“My mother sent me a box of pictures from my childhood and included was the note I wrote my father the night he left. I was nine, and I can still remember him telling my mother he’d been having an affair. He packed some things as my mother cried in another room.
As he put his boots on to leave, I handed it to him. I remember feeling pretty confident that I’d be able to change his mind, but of course it didn’t work. He read it. Then he let out a forced breath, and then tossed the note onto the kitchen table. He didn’t say anything. He just finished putting on his boots, slung the duffle bag over his shoulder, and left.
It’s funny, in that moment I felt like I’d done something wrong. Like my note failed to keep my parents together. But when I saw it mixed in with those photos 28 years later, I felt anger, and I’ll tell you why.
After he left, he was in and out of my life until he died 10 years later from drug addiction. The most consist relationship we had was when he was in jail. I always knew where to find him then. But I don’t think I fully realized what we’d missed until I became a father myself.
That night he not only walked out on my mother, but he also walked out on years of bedtime stories, family movie nights, parent teacher conference, warm hugs, vacations, arguments over homework, Christmas mornings, camping trips, playing catch, and every other heartwarming, frustrating, and rewarding part of being a father.
I can remember him saying ‘you’ll understand someday. ‘He said that a lot. And he was right. It’s only now that I know exactly what he and I lost.
Divorce happens, but that fatherhood gig never stops. The moment I saw that note, a realization hit me in a hot angry wave. I finally understood how much I lost the night my father left, and I don’t know if I’ve ever felt more committed to my role as a father than I do right now.”
– Clint Edwards, Author of Silence is a Scary Sound [amazon.com/Silence-Scary-Sound-Stories-Terrible/dp/1624148530/]
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Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.
Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack recently played hometown Santa when he paid off all the layaway items at a Walmart in Florida. Hundreds of families will have a happier Christmas as the Pro Bowler’s gift totaled nearly $80,000. The store tweeted about the heartwarming gesture.
“We have some wonderful News! If you have an active Holiday Layaway account at your local Ft. Pierce Wal-Mart, your account has been paid off! We here at Walmart would like to thank the Khalil Mack Foundation for your generosity, and for making so many families happy for the holidays!”
The Khalil Mack foundation approached the Walmart with interest in brightening the holidays for the community as a “secret santa”, which, admittedly, lost a lot of its secrecy when the store openly tweeted about it. Still, it’s a baller move to bring some Christmas joy to his community.
Mack, a former defensive player of the year and Pro Bowl regular, is a terrifying presence on the field, as he destroys offensive lines on the reg.
Khalil Mack bulldozed through THREE Giants offensive linemen. 😳
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) November 24, 2019
But it’s his big heart that’s earning him praise now. Mack has always been a big supporter of his community, as just earlier this year he donated cleats to everyone on the football team at his former high school.
Big shout out !!! and thank you 🙏🏿 to Khalil Mack @FiftyDeuce for your continuous love and support for “The West”!! I sincerely Thank you for all you do for us. You are a true example of giving back to your community 💯🙏🏿🐾🐾 pic.twitter.com/HCVLfnCjWb
— Kamari wilson (@Kamariwilson1) June 25, 2019
Tis the season for heartwarming gestures from pro athletes, as this move comes just weeks after one star paid thousands to clear a middle school’s lunch debt.
Keanu Reeves is having a resurgence over the past few years, and his apex is on the horizon, as we finally have a release date for the much-awaited Matrix sequel: May 21, 2021. Oh, and we also have a release date for the next installment of his beloved John Wick franchise and it is…May 21, 2021.
That’s right, the spring weekend will feature an epic Keanu v. Keanu box office showdown. Many have already started to call it “Keanu Day”, as the two mammoth titles will hit theaters at the exact same time.
Keanu Reeves has two films dropping May 21, 2021
• ‘John Wick 4’
• ‘Matrix 4’ pic.twitter.com/bp0qXzuxbg
— Culture Crave 🎥 (@CultureCrave) December 11, 2019
Both John Wick 4 and The Matrix 4 are due to come out on May 21st, 2021. We should just make May 21st Keanu day from here out. pic.twitter.com/p7nGwBopLF
— We Watched A Movie (@WeWatchedAMovie) December 11, 2019
Matrix 4: 5/21/21
John Wick 4: 5/21/21
May 21 is henceforth known as KEANU DAY pic.twitter.com/w2dPpUqwkK
— Complex Pop Culture (@ComplexPop) December 11, 2019
In fairness, Keanu Reeves is the only actor who could compete with a Keanu Reeves opening. And while opening against a huge movie may be seen as a deterrent, it could actually help both films in this case as folks go out of their way to hit both.
It’s not yet clear which film would garner the bigger opening weekend. The Matrix 4 is a sequel to a beloved franchise, and there’s bound to be more than a healthy dose of nostalgia involved. And while some of the enthusiasm for the film may be tempered by the first lackluster sequels (2 and 3 both left fans dissatisfied), it’s hard to see how this could go wrong.
And you can’t sleep on John Wick 4 either, as that franchise doesn’t have any nostalgia factor, but does have a strong ass-kicking factor, one that has propelled it to strong box office openings. Case in point, John Wick 3 was the film that finally knocked Avengers Endgame out of the top spot at the box office.
It is possible that one of the films may change their release date, but for now, maybe block off the entire weekend for one giant Keanu celebration.
Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty” cartoon is sort of like a bizarro Back to the Future based around a degenerate scientist and his idiot grandson as they have existential science-fiction adventures. It’s absurd and brilliant and intensely loved by its fans, so much so that an episode that referenced McDonald’s long-discontinued Szechuan dipping sauce provoked people into doing strange things to try and revive the item.
Now Pringles is releasing a new flavor based on the popular Rick and Morty episode Pickle Rick, in which Rick, the aforementioned degenerate scientist, accidentally transforms himself into a pickle. The episode features the often-drunk, extremely callous grandpa using all of his wits and resourcefulness to escape pickle bondage (in the most violent and grotesque manner possible).
The new flavor will only be available for a limited time, early next year, in a promotional tie in with the Super Bowl.
“We want to do something completely new for the brand for the 2020 Big Game and are thrilled to be partnering with Adult Swim and Rick and Morty, a show which continues to grow in popularity year after year and enjoys a cult fan following,” said Pringles senior director of marketing Gareth Maguire. “We hope the new special edition Pickle Rick flavour will be a hit with the show’s fans.”
I’m sure it will be. Hopefully, it won’t cause riots! Adult Swim seems confident in the partnership.
“We’re very thoughtful about who we partner with around Rick and Morty and we couldn’t be more pleased with our new relationship with Pringles,” said Adult Swim senior vice president for marketing and partnerships Jill King.
“Not only are the Rick and Morty show creators making a hilarious spot for the Big Game, we’re extending this partnership in really exciting ways, all year long. Rick and Morty fans are going to be given amazing new opportunities to illustrate their love for this iconic show, thanks to Pringles.”
It’s a very smart, and very unhinged show, and the actions of some of its more intense fans shouldn’t be held against it.
Nor should the taste of these potato chips, unless Pringles goes all out to make them taste anything like actual Pickle Rick would. Because that’s just nasty.
Welcome to the party, Chicago! The rest of the country won’t be joining you for the rest of their lives.
Sorry. I’m just jealous that I don’t live in the Windy City, because this time of year, my wife drags me around to countless holiday-based activities and events here in NYC. The tree at Rockefeller Center, Santa at Macy’s, the ice rink in Bryant Park, various terrible Christmas-themed pop-up bars and shops. Meanwhile, there’s finally a pop-up bar that I want to go to and it’s halfway across the country!
The Sixth, a bar on 2200 Lawrence Avenue in Chicago, has turned itself into Yippie-Ki-Yay, a Die Hard themed bar complete with Die Hard themed drinks, and it will stay that way until the end of the year. What better place to ring out 2019 than in a rooftop bar covered in broken glass! (I assume that’s the situation, again, I live thousands of miles away.)
According to Block Club Chicago, the bar will be decorated in 80s Christmas style, which means lots of garish gold and glittery decorations, and will be festooned with props and custom artwork related to the greatest action movie of all time.
The cocktails were inspired by events and quotes from the film, focusing on beloved characters like John McClane, Hans Gruber, Sgt. Al Powell, Holly Gennaro McClane, and Argyle the limo driver. And if there isn’t some kind of Twinkie-based dessert, well, we’re gonna need some new bar manager guys.
Here’s the full cocktail list:
If you’ve seen The Ridiculous Six, Jack and Jill, Grown Ups, Bulletproof, The Cobbler, Mixed Nuts, The Do-Over, or Blended – you probably think you’ve seen Adam Sandler at his worst. But don’t test the man.
Love him or hate him, Sandler is one of the biggest comedic movie stars of the past 25 years. The SNL alum has been churning out movies for the better part of 3 decades, and while not everyone is a classic, most of them have been successful. Even his latest Netflix movie, Murder Mystery, allegedly did huge numbers for the streaming service, despite the fact that even his biggest fans probably wouldn’t consider it among his best work.
The fact is, Sandler’s persona has remained largely unchanged for his entire career, even when he – and his audience – grew up, he stayed firmly ensconced in the juvenile man-child space. He was astute enough to shift towards child-friendly stuff like his Grown Ups movies and the Hotel Transylvania franchise, but his best comedic days appear to be behind him. His best dramatic days, however, may still be here.
Over the years he’s given his dramatic chops a-go in a handful of well-received movies, like Punch-Drunk Love, Spanglish, Reign O’er Me, Netflix’s The Meyerowitz Stories, and, this Oscar season, Uncut Gems.
The gritty thriller from the Safdie Brothers may be Sandler’s most intense role yet, and it’s already getting Oscar buzz. So much buzz, in fact, that Sandler is uncharacteristically making the rounds to promote the movie. And, at least half-seriously, making it clear that he would love to get nominated.
In an appearance on The Howard Stern Show on Sirius, he said that getting nominated for Uncut Gems would be “a funny big thing” and that he’d go all-out to campaign for it, i.e., he’d actually attend the ceremony in a tux, instead of a tracksuit. Then he got down to business, threatening Oscar voters, moviegoers, and Netflix subscribers everywhere with some extreme consequences should his role as an over-leveraged, gambling-addicted diamond broker go unnoticed by the Academy.
He told shock jock Stern that if he doesn’t win an Oscar, he’s “going to f—ing come back and do [a movie] that is so bad on purpose just to make you all pay. That’s how I get them.”
Given that many of us regret spending money on Mr. Deeds, back when Sandler was supposedly aspiring to make something worthwhile, the prospect of him intentionally striving to make something terrible should have us all quaking in our boots.
Or at least switching over to Disney+.
It’s hard to introduce a new element to something as rigid as the holiday season and see it really take hold. One tradition that has brought some levity to December: the ugly Christmas sweater.
The ugly sweater phenomena traces its roots to the 1980s and Bill Cosby (yikes), but it’s only within the last decade-plus that ugly Christmas sweaters have earned a prominent place on the fringes of the Holiday Party Season. The craze has resulted in an influx in specialty Christmas sweaters, but you can go too far, which is what Walmart learned when they had to apologize for their sweater featuring (checks notes)…Santa in front of a table of cocaine.
Walmart Yanks Cocaine Santa Sweaters, Apologizes for Selling Them https://t.co/0il8OsSjWB
— TMZ (@TMZ) December 9, 2019
The sweater has an excitable yet crazed Santa is shown in front of a table featuring clear lines of “snow”, along with the expression “Let It Snow”. OK, so, that couuuuld be ambiguous, right? Maybe we all just have sick minds and are jumping to conclusions. Let’s check the product description to find some redeeming counterarguments.
“The best snow comes from South America” ok welp, end of argument. If you need more, there’s this: “santa likes to savor the moment when he gets his hands on some quality, grade A snow from Colombia.” It even goes on to say “he packs it in perfect lines on his coffee table and then takes a big whiff to smell the high quality aroma of the snow.” I mean, all that’s missing is giant font spelling out “YOU KNOW THIS IS COCAINE, RIGHT???”
Walmart apologized for the sweater, and blamed it on a third party seller and that it does not represent “their values.”
Now the government of Columbia is threatening to sue Walmart.
“The Walmart sweater is an offense to the country,” said Camilo Gómez Alzate, director of Colombia’s National Agency for the Legal Defense of the State, according to the Washington Post and El Tiempo. “It generates damage to the legal products of Colombia and damage to the country’s reputation. Although Walmart apologized, the damage was done.”
The agency is asking Walmart to pay monetary damages. If Walmart fails to comply, they plan to file a lawsuit.
Either way, you’ll have to get your cocaine Santa elsewhere now (try Kohl’s).
The best part about Star Wars is that there’s something that most people can appreciate—rich character arcs, badass villains, and otherworldy droids and weapons.
But Chewbacca… Chewbacca is for everyone. Man or woman, young or old, human or otherwise – you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t love that big walking carpet. Even someone as young as 8-months-old can’t keep their cool around him, as shown by a recent viral video.
“Lil Chewie” was visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Disney World Resort, Florida with his grandparents, Rachel and Eric Herrholz, when he finally met his hairy hero. Sporting his own Chewbacca apparel, the little boy was totally tickled while the famed Wookiee co-pilot playfully grunted and poked at him.
“This was Lil Chewie’s first visit with Chewbacca. We dressed him in a Chewbacca outfit, and Eric wore a Han Solo shirt,” said Rachel, regarding her Facebook video, which has since been viewed over 2 million times. “We were not expecting him to react the way he did. Chewbacca came over to get us.
“Next thing I know, I heard him laughing. I looked up and he was belly-laughing. Chewbacca was just as excited. I started to record. I was amazed and I wished his Mom and Dad were with us.”
The adorable interaction took place in the ‘Star Wars Launch Bay,’ an attraction where park-goers experience “immersive exhibits of costumes, models, concept artwork and actual movie props” as well as a meet-and-greet with Chewie himself.
“I am blessed that my grandson can make people smile and bring them happiness in this world we live in,” Rachel added.
I’m pretty sure any world with more Chewbacca in it is going to be happier, overall.