Father Figures: Game On

“I’ve often wondered how long I had left before my nine, soon to be ten-year-old daughter would finally be embarrassed to be seen with her dad in public.

Well, I finally got my answer.

As my wife and daughter were getting ready to leave to go to some event at the school that I wasn’t really aware of, my wife asked me if I was going with them. In fact, my wife even asked me to please go with them, which you know means it’s going to be a terrible time.

My daughter immediately said,  “No, I don’t want him to go, he’s weird and embarrassing.”

I think this would have stung a little more if my daughter wasn’t dressed like Hermione Granger when she said it, including the overpriced wand from our trip to Universal Studios last year. What school event were they off to? Book character night!

Everyone is dressing up like their favorite book characters, and I’m going to be the embarrassing one? There will be people walking around in capes, and masks, and who knows what else, but my t-shirt with a cat in a baby carrier is too much?

Well, kid, GAME ON!

Like all fathers before me, it is now my sacred duty to embarrass you at all times, and in all places. Just remember I do it because I love you.”

– Matt Fuger

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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

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.”


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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

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

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

(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.

After a Decade of Searching, Kansas Woman Meets Her Biological Father

After a Decade of Searching, Kansas Woman Meets Her Biological Father

Adoption is one of the most beautiful things imaginable. A child who needs a family finally uniting with a family who needs a child – few things are purer. As adopted children grow older, curiosity about who and where they came from sometimes drives them to track down their biological families. This process can be emotionally draining and extremely challenging, and unfortunately, sometimes fruitless. For one Kansas woman named Christian Gast, last weekend was the culmination of a decade-long journey – after 10 years of searching, Christian finally met her biological dad.

In 2010, Christian, who was two months old when she was adopted, decided she wanted to know more about her biological family. The now 25-year-old had tracked down her biological sister and mother in 2012 – the only missing piece was her father. Gast had followed multiple leads as to who her father might be over the years, only to be disappointed again and again when each one led to a dead end. Finally, in 2018, she submitted a swab to 23andMe and prayed for answers. Gast learned about her family history, some genetic markers, but no dad.

“I was disappointed to see that my biological father wasn’t on there yet”, Gast told The Dad, “but I thought if he was anything like me, he would be curious about himself as well.”

John Blackwell sat in his Washington bedroom in early 2020, feeling lost and somewhat alone. John’s father and sister had passed away 16 years ago, and then at the end of 2019, he lost his mom and stepdad. John felt the need to find out more about his genetic makeup, partially because of health concerns, but primarily to feel a connection with his ancestry in the face of his immense losses. After some research, John settled on two genetic tests: FamilyTreeDNA, and 23andMe. Upon receiving his results, he skimmed through the health indicators, the section about heritage, and then, in a moment, John’s entire life changed.

“The first relative to show up on my list, with 49.9% shared DNA, was a name and picture of someone whom I didn’t recognize, yet underneath that picture, it said ‘daughter,’” John shared in a Facebook post. “I was literally speechless. Time stood still. My mind was, strangely, both blank, yet consumed with more thoughts than I’ve had in this lifetime.”

John had experienced so much loss throughout his life that he began to fear the accuracy of the test. John has one son but had always wanted a daughter. At this point, he figured it just wasn’t meant to happen for him. “I was overcome with a million thoughts, dreams, fantasies, hopes and desires of the daughter I never got; and memories of all the times I’ve been jealous and envious of fathers who had a daughter in their life. I was afraid it wouldn’t be correct, cause I wanted it to be so! I NEEDED it to be correct!”

After 36 hours of panic, excitement, Facebook stalking (Christian had a 3-year-old son- could he possibly have become a father and a grandfather on the same day?), and a lot of courage, John opened the 23andMe app and began to type.

Thousands of miles away, Christian got a notification. She opened a message from a name she didn’t recognize, and everything she had only dared to dream about fell into place. “It was a feeling I can’t describe”, Christian told The Dad, “like the weight has lifted off my shoulders and I instantly felt at peace. My knees hit the floor when I read when he said, ‘I am your biological father’”.

From that moment on, the two began talking constantly. “I instantly felt this connection to her”, John enthused. “We began comparing everything! ‘Do you do this; do you do that; do you hate this, like that; are your hands big too?’”

It wasn’t long before the two began to FaceTime. John recalls his first reaction upon seeing his 25-year-old daughter for the very first time: “My God… she’s so beautiful!” he thought, bursting with pride, “I MADE THAT”.

The two decided that they had to meet.

They immediately began making travel plans, but unfortunately, their original April date had to be pushed back due to COVID-19. John was devastated. “It was as if every turn we made, we hit a roadblock that left us feeling a little destroyed inside, wondering why, after 25 years, we’re having to “fight” to see each other.”

But the two weren’t deterred and continued talking daily until finally, they felt it was safe to take the trip of a lifetime. Soon after, John landed in Kansas to meet the daughter he’d always dreamed of having. As soon as he stepped off the plane, he felt as if he was walking through a dream. “As soon as I took that first step onto the escalator, I scanned the floor below me…and then saw her standing there” John recalled, “I saw people around her, but I could only focus on her.”

John dropped his bag to the ground and ran to Christian. “All I could do was what I had been dreaming of doing since January 20th. Hold my baby girl in my arms as tight as I can. Finally.”

Christian and John

The father and daughter separated for over two decades were finally able to begin a new chapter together, the missing pieces finally in place. John is even planning to move from Washington state to Kansas this coming year.

John meets his daughter and grandson for the first time (SUPPLIED)

“I can never get those 25 years back” John explained, “but I can (hopefully) get 25 years of new memories with her.”