Father Figures: Fighter

“My brother has been battling ulcerative colitis for several years now. This awful disease took a heavy toll on his body and had him hospitalized many times.

Two years ago, he and his wonderful wife, Alana, welcomed my nephew Avery into the world.

Although Mike was continuously fighting against this disease, he never missed a beat in being the best Dad to Avery. He tried every option available to get better so that he could be even more present for his son. He has completed two of three surgeries and I am ecstatic to say that things are really turning around for him.

Avery has been the reason that Mike has kept a smile on his face through it all. Even through all of the pain and days on end in the hospital, he has been the best Dad and his bond with Avery has been getting stronger by the minute.

In December, I saw my brother bounce back from his most recent surgery with Avery’s hand in his. This weekend, my brother acted as emcee at my wedding and was beaming with pride as his son stood by his side and acted as our ring bearer.

Mike was already a fighter, but fatherhood has made him into the most incredible version of himself that I ever could have imagined.”

– Jenn Carter

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

Sister Creates Disney at Home After Little Brother’s Trip Was Canceled by COVID

Sister's at home disney experience
(The Dad Break)

In the grand scheme of what COVID-19 has done to our country, a missed vacation may not seem like a big deal. But to an 8-year-old desperately looking forward to a trip to DisneyWorld, it’s everything. And his older sister was determined to give him that trip, even if it meant making it happen without leaving the house.

10-year-old Ella’s goal was to give her little brother with Down syndrome the best at-home Disney trip possible, even if it meant the rides would be virtual. Other families have done the at-home Disney thing on a smaller scale during the pandemic, but none quite as well as Ella pulled it off. Her mom told Good Morning America she spent six weeks planning it for him, and included four ride experiences, an ice cream cart with Mickey Bars, and even nailed the perfect background music.

As you can see in the video, shared by The Dad, he had an awesome time. It’s the type of heartwarming gesture you hope to see in your own kids someday.

It’s just the best. That’s all you can really say about it. The type of thing that restores your faith in humanity, and the type of content that makes you feel a little bit better about how people are taking care of the loved ones in their world.

Father Figures: All of the Things

“This my dad. He has done such a good job raising me and my brother as a single Dad.

He put my hair up in a ponytail when I was little; he found a pad for me when I got my first period – when we were in an airport! (after that he made sure to pack pads in first aid kits just in case); he took me to get my eyebrows done for the first time when my eyebrows were getting really bushy with puberty…

He did all of the things!

He worked late into the nights so he could be around to coach my high school softball team, and he was so proud when I graduated from Notre Dame, where he went to school.

He is the best and I love him so much.”

– Rachel Twist

Daniel Kaluuya From ‘Get Out’ Wants to Make a Dark Barney Movie

Dark Barney
(Getty/Samir Hussein/New York Post Archives)

It’s Halloween season, which, in my house, means Spooktober season, which means we watch almost nothing but scary movies all month long.

Recently, a list came out in which a website used a scientific approach to rank scary movies, ranking their effectiveness by way of measuring the elevated heart rates they produce in audiences. There were a lot of recent movies, a handful of classics, and a few wildcards.

They may have to redo the list in a few years after Daniel Kaluuya’s “dark Barney” movie is released.

That’s right, the star of ‘Get Out’ is hellbent on making a live-action movie about Barney the lovable, once-ubiquitous, always obnoxious purple dinosaur and his terrible theme song. But Daniel Kaluuya isn’t just making a kids movie version of the children’s TV staple, he plans to make it darker.

In a recent interview with EW to promote his forthcoming movie about Fred Hampton and the Black Panthers, Kaluuya explained why he wants to make a Barney movie, and where he plans to take it.

“Barney taught us, ‘I love you, you love me. Won’t you say you love me too?’ That’s one of the first songs I remember, and what happens when that isn’t true?” Kaluuya said. “I thought that was really heartbreaking. I have no idea why but it feels like that makes sense. It feels like there’s something unexpected that can be poignant but optimistic. Especially at this time now, I think that’s really, really needed.”

Okay, so maybe it won’t be a straight-up horror movie (although any grown adult who’s seen Barney on TV might say he’s already a terrifying monster), but it definitely sounds like Kaluuya wants to explore something beyond the dinosaur’s insipid jingle and cloying kindness.

Whether that means we’re getting a drama about the death of childhood, a gritty, R-rated take on the challenges of being the man inside the suit, or some kind of horror flick in which the dinosaur comes to life and terrorizes children and adults alike is yet to be seen.

Either way, this thing needs to come out around Halloween!

Science Ranks the Scariest Movies of All Time

Science of Scare
(broadbandchoices.co.uk)

The month of October is a pretty popular time to watch horror movies. There’s a reason Netflix released Stranger Things and the Haunting of Bly Manor, and movie studios often release their scary movies this month, and that reason is Halloween.

My wife and I like to participate in a “Spooktober” tradition of watching horror movies all month long, but we often have trouble agreeing. (I want to watch scary stuff like Hereditary and the presidential debates, whereas my wife prefers nostalgic trash like Hocus Pocus and Teen Witch, both of which are a lot more frightening to someone like me!)

Thankfully, throughout the month, countless lists of “scariest movies” or “best horror movies” circulate online, and in my house, we use them for inspiration. And now, science has come up with what may be the definitive list.

A UK site called Broadband Choices released a list of horror movies that have been scientifically analyzed to determine their scariness. Their list of the top 35 scariest movies was determined by measuring heart rates.

At the top is the fairly recent Sinister, starring Ethan Hawke as a true-crime writer who moves his family into a house that was the scene of some grisly murders. Insidious, The Conjuring, Hereditary, and 2007’s Paranormal Activity round out the top 5.

Most of the movies on this list are recent, which may seem a little odd but also makes sense, as audiences have become harder to shock and thrill over the decades. The oldest movie in the top 10 is Rob Marhsall’s spelunking movie The Descent from 2005. It’s not until the teens that the older movies start to crop up, including classics like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Exorcist.

Check out the full list in this nifty infographic, and sound off with your pics in the comments. Just remember, science knows!

Science of Scary Movies
(broadbandchoices.co.uk)

 

Gender Reveal Parties Are Out Except for This Diaper-Clad Man in Full Body Paint

Diaper-Clad Man Wins Gender Reveals
(Instagram/superhooper)

Awaiting the arrival of your baby should be a precious and celebratory time. So with all due respect, what the heck is going on? Listen, I may be the Grinch Who Stole Gender Reveal Parties, but this is getting out of hand. There was the guy who shot himself in the worst possible place with a gender-reveal smoke bomb (???), the couple that managed to burn down thousands of acres of east LA in an attempt to reveal the gender of their unborn child (and I’m no scientist, but I’m pretty sure that means your baby’s gender is Hellboy) – it’s enough. Put down the flare guns and anything with “pyrotechnic” in its name, we deserve an indefinite time-out to think about what we’ve done. Cut into your colorful cakes, pop a balloon, but for the love of all that is flammable – please calm down.

As with every rule, there are some exceptions. Any pre-baby party should be for the parents’ enjoyment of course, since they’re the ones celebrating. But the guests shouldn’t feel like their attendance was doing someone a favor – they should feel like their time was well-spent. Well, a Florida couple recently went above and beyond to (safely and hilariously) reveal the gender of their baby.

In a video posted to Instagram by Josh Hooper, the expectant parents come together with some of their closest family and friends for the big reveal. “Sorry future Adah that you have to see this,” Josh captioned the video. Why the apology? Well, just watch the video.

Clearly, this is no ordinary gender reveal, which is exactly what the couple wanted. Josh Hooper told The Dad, “I just really wanted to see my friend (Andy) in a diaper. I have also never been a fan of gender reveals and thought if my wife and myself were going to do one we might as well make it funny.”

The couple’s relationship is rooted in comedy, so it only makes sense that their gender reveal would follow suit. “Me and my wife Lily met at Sunday Cool Tees where we both work,” Josh explained, “And Andy (the pink man) and myself make YouTube videos for Sunday Cool.”

For this comedy-loving couple, the gender reveal was a fun excuse to make their friends and family smile. And realistically, what better time to rope your friends into something so brilliantly absurd? You can’t say no to a friend celebrating the arrival of their first child (and if you can, someone forgot to tell Andy).

“We just love to make people laugh, and we think the world needs more things to laugh at and celebrate.”

We wholeheartedly agree. And Josh, let us be the first to say, welcome to the club.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

not gonna lie. The diaper was ✨ comfy ✨ 📷: @parksandruck

A post shared by Andy DeNoon (@livingforthedash) on

30-Yr-Old Stash of Gum and Beer Leave Library Hopped-up on Nostalgia

Stash of old gum and beer found at Washington library
(Facebook/City of Walla Walla Government)

After having kids, you’re forced to start finding new and creative ways to stash your snacks. Whether it’s a box of Sugar-O’s or a cake that literally has your name on it, food seems to disappear without a trace overnight in a house full of kids (aside from anything that even resembles a vegetable). It’s like having a rat infestation, only the rats are extremely expensive and eventually ask to borrow your car. Whether you tuck them away in a closet full of holiday decorations or shove them in a box you haphazardly label “Math Books” and stash under your bed, The Good Snacks need to be hidden for their own protection.

Recently, someone’s well-hidden stash was discovered in an unlikely place after they presumably forgot about it like a squirrel hiding their nuts for the winter. Like many libraries across the US, the Walla Walla Public Library in Washington closed in March due to the COVID pandemic. To make the best of a crumby (wait for it) situation, the library decided to do some renovations.

When removing some 50-year-old paneling in the mystery section of the library, the demolition crew stumbled upon a sticky mystery of their own. Five unopened cans of Hamm’s beer and a bag of Godzilla Heads gum (which hasn’t been manufactured since 1988) was found tucked away in a falling-apart paper bag.

The City of Walla Walla Government shared the photo on Facebook, presumably prompting one dad (maybe grandpa at this point) to yell, “oh crap!

The caption read, “While moving the mystery collection to a more accessible place, a Facilities crew member uncovered a real-life whodunit when he removed a corner panel on some 1970s-era shelving with an open top. Along with the usual dust and dead bugs, he found five unopened cans of ‘the beer refreshing’ and some monstrously stale gum still in its vibrant packaging, along with a moldering paper bag. Someone had apparently taken a cue from ‘Treasure Island’ and stashed their booty behind the shelving, but then wasn’t able to retrieve it.”

As we all well know, beer tends to come in packs of six – so it’s entirely possible that whoever stashed their loot in this public library some 30 years ago wasn’t thinking with a completely clear head. The unexpected treasure was a blast-from-the-past for the 50-year-old library – we’re just glad that their snack of choice wasn’t yogurt.

Guinness Releases a Non-Alcoholic Version of the Beloved Irish Stout

Guinness
(Diageo)

A Guinness for the sober folks, as the first alcohol-free Guinness Irish stout hits shelves in the UK and Ireland next week. This is the first time in more than 250+ years that there will be a non-alcoholic Guinness. That news is worth toasting (with whatever your drink of choice may be).

We are going through a drinking renaissance, to be sure. We’ve seen the market for hard seltzers go totally bonkers over the last year and change, to the point where it’s hurting traditional beer by shorting the aluminum can market. We also have the continued growth of craft breweries, which change the game on the reg and allow drinkers to get more specific with their choices. We even have a dog beer now, for when you wanna relax and toss some back with your pup.

What Guinness is doing by unveiling the Guinness 0.0 (which will be available in bars in the Spring) is smart. The market for non-alcoholic beverages is also thriving currently, especially as people change how they drink. Budweiser and Pabst Blue Ribbon have both announced new non-alcoholic options in recent months as well. Overall, the sale of non-alcoholic beverages is up nearly 50 percent over last year.

The Guinness 0.0 is made through the same process with the same ingredients, and the alcohol is removed through a cold filtration. So, in theory, it should taste nearly identical to the Guinness you’ve been drinking for the past couple hundred years (look at you, old guy!).

A spokesman for the brand said they knew the taste was important and wanted people to be able to enjoy the new drink without comprising on the taste. This is the result of a years-long production process to perfect the Guinness 0.0. He said it was a historic day for the brand.

“The launch of Guinness 0.0 highlights our long-held commitment to innovation, experimentation, and bravery in brewing, harnessing the power of our brewers and our ingredients, to create an alcohol-free beer that is 100% Guinness but 0% alcohol.”

The drink clocks in at only 70 calories and reportedly, tastes pretty great, but you’ll have to wait until 2021 to determine for yourself (or just drink a few in the meantime and pretend it’s the same).

Trailer for Animaniacs Reboot Takes Aim at Reboot Culture

Animaniacs Reboot Trailer
(YouTube/Hulu)

If you’ve been reading The Dad for a while, you’ve probably noticed we spend a fair amount of time talking about – and bemoaning – the constant stream of news about reboots and remakes and reinventions. Partially because that’s all Hollywood seems to make these days, but mostly because it’s annoying!

One reboot we’re totally down for, however, is the forthcoming revival of Animaniacs, the hilarious cartoon from the 90s that makes fun of pop culture just as much as we do. The first season arrives in November (with a second season slated for 2021), and here’s the official synopsis:

They’re back! The Warner brothers, Yakko and Wakko, and the Warner sister Dot, have a great time wreaking havoc and mayhem in the lives of everyone they meet. After returning to their beloved home, the Warner Bros. water tower, the siblings waste no time in causing chaos and comic confusion as they run loose through the studio, turning the world into their personal playground. Joining Yakko, Wakko and Dot, fan-favorite characters Pinky and the Brain also return to continue their quest for world domination.

Sounds like they’re going to be up to their old tricks, and based on the new trailer, maybe some new ones too. Because guess what? The Animaniacs are as fed up with Hollywood’s constant “re” stuff as we are. Even their own!

Check it out:

Creative Dad Wins Halloween With Epic “Zoom Meeting” Costume for His Daughter

Dad makes Zoom meeting costume for his daughter
(YouTube/Greg Dietzenbach)

The leaves are changing color, the aisles of grocery stores are lined with last-minute costumes that seem intent on making your child look like one of the Village People. Bags of candy, both name-brand and generic, sit side-by-side reminding us what it truly means to live in harmony. Undeniably, Halloween is going to look a little different this year. Some towns have canceled trick-or-treating altogether, while some parents scramble to find bizarre and safe ways to deliver candy to their tiny costumed visitors. One crafty dad from Marion, Iowa was undeterred by this year’s unconventional Halloween, continuing his tradition of making the world’s most epic costumes for his kids.

Greg Dietzenbach is no stranger to creativity, especially when it comes to Halloween. He explains, “My kids challenge me every year to make a unique costume. Building a transforming sock robot for my son almost broke my brain so this year I wanted to make it a lot simpler. Due to Covid we didn’t even know if our town would have trick-or-treating this year.”

Before we move on, we need to give credit where credit’s due. To understand the full scope of this dad’s talent, take a look at the brain-busting sock robot costume Dietzenbach built for his son.

Understandably, Dietzenbach decided to simplify his kids’ costumes this year. The same amount of impressive creativity, just fewer moving parts. This year, Zoom has gone from virtually unknown (to most of us, at least) to the star of school days, work meetings, and even weddings. As a nod to Zoom’s increasing popularity and the very screen his kids see all day as they attend school remotely, Dietzenbach decided to costume-ize it.

Dietzenbach, who works for a company that builds museums and corporate environments, got busy with his office’s large-format printer. He recreated the Zoom interface, but with some Halloween-themed Easter eggs (Halloween eggs?). “Instead of ‘Share Screen’ it’s ‘Share Scream,’” Dietzenbach explained. “’End Meeting for All’ changed to ‘End Life.’”

The meeting had 666 participants, and each participant on the call was a photo of his 12-year-old daughter Ada transformed into a monster using Procreate, an iPad drawing app. As if it needed any more incredible touches, the costume has a camera that adds the candy-giver to a square of the world’s first in-person Zoom call. The end result was nothing short of extraordinary.

“I’ve created several unique costumes through the years,” Dietzenbach explained.

If you’re itching to catch up (it’s well worth a scroll), all of this artistic dad’s past costumes are on his website.

“They’re all a labor of love. I make them for my daughter and son every year. I’ve become known for my homemade costumes with family and friends and people tell me they look forward to seeing them every year but I really do it for my kids.”

Though Dietzenbach goes above and beyond on his kids’ Halloween costumes, he stresses that it doesn’t take a huge gesture to show your kids how much you love them. Dietzenbach told The Dad, “I keep seeing comments on this costume where people say ‘Dad of the year award!’ and ‘Greatest Dad EVER!’. They make me feel good and put a smile on my face but it’s not a competition.”

He continued, “You don’t have to do these big crazy things to be thought of as ‘Greatest Dad EVER’ by your kid(s). It’s all the little moments I share with my kids that make them (and me) feel special. It’s just being there for them and giving them all of your love. That’s what I’m most proud of.”