Eyebrow Dance

The Dad Rocket League Community Remembers RJ aka Tartarus: Gamer, Friend, and Dad

Remembering RJ
(Twitch/TheDadGaming)

“Welcome to the club.”

It’s the first message that greets you upon visiting The Dad, a nod of acknowledgment that may seem like little more than a cool tagline – that is, until you realize what being a member of the club actually means. Being a dad is an experience like no other. It’s beautiful and stressful and exciting and exhausting all at once. It comes with challenges that only other dads can understand. Being a member of the club means being surrounded by people like you, and people very unlike you – but with one important thing in common: fatherhood. It doesn’t take long to realize just how deeply members of The Dad community care for each other, and that level of support extends far beyond things strictly related to fatherhood. When a member of our community celebrates, we all celebrate. If one of us needs help, the response is so enormous it’s almost deafening. And when we experience a tragedy, we mourn together.

On October 7, one of our own tragically passed away. RJ Barry was a father, gamer, and a valuable member of The Dad Gaming’s Rocket League community. RJ loved playing Rocket League and Call of Duty, racing 4 wheelers, skateboarding, but most importantly, the 29-year-old loved his friends and family. Particularly, his daughter Vivian.

RJ and Vivian

The loss of RJ hit The Dad’s gaming community hard – RJ had been an active member of The Dad’s Rocket League group since February, participating in weekly Tuesday game nights and befriending dads around the world. RJ was a skilled gamer, regularly making the playoffs and winning tournaments. But more importantly, RJ was a great friend and an amazing dad.

Jon Melo was just one dad who RJ befriended through The Dad’s Rocket League group, as the two dads played regularly on the same team (and somehow, lost regularly on the same team). Of course, the one week the two separated, both made the semi-finals before RJ’s team went on to win the tournament. “We always said we’re going to win it together,” Melo recalled.

“Honestly I can’t say enough about him,” Melo said. “He just was such an easy-going person and always there to listen to you if you needed someone. A lot of dads on here would say he was one loving outgoing fun guy to play with and was always positive.”

But for gamer friends and non-gamer friends of RJ, there was one constant: “That man loves his daughter and he would do anything for her,” Melo concluded.

The loss of RJ left gamer dads near and far both shocked and saddened. But with the enormous grief that came with the RJ’s passing came something beautiful – a community coming together to mourn and celebrate the life of a friend.

A post shared by Garrett Van Ginkel, The Dad Gaming – Rocket League’s admin highlighted the true nature of what it means to be a member of “The Club.” It’s about far more than gaming and memes – it’s about having a place to celebrate life’s wins and grieve life’s losses, and never having to do either alone.

Garrett’s touching post explained how after RJ’s passing, members of the community came together to honor their fallen teammate. Together, the group came up with ideas to honor RJ, who played by the name Tartarus. “We will be holding a 1 minute moment of silence at kick off of the first round of play,” Garrett explained.

“During the moment of silence, each team of 3 loaded in with only 2 players to symbolize that we were all missing a player,” Garrett told The Dad.

And silently, beautifully, the incomplete teams paid their respects.

Moment of silence
(Twitch/TheDadGaming)

“We are permanently retiring Team 21,” Garrett continued. “It was a common team for him to be on due to his rank, and it was the last team he played for in our tournaments. Moving forward, it will be known as Team Tartarus.”

RJ Moment of Silence
(Facebook/Brian Wilson)

Watch the moment of silence:

 

The group even moved their efforts outside the confines of the internet. Garrett explained, “I have set up a PayPal account to take donations for his daughter Vivian and his family. We will be promoting it on stream during the tournament, and have it displayed on the overlays so anyone that tunes in will see it. Once all donations are in, I will personally write a check to his family for the full amount in the PayPal account. The email address to donate is: [email protected]

As dads, we want nothing more than to be there for our kids, to take care of them. In RJ’s memory, the group is collecting money which will go to a trust in Vivian’s name. Though the trust will provide financial assistance to Vivian one day, it represents so much more than money – it’s emblematic of the true nature of being a dad. If there’s a problem, you try to fix it. If you can’t fix it, you do everything you can to help, and you do it with a whole lot of love.

RJ will be forever missed by both his friends and family, but he will always be remembered – and he will always be a member of The Club.

Space Jam 2 “Plot Leak” Takes LeBron on a Looney Trip Into the WB Vaults

Space Jam 2
(Warner Brothers)

The plot from Space Jam 2 has leaked online and it sounds pretty bonkers. Details from the LeBron James led sequel have been pretty sparse, but the plot synopsis was (insert requisite allegedly and supposedly here) leaked online by a screenwriter. And this is not going to be your father’s Space Jam and it’s even wilder than Tony Hawk’s Skate Jam.

We do know a little about the upcoming movie, like the name and accompanying merch, so helpfully modeled by Mr. James himself (a 4-time NBA champion, if you aren’t aware). And now we have a little bit of the plot, and it’s about LeBron as a dad. Here’s the synopsis that was shared on Twitter from Ben Mekler:

“During a trip to the Warner Bros. studio, NBA Superstar LeBron James and his son accidentally get trapped within a world that contains all of Warner Bros.’ stories and characters, under the control of a malfunctioning, all-powerful force named Al G (played by Don Cheadle).

“With the help of Bugs Bunny, LeBron must navigate through a never-before-imagined world filled with iconic movie scenes and characters as they re-assemble the Looney Tunes to rescue his lost son.

“Now to get back home, LeBron and the Loony Tunes must unravel AI G’s mysterious plan and win an epic basketball game against a team of digital gamified super-versions of NBA and WNBA superstars while the whole world watches.”

So…pretty wild, right? There’s a lot of fun potential if you throw in a bunch of random WB universe characters. But the whole “rescue his lost son” thing has a bit of a “Taken” vibe to it. Although just replace angry Liam Neeson doing bad-ass fighting scenes with LeBron James throwing down some alley-oops off passes by Bugs Bunny.

The iconic movie scenes and characters WB-world does seem pretty cool and also hard to imagine. When I first read it, I was kind of hoping the synopsis was fake, since, on the whole, it seems pretty out there. Then again, here’s the synopsis for the original:

“Michael Jordan gets sucked through a golf hole into another world where he teams up with Looney Tunes to beat aliens who stole NBA talent in a basketball game.”

So, in light of that, this is the perfect sequel. And while LeBron is world’s better at acting than Michael Jordan, I’m not sure there’s anyone in this movie who can fill the Bill Murray-sized void, but I guess we’ll find out for sure in 2021.

After Treating Elderly Veteran’s Heat Exhaustion, First Responders Mow His Lawn

Paramedics Mow Lawn After Treating Elderly Veteran for Heat Exhaustion
(Facebook/Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue)

One of life’s greatest joys is a well-manicured lawn, but as you get older, pulling out your trusty mower isn’t always the relaxing activity it used to be. 80-year-old Prince Pinkney, an army veteran from Fort Lauderdale, was mowing his grass on Monday as he’d done countless times in the past. Before he was able to finish the cardinal task, Pinkney started to feel unwell.

After having a stroke several years ago, Pinkney has weakness in one of his legs. When he began feeling ill, Pinkey’s leg buckled underneath him. The elderly veteran fell, and though his wife tried to help him up, he was unable to stand. Fortunately, a passerby noticed the couple struggling in the Florida heat and contacted the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue (FLFR).

Within minutes, help arrived and Pinkney was treated for heat exhaustion. However, the paramedics knew their job wasn’t done. As soon as Pinkney was safe, one of the paramedics grabbed the mower and got to work.

Though their job was technically done once Pinkney was cooled down and out of danger, the FLFR crew wanted to help the elderly man finish his job as well. Plus, Pinkney is a veteran. Not only did they want to thank him for his service, but with the courage and determination it takes to serve your country, it’s entirely possible that Pinkney would have gone right back out to finish the job himself.

Fortunately, someone caught this amazing act of kindness on camera, and The Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue shared the footage on Facebook. The caption read, “Monday morning Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Station 47 was dispatched to a pass out. Upon arrival they found an 80 year old Army veteran suffering from heat exhaustion while working in his yard. They immediately treated the man and cooled him off. Once his medical emergency was over the crew stepped in and finish cutting his grass! This is truly what it is all about.”

The Facebook community was quick to applaud the three paramedics for going above and beyond, expressing pride in the FLFR and the huge amount of good they do for the community. Some comments even offered to contribute to a GoFundMe, so the elderly couple could pay for a lawn mowing service. The FLFR said it best – when communities come together to support each other, that is truly what it’s all about. That, and a freshly-mowed lawn.

Couple Finds Century-Old Bootleg Whiskey in Walls During Home Renovation

Bootlegged Whiskey Found During Reno
(Instagram/bootleggerbungalow)

Being stuck at home for too long always leads to finding more things you want to fix up. With most of the country under some form of quarantine slash social distancing, people have taken to home improvement even more than usual. And that can lead to some fun discoveries, like finding caches of century-old bootlegged whiskey hidden throughout your house. OK, so that scenario is extremely unlikely, but that’s the reality for one couple that started renovating their home.

Nick Drummond and Patrick Bakker moved into an old home that neighbors said was built by a bootlegger. When they finally got to fixing the place up earlier this month, they were in for the surprise of a lifetime; they found old packages of bootlegged whiskey in secret walls and hiding places throughout the house.

Everything pairs better with booze, even, apparently, home improvements. But Bakker and Drummond got a lot more than they bargained for when they started fixing up their old house. Drummond started an Instagram account, “bootleggerbungalow”, to follow the home rehab, without expecting to find the actual proof of the home’s origins.

He told NBC he was removing trim outside when a package fell out of the wall.


“When I saw the edge of another package it hit me, like holy crap, this is bootleg booze,” he said. “The thing is, it wasn’t just one, then it wasn’t just two, it was the entire wall.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

This is too cool! It looks like these all date to the 1920s! #bootleggerbungalow #secretcompartment #hiddentreasures #historicpreservation

A post shared by Nick Drummond (@bootleggerbungalow) on

They’ve found dozens of bottles of the bootleg whiskey so far, dating back to around 1923, during Prohibition in the state. The couple said they want to try at least one bottle of the whiskey and aren’t quite sure what to do with the rest of the discovery. They are contemplating leaving some of the packages there and putting in a glass panel on the floor, so you can see the hidden whiskey.

If you want to learn more about the house, and their quest to learn more about the history of the bootlegger who built it (and what happened to him), you can follow along @bootleggerbungalow@bootleggerbungalow.

Dad Sees How Fast He Can Go on His Treadmill – in a Laundry Basket

Dad Sees How Fast He Can Go On His Treadmill - In a Laundry Basket
(YouTube/Storyful Rights Management)

You know how sometimes you’re doing laundry, and – no. Ok, you know how sometimes you’re working out, and – let’s start over. Brandon Fraher and his family were struck with a very similar sort of boredom that many of us have been facing during the quarantine. The kind of boredom that makes you try to teach your dog Spanish, broadcast play-by-plays of everyday life, or sing about your mysterious butthole. Brandon Fraher found a similarly ridiculous activity to quell his boredom – he got on a treadmill.

I know, I know. “Treadmill” and “fun” are not two words that typically go together, but maybe you’re just not using your treadmill in the right way. You’ve been using it to exercise? You amateur, you absolute fool. The madness of quarantine has driven many TikTokers to find new uses for their treadmills because realistically, it’s way more entertaining than using them for their intended purpose. One such TikTok challenge has people recreating the thrill of running late for a flight (since we have no idea when we’ll get to experience the real deal again), suitcase and all.

@lukasgeorgasmy parents thought I was working out😅 ##comedy ##funny ##memes ##lmao ##funnyvideos ##tiktoktravel ##fyp ##airport ##airportlife ##planes ##missit ##jokes

♬ Crowd – Loud Airport Terminal Sound Effect – Hollywood Sound Effects

Another ridiculous treadmill-related TikTok challenge that has inexplicably gained popularity lately is something called the Mario Kart Challenge. Basically, this challenge lets you play real-life Mario Kart, you know, minus the racing part, and the part with the “?” boxes, and the fun racetracks – aside from that, it’s exactly like Mario Kart. You know, that part of the game where you sit in a laundry basket and fling yourself across the room on a treadmill at various speeds (I think I’ve been playing the wrong Mario Kart)? That’s the part that you get to do if you participate in the Mario Kart challenge.

Well, the boredom got to him, so that’s exactly what Brandon Fraher did. What else do we really have to lose at this point, right? In the video, you see Fraher (thankfully wearing a helmet) sitting in a laundry basket at the top of his treadmill. He proceeds to scoot himself forward, riding the basket until the treadmill dumps him off the other end. It starts off safe, at 1 mile per hour. Then 2 MPH, then 3, all the way up to 9 MPH at which point the treadmill mercilessly launches the poor dad at the cushions he wisely set out, tossing the basket in a completely different direction as his family watches and laughs. Well, that successfully crushed at least 3 solid minutes of boredom. Well done, Brandon, we can only hope there isn’t a Super Smash Bros challenge next.

Bruce Willis Brings Back John McClane… to Promote Batteries

Die Hard John McClane Commercial
(YouTube/)

Nothing is off-limits anymore, especially when it comes to reboots. Every property you ever loved has gotten or is getting a new version, whether it’s a sitcom going drama, or a movie becoming a TV show, or a video game becoming a movie, or an old TV show getting a new TV show, anything goes.

So on Saturday, when Rumer Willis, the daughter of Hollywood megastar Bruce Willis, tweeted a clip showing her father (John McClane) in some kind of ominous situation, preparing to kick ass, and the words, “As one story ends, a new one begins” people got excited. Especially since the clip ended with the hashtag #DieHard is back.

Was it another Die Hard sequel? Maybe even a good one? Was it the long-rumored origin story or another sort of reboot?

Yesterday evening, during football, we learned it was none of those things. It was… a commercial. For AutoZone.

It was a long commercial, and as commercials go, it was pretty huge. There were action sequences, grenades, car chases, and McClane’s familiar quips. For some reason, even Theo – the original Die Hard’s computer hacking bad guy, and Argyle, the original’s limo driver, showed up. All to hawk DieHard batteries for AutoZone.

To be honest, the ad was both a letdown and relief. It was pretty lame to see McClane reduced to celebrity spokesman, but after the debacles that were the last few Die Hard sequels, we probably dodged a bullet.

Father Figures: Role Model

“I grew up without a positive male role model for the majority of my childhood and honestly never even thought about becoming one myself.

But the day after my senior prom, I became a dad. I worked a few factory jobs trying to get by then decided that joining the army would be the best way to provide for my little family.

I went through all of my training and deployed a couple months later. When I came home, it was really the first time I could bond a lot with my daughter. We’ll always be “best freaking friends forever Frankenstein” because of that time.

7 years later, my youngest daughter came along. She had open-heart surgery when she was 4 days old and that was the toughest time any of us had ever been through. Mom stayed the strong rock that we all needed to lean on, and my 7-year-old took on the role of big sister and continued being the funny and sweet girl she’d always been.

It’s been 6 years now. We’re all happy and healthy, my youngest is now the one who wants to be dad’s best friend; she follows me everywhere I go. While my oldest is now 13 and would never let the public know we’re still BFFFF’s, but she’ll still hang out with me – as long as I don’t tell everyone.

No matter how much I do for these girls, I know I couldn’t do it without their mom by my side. We’re one of the rare cases of high school sweethearts who stayed together; it hasn’t always been easy but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Growing up without that male role model didn’t stop me from becoming one. It helped me realize everything I can be for my girls.”

– Donald Gorman

Widowed Dad With Stage 2 Colon Cancer Fosters Only Terminally Ill Children

Widowed dad with cancer fosters terminally ill kids
(YouTube/GoFundMe)

Being seriously ill is one of the scariest things life can throw at you. Between endless visits to a slew of doctors, hospital stays, and the unsettling nature of the unknown, being unwell means relying heavily on your loved ones for support. But what if you’re a terminally ill child in the foster care system, battling a debilitating illness with nobody to rely on for support? For over 20 years, 65-year-old Mohamed Bzeek has made it his mission to give a loving home to terminally ill kids with nowhere else to go – to say that Mohamed Bzeek is a hero feels inadequate.

“The only house that accepts orphans and children who are about to die in Los Angeles is my house. I have dealt with 80 children since 1989. Ten children lost their lives in my arms,” Bzeek told Image.

Losing one child feels like the end of the world, but to lose ten? For many, the idea is unfathomable. But for Mohamed Bzeek, being there to love and support terminally ill children in the foster care system is his purpose. 40 Years ago, Bzeek immigrated to the US from Libya. 25 years ago, he and his late wife realized just how big a difference they could make in the lives of kids who had no one to turn to.

“In 1995, we decided to adopt orphans left at hospitals or taken from their families by the state because of violence and pressure,” Bzeek explained.

After his wife’s passing, Bzeek doubled down on his life-changing work. He provides abandoned terminally-ill children with round-the-clock care, a safe home, and most importantly, unwavering love. At the same time, Bzeek cares for his biological son who was born with dwarfism and a genetic disorder that affects his bones.

In LA, Bzeek works directly with the Department of Child Services, who have come to rely upon him in the most heartbreaking situations. “They tell me when children are about to die and ask if I can adopt them. They know that I do not hesitate to accept. If I don’t, they are sent to hospitals and don’t have a family or house. However, when I take them, they feel a family atmosphere. They feel safe and are loved until the end of their lives.”

When children come into his care without names, he names them. He opens his heart and home, often becoming the first person to show his foster kids what it means to be loved. If Bzeek didn’t take in these terminally-ill children, they would die alone in the hospital. They would’ve lived a far-too-short life, never having experienced a bond with another person.

“I believe each kid has rights to have a family,” Bzeek said in a video for his GoFundMe. “Mom and dad, brother and sisters – and those kids in the system, they have nobody. Seems to be the world has forgotten about them.”

After being diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer, Bzeek saw what it was like to endure hospital visits and treatment with nobody by his side. The fear he felt in those moments only reinforced the importance of his mission. If he was that terrified as a grown man, the fear these children feel must be unimaginable.

As long as Bzeek is healthy enough to care for these children, he will continue to do so. “We’re human being,” Bzeek explains, “and we supposed to help each other.”

Mom Praises Video Games After Teens are Kind to Lonely 10-Yr-Old Fortnite Player

Fortnite
(Epic Games)

If you’re anything like me, your kids are getting a lot of screen time these days. The quarantine has us all scrambling to keep our kids occupied so they don’t drive us crazy, and binge-watching is a pretty good way to kill some time. Even better may be video games, because at least that way kids can practice some problem-solving, hand-eye coordination, and, thanks to today’s technology, even play along and interact with their friends.

Of course, video games still have a stigma, especially among parents who worry their children are melting the brains and taking part in violent activities, even if it’s all virtual.

One mom has a teenage son who is addicted to video games all quarantine, but whatever concerns she may have had about his constant gaming, a recent story she shared on Twitter has made her feel a lot better about it.

She explained that her son and his friends have been competing in various games, and recently decided to take up Fortnite again.

While they were playing, Tiffany’s son and their friends met another player.

They made friends, even though Jam Master was much younger. And then they learned his birthday was coming up. Soon.

His birthday was the next day, and he’d been playing Fornite all by himself the night before.

That didn’t sit right with the teens, so they decided to do something about it.

The next day, Tiffany’s son regaled his mom with his Fortnite exploits. Usually hearing someone recount their video game adventures makes your eyes gloss over, but this story made Tiffany’s eyes well up with tears.

Mom was super proud of the kindness her son and his friends showed that new 11-year-old.

Needless to say, she’s now a huge video game fan.