly into space.

Shatner has been angling for something like this for a while now, even cheekily tweeting to NASA.

And last summer, at San Diego’s Comic-Con, he hinted that a private spaceflight might be in the cards, saying “There’s a possibility that I’m going to go up for a brief moment and come back down,” Shatner said during a panel about on NASA’s Artemis program that aims to put people on the moon in 2024.

It seems Bezos has found room for the actor, writer, singer on his next trip, scheduled for October. Hopefully, they’re saving some room for the ride home, because if anyone is going to find extraterrestrial life, it’s Captain Kirk himself.

At the very least, he’ll find some green alien women!

First Official Image Revealed for HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ Series

I have never been so hyped to see the backs of two people before.

In celebration of “The Last of Us Day” yesterday, developer Naughty Dog officially revealed the first look at the highly anticipated The Last of Us HBO series that is currently in production.

It’s not much, but it’s one hell of a teaser and definitely captures the feel of the games.  Joel and Ellie (Pedro Pascal & Bella Ramsey) look extremely accurate to their video game counterparts, and some of the comments on the Twitter post even mentioned that they thought it was a screenshot from the game.  I just want to see them in action fighting off Infected like Clickers and Bloaters.  With each episode costing around $10 million to make, the special effects should be top notch.  Along with that massive budget, Craig Mazin, who was behind the excellent ‘Chernobyl’ mini-series on HBO is acting as showrunner.  If he can commit to the source material as faithful as the characters look, I think fans are going to be in for quite the horrific treat.

Unfortunately, there’s still no word on a release date or when we’ll get the first trailer, so we’ll just have to keep patiently waiting.  News surrounding The Last of Us HBO series has, for the most part, been coming from the cast.  Gabriel Luna, who will play Joel’s brother Tommy in the series, showed off some behind-the-scenes photos when production began, but nothing official has been shared, that is until now.  I’ve got high hopes that HBO can pull this one-off.

The NFL’s Taunting Penalty Is Garbage and That’s One Thing We Can All Agree On

We live in divisive times so it’s nice when something can bring us ALL together and the NFL’s enforcement of the taunting penalty is one great example. It is universally hated, loathed, and despised, largely because it’s a completely trash rule.

A caveat. As a parenting media company, we would be remiss not to take this opportunity to mention you should never yell at someone officiating a youth sporting event. The refs are often kids too and are also learning their craft.

However, professional sports are a different beast. These are adults making a living playing a game, and adults being paid handsomely to officiate some basic rules. There’s been a weird shift over the past few years where refs think fans all attend the games to watch them, and they are not shy about inserting themselves into every other play.

The rash of taunting penalties through the first few weeks of NFL play is atrocious. Even baseball has started to ease up on some of their archaic opinions about “sportsmanship” and other things 80-year-olds complain about. You know your sport is in bad shape when your lag behind Major League Baseball’s procedures.

It is amusing that the NFL has made policing taunting their chief priority, especially during a time when everyone has gotten reaaaal quiet about CTE and concussions. But yeah, a guy celebrating a cool sack is what we need to crack down on.

It’s a game, it’s entertainment, let the players celebrate. Fans DO NOT CARE. But it is the biggest of buzzkills to see a huge momentum shift when an NFL ref throws a flag because of feelings.

The NFL has gotten more lenient with end zone celebrations, and it’s time to apply that to all parts of the game and keep their flags clean for the dozens of other infractions that will inevitably be whistled.

Christy Joe: The Epitome of Strength

“This is my dad, Christy Joe.

Growing up, he was an underwater pipeline welder and the epitome of strength. My all-time greatest hero, and coolest man to ever live.

No joke. The man lost his thumb for a few hours and didn’t even cry.

He made sure my siblings and I knew the difference between every single tool in your tool box, and that you should always have a toolbox.

Unfortunately, he lost his battle to cancer a few years ago, and not a day goes by that I don’t think ‘what would my dad do?’

He raised me to be so self-sufficient, but at 28 years old, I catch myself longing to hop on the phone to give him a call and ask him how to fix a leak. His legacy will live on through my daughter, who I named after him: Joey Christy.

The countless ‘pull-my-fingers’ and sweet ass hairdo’s will never be forgotten.”

– Angie McPhee

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Scientists To Bring Woolly Mammoth Back From Extinction

It’s 2021 so it’s about dang time we got our first company focused on species de-extinction. Colossal, a new company of scientists and entrepreneurs (can’t have companies without ‘em) has announced their goal to bring species back from extinction using gene editing, and they are starting with the woolly mammoth. The creature went extinct 10,000 years ago, but the bioscientists and geneticists behind the new company think they can bring it back….sort of.

“This is a major milestone for us,” George Church told The New York Times. Church is a biologist and one of the company founders. “It’s going to make all the difference in the world.”

Here’s how it works: Basically the same way it did in Jurassic Park. I mean no, it’s way more complicated than what Mr. DNA could explain in a 5 minute presentation, but the basic principle is the same. Colossal will splice ancient DNA with modern living elephants to rebuild the lost creatures.

So it’s not like a magic spell where a woolly mammoth comes outta nowhere. But, they will have a cold-resistant, elephant-mammoth hybrid that has the basic traits of the woolly mammoth and can inhabit the same ecosystem its ancestor did.

Ultimately, the company thinks they can get thousands of their hairy, tusky cold-weather elephants back onto the frozen tundra of Siberia. The reason for the whole experiment isn’t to just play mad scientist, though. Introducing these animals back into the ecosystem can help reverse certain conditions of climate change, by restoring balance to the ecosystem. Okay, they’re probably a little bit into playing mad scientist, but it’s still about saving the world, not taking it over atop a herd of ancient horned beasts.

There are bigger implications as well. We could bring back species that we thought were gone forever. That’s hugely important as so many current species face extinction and have seen their numbers dwindling over the past centuries. Of course, any time you even open the door to de-extinction, people go straight to dinosaurs. No scientist is bringing up dinos at this point. But, as any dad knows, you gotta crawl before you can walk, so maybe this is just the first step to the de-extinction process, and a decade or two from now we could kick-start our own Jurassic Park.

For now, the scientists at the new company are VERY focused on whether or not they can, and definitely not about whether or not they SHOULD.

After Losing His Gamer Dad, Teen Starts Gaming Nonprofit To Help Sick Children

A high school senior started a nonprofit to play video games with sick kids in honor of his original gaming partner: his dad. Nick Priest inherited his love of video games from his dad, who passed away when Nick was six. That experience led him to found “Nick’s Power of Play,” a nonprofit where he and other volunteers game with kids in hospitals or who are dealing with someone else in their lives battling a serious illness. The goal is to put a smile on the face of someone who needs one and to pay tribute to his dad and the legacy he left behind. Nick wanted to spread the love of video games his dad gave him and connect with other kids who are experiencing what he went through.

Nick says playing video games helped him grow closer to his dad and helped comfort him after his dad’s passing. Even as he lost his gaming partner, people stepped in to make sure he “could still find joy in gaming.” Those people made a difference in Nick’s life and recovery from grief at a young age.

Now, Nick wants to be that person who is there for kids going through their own hard time.

“I would like to help bring happiness to kids who are in very difficult situations,” he wrote. “I believe it could give these children a little hope, just like it did for my father and me. It’s something that I wish that I would have had after my dad passed away, I would have loved to have a teenage boy to play Mario with, that would have been awesome. That’s what I’m trying to provide to these kids. I want to be there for them in the hardest part of their lives, and just try to let them forget about it for a while.”

COVID forced Nick to schedule his play sessions remotely, and now one of his biggest goals now is spreading the word to other hospitals around the country.

“When you hop on with me, or you hop on with a volunteer, it’s not going to be about that at all. It’s going to be, ‘Alright, let’s build this huge house in Minecraft. And we’re going to build a mansion for an hour, to help them forget about it for a little.”