Dad Grades: Jack Torrance – The Shining

(Warner Bros.)

This week in Dad Grades, we take a closer look at Jack Torrance, the axe-wielding patriarch in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining.

As the films opens, we see Jack (skillfully brought to life by Jack Nicholson) as he’s driving his family to the Overlook Hotel. An impressive feat in and of itself, considering Jack was still three decades away from an iPad he could shove in his son Danny’s face for the duration of the trip.

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One can only assume that, had there been a second kid in the backseat, Jack may have snapped almost immediately, veering the family Volkswagen off the side of the mountain and effectively ending the movie with a total runtime of four minutes.

More observant viewers will notice that Danny is not wearing a seatbelt in this scene. Despite the good example Jack is setting, his is textbook child endangerment.

They arrive at the Overlook Hotel and settle in. One month later, Jack endures a wholly occupying case of writer’s block as Danny leaves his toys everywhere.

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Some film historians speculate that, in the original script, Jack was supposed to step on one of these toy cars while barefoot, bringing us right to the moment where he decides to start swinging a firefighter’s axe at everybody.

True King-heads, however, know the real inciting incident that drove Jack to madness was this:

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A toy bus in the arch of your shoeless foot is one thing. Lipstick on the door is another. Danny doesn’t even attempt to soften the brunt of his inevitable punishment by drawing something cool. No. Instead, he just ruins his tired mom’s evening, who wakes up and begins screaming for one of two reasons: 1) it was some $90 Sephora lipstick, or 2) her child is exhibiting signs of severe dyslexia. Nobody knows for sure.

At this point, Jack begins chasing his family with an axe. This collection of scenes brings light to Jack’s biggest flaw as patriarch of the Torrances: the inability to respect bathroom privacy.

(Warner Bros.)

Among Jack Torrance’s long list of fatherly foibles, this one is the most irritating. The bathroom should be a space of tranquility and reflection. Jack does not seem to understand this, as he determinedly hacks open the bathroom with his axe, pokes his manic face in, and delivers the film’s most iconic line:

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Unbelievably rude.

Jack eventually falls victim to the bitter cold and freezes to death in a hedge maze.

(Warner Bros.)

At the end of the day, Jack Torrance is an adequate dad. Not all dads make the time to take their families on road trips to haunted hotels built on Native American burial ground. Jack Torrance did. He obviously needs improvement in terms of disciplinary skills, though. Remember, no woodchopping implement is quite as effective as being grounded for a weekend in their room with no TV or video games. Don’t ground them for too long though. Prolonged isolation can drive someone mad. I saw it in a movie once –  I forget the title.

Some people will probably say, “I strongly disagree, Vernon. When it comes to fatherhood, I think Jack Torrance is quite clearly a novice.”

And to those people I say: the word you’re thinking of is novelist.

Jack Torrance is a novelist. Idiot.

Jack Torrance’s Dad Grade: B-

Son Surprises Ailing Dad With Tickets To College World Series

Father’s Day is a special time to celebrate your old man, and show him how much you appreciate the role he’s played in your life all these years. Especially since, as we get older, our dads do too, and they may not have many Father’s Days left.

Matt Lea recognized that this Father’s Day, and so went out of his way to make it a memorable one, for both him and his father, both former college baseball players who bonded over the game as Matt was growing up.

Matt’s father Billy suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease, and the symptoms have been accruing rapidly. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for more memories, and Matt used the latest Father’s Day as an opportunity to do just that. The 36-year-old drove 12 hours, from Florida to Mississippi, and surprised his parents at their doorstep on Sunday.

He was bearing gifts as well, bringing his dad the jersey of his favorite baseball team, Mississippi State. But that wasn’t all. Matt brought tickets too, to see the College World Series in Omaha in person.

In video of the exchange that Matt posted on Twitter, his dad was clearly taken by surprise.

“I figured it’s probably not good enough just for us to watch the game here,” Matt says in the video as he produces the tickets. “How about we go to Omaha? Do you want to go up to Omaha and watch the College World Series together?”

“Golly,” an emotional Billy responds. “You’re gonna break my heart, here.”

Matt’s gift for his dad received a rapturous response from Twitter, where it’s been liked 46,000 times and retweeted 11,000 times.

Matt seemed as surprised by the response as his dad was by the gift, as everyone who celebrated Father’s Day yesterday knows, there’s nothing better than sharing meaningful memories with your dad, which is exactly what Matt did. An article on Omaha.com details Billy’s baseball past, the initial diagnosis of his Alzheimer’s, the VIP experience Matt treated him too over the weekend.

Matt’s Twitter account showcased the rest.

Happy Father’s Day!

Amazing Street Artist Uses Everyday Objects As His Canvas

(Twitter/tombobnyc)

Artist Tom Bob doesn’t see the world like other people. Where you and I might see sewer grates or metal pipes, he sees ghosts and saxophone players.

Check out some of the amazing ways he’s transforming parts of New York City into works of art.

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Check out more of Tom Bob and his unique artwork here.

Father Figures: Heroes

“On February 2, 2011, my daughter was born. The whole thing started pretty normally about 2:30 am or so, my wife woke me up and said, ‘Honey, it is time to go,’ so we went to the hospital in a snowstorm.

That was the easy part.

When they put the belly monitor on her they noticed that the babies heart rate would drop to low whenever my wife would have a contraction. She needed emergency C-section, but the doctor could not make it due to the storm, and when he finally arrived it was rush rush rush!
Well when my daughter Emily did arrive, she had internal bleeding throughout her body, which included two grade 4 brain bleeds. We could not touch her because she would bruise and start bleeding.
They had to life-flight her to the university, where she spent 5 1/2 weeks in the NICU, which left her (you may want to sit down) deaf/blind, with hydrocephalus, a shunt, cerebral palsy, and seizures (at age 6, she needed a baclofen pump because her CP got too bad to handle without it). She is doing great today. She is happy, loves life, and everyone who meets her says that she makes their day and she is beautiful.
To pay back our little community, I became a first responder, mostly a firefighter, but I did help with EMS. Never got my certification, but that is where I found out that in the U.S. we do not have any training for first responders to deal with children with special needs.
I have made it my personal mission to teach first responders about kids with special needs.
I have taken to Emily to every EMS/Fire station in the five counties around me. I have taken her to the police and sheriff’s departments to train them, and now I have a waiting list to get trained.
I don’t know if I am the hero here, but I needed to tell the story.”

– Mike Kuyper

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email fatherfigures@thedad.com

Low Cost Cosplay Guy Makes The World A Better Place

(Facebook/Lowcostcosplay)

Anucha “Cha” Saengchart, the genius behind “Low Cost Cosplay,” has amassed millions of followers with his incredible reimaginings of famous fictional characters.

Whether you’re planning on portraying your favorite anime character or a Marvel superhero, this guy can show you how to do it effectively and on a string budget.

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Can’t get enough? Check out more creative cosplay on his Facebook page.

Dad Turns Photos Of Daughter Into Kickass Album Covers

(Instagram/rfosterdesign)

When graphic designer Ryan Foster spotted a somber, black and white photo of his daughter, Harper Lou, it instantly reminded him of a blues album cover. He couldn’t help but throw some graphics onto the image to create her first “album” cover himself.

This has led to a series of album covers featuring Harper Lou, many of which look pretty damn legit. She may not be making actual records yet, but her dad will definitely be ready when she does.

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You can find more awesome album covers as well as other design projects by Ryan on his Instagram.

The 5 Hottest Father’s Day Tech Gifts Your Dad Will Ask To See The Receipt For

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Mother’s Day is in the rearview and our annual celebration of everything Dad is fast approaching. Sure, he loved those grilling tongs and Three Stooges boxsets you got him last year. But if there’s one things all dads love, it’s being assured that they’ve genetically passed on their cheapness. Here are 5 Father’s Day gadgets your dad is definitely going to demand the receipt for.

1. A smart speaker

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Source: Amazon

These have become relatively expensive in recent years. This, of course, isn’t going to stop your dad from assuming it set you back several thousand dollars. Your dad just figured out how to make a Facebook profile. He’s gonna need a minute on talking AI servants.

2. A streaming stick

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Source: Roku

“So yeah, you just plug this Roku stick into the TV and you can pretty much watch anything you want.” That’s you. That’s you telling your dad you just spent a boatload of money on a piece of technology. “Instant access to every movie ever made” is your dad’s cue to ask you to retrieve the Best Buy receipt crammed in the console’s cupholder.

3. A dashcam

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Source: Amazon

These are great to have in the event of an accident. Unfortunately, your dad is still under the impression it’s 1999 and all digital cameras cost ten million dollars. Be sure to keep this receipt in your wallet, because this thing’s going right back to the store if it ran you how much he thinks it ran you.

4. An e-reader

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Source: Amazon

What a lovely thought. Your dad, sitting up in bed, every book he could possibly want at his fingertips. What will he read first? A book about World War II? The biography of Henry Ford? The answer is, of course, the receipt for this fancy reading tablet that probably set you back three mortgage payments.

5. A yearly-subscription to a music streaming service

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Source: Spotify

You just want him to be able to listen to the Doobie Brothers whenever he wants. But by his math, if buying a single song on iTunes costs $1, and Spotifly, as he calls it, gives you access to over four million songs, you’ve essentially just bankrupted your family. Good job. Be sure to keep that receipt handy to prove to him that he can still see his grandkids attend college one day.