Father Figures: What It Means To Be A Father

“What does it mean to be a father? I have always made a clear distinction in referencing my biological father. I have never, that’s right—never, referred to him as my father and have always consciously and distinctly added the preface – biological. I correct people if they refer to him as my dad or father, ‘Ahem…biological father,’ I say automatically. This serves to differentiate between the father figures who’ve contributed to my life and those who have not.

As a parent, certain truths become clear. I’ve watched my husband transform from the love of my life to the love of my life and the father of my children. It astounds me that a man would choose to ignore one of his offspring.

Steve, my husband, always says that as a father he would maintain contact with his children, no matter how complicated or covert the situation. He finds it unfathomable that my biological father has abstained from contacting me for my entire life, 33 years.

My flippant retort is always, ‘Yes, but you don’t know his story.’ I find myself excusing my biological father and ultimately championing his lack of involvement in my life. Why am I sticking up for someone I don’t even know? Maybe this has been a coping mechanism. It is easier to think fondly of the man that created me than to harbor contempt toward him. I don’t think I’m angry with my biological father. But maybe I am and don’t want to admit it.

I never knew my biological father, but I have a father. Although he’s technically my stepfather, he’s the man who stood by my wobbling two-wheeler bike as I braved bike riding for the first time. My father proposed to my mom and me when he knelt down on one knee and slipped the engagement ring on my mother’s finger. My mom and he included me on their honeymoon.

Together we explored the rugged terrain and vast beauty of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho each summer on our family vacations. He is the man who acted silly and made my friends and me laugh until we nearly peed our pants during slumber parties. He proudly took my arm as we attended my school’s father-daughter dance. Standing behind the video camera, he’s the man who filmed my goofy basketball games, and my awkward ballerina leaps and pirouettes on the court. When I was tearful and confused about boys, my dad always listened and was the voice of reason. He is a man and will always be my father.”

Molly England, Bluebonnet Babies

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Dwaine Kent Westover: What A Dad Is

“When my dad was 16 years old, he met my mom, two years older than him, and was instantly smitten. At 19 he married his sweetheart and immediately began providing for her and her three children ages 6, 4, and 1. My mom had been abused and had run away and gotten pregnant at 15. Married and divorced twice, with three kids, she was a pariah; but that didn’t stop my dad. If he makes a judgment about a person, it’s based on what is in their heart, not just an outward appearance.

His parents and siblings tried to stop him, my grandfather going so far as to drag my dad to midway Island to do a month’s long plumbing job just to get him away from ‘that woman and her trashy kids.’ Grandpa didn’t know that my dad was saving every penny he made out there so they could elope when he came home.

Fast forward 7 years: My mom’s sister gets pregnant by some random hookup. She asks if my mom and dad would adopt the baby and my dad doesn’t hesitate. ‘Of course we will, but if he comes to our family he is our son in every way forever.’ That’s when I entered the world and my dad was the first to hold me. We have been inseparable ever since.

He has taught me to hunt, fish, shoot, build things – including houses, since he spent 35 years as a general contractor – and fix cars, but he’s taught me so much more than just skills. He taught me how to think, how to stay calm, how to have compassion, and how to love God.

My dad is in no way wealthy. He has never been ‘well off’ but that is largely because he always gives what he has to help others. I can’t count how many family members have ‘crashed on the couch’ or how often I’ve seen my dad give money to someone in need. He has consistently sacrificed his own wants and needs for the good of others around him.

I’m now a husband and father of three. A few months back, we were all at a Mexican restaurant waiting for a table, and there was an obviously homeless man in the lobby behaving erratically. I was standing between my family and the gentleman, just in case, and while I was busy worrying, my dad took action and helped a hostess arrange a table for the man. He knew that compassion often calms a troubled mind, so he bought him dinner. The man calmly ate and smiled at us as we walked past to our table.

This to me is what a dad is. It is a man who consistently gives his time, his knowledge, and his love to better the world around him.

That is who my dad is.”

– Eric Westover

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

Strangers Sitting Together at Baseball Game Split Charity Raffle Ticket and Win $18K

Two men, one local and one from California, who hadn’t met prior to sitting next to each other at the ballpark now have a great story to tell everyone they meet for the rest of their lives. After talking casually throughout the game, they decided to support the community initiative by going in on some 50/50 tickets together.

Nothing brings strangers together like thousands of dollars. The identities of the two men were not revealed but they did take a celebratory fist-bumping photo.

“The 50/50 made lifelong friends for these two & their families,” the Red Sox Foundation wrote.

The Red Sox won the game too. Just a great example of how baseball (and MONEY) can bring people together. When you take the time to talk to a stranger, you can collect big money prizes.

This has to be the best story of an interaction between fans in years. Almost every week, Twitter and Tik Tok host videos of massive brawls happening in concourses and bleacher seats everywhere. NFL games are especially egregious, but fans seem ready to throw down in any stadium or arena.

So to have a story about two strangers exchanging words, and having them be pleasant, and end in a huge cash prize, is so much more refreshing (if less entertaining) than a Royal Rumble in the nosebleeds.

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s Soccer Club Will be in “FIFA 22”

It’s been a great year for Wrexham AFC. The Welsh football club (or “soccer team” depending on which side of the world you live) got two high-profile owners in Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney and now the team is being added to EA Sports “FIFA 22”.

Having celebrities as owners is ALREADY paying off in a big way for the team, as most smaller clubs don’t get the visibility of being a playable team in one of the most popular sports video game franchises. Wrexham will be playable in FIFA’s Kick-off mode, listed in the “Rest of World” category because no other National League teams were even included.

This sets up a perfect and hilarious promo video from Wrexham’s famous owners, as they attempt to teach the rest of us about the “Rest of World” and the geography involved. Learning is always more fun when your teachers are two of the funniest people working in show business.

“Rest of World is an important geographic area known for its random assortment of cultures, climates, and football clubs,” Reynolds said. “If you’re planning on visiting Rest of World, please consider visiting Wrexham. It’s a proud team honored to be in FIFA 22.”

The team and its fans are PSYCHED. A publicist for the club (as if its owners aren’t enough to get the word out) said “everyone is truly excited about Wrexham joining FIFA 22. The co-chairmen talked about making Wrexham a global force when they became its custodians and are now able, with our fans, to take on the Rest of the World, as part of that journey.”

So when you can pretend you’re Reynolds and help conquer the “Rest of World?” October 1st is when the game hits all platforms.

Heroic Teen Saves Sisters From House Fire, Then Is Rescued by His Dog

A teenage boy is being hailed as a hero after he helped save his four sisters from a devastating fire that destroyed their family home. Not long after his parents left to pick up dinner for the family, Briar Omar smelled smoke in the home. One of his sisters said it was really smoky upstairs, and when he saw fire, he sprang into action.

“My sisters: That’s the first thing I thought of,” he told a local TV station. “I knew I had to get them out of the house.” Briar is the family’s oldest child and his youngest sister is only six months old.

The boy successfully located all his sisters and got them out of the house. Then, he decided to go back into the burning house and put out the fire with the fire extinguisher. It was far too late for that, though, and the flames quickly escalated. Briar couldn’t see or breathe. And that’s when the hero was rescued by another hero, as the family dog came to guide the boy out of the home now engulfed in flames.

“I almost collapsed, and then that’s when I felt my dog rub against me,” he said. “I grabbed her, and she led me out the door.”

A family friend started a GoFundMe campaign to help the family get back on its feet after losing everything in the fire. The goal is to raise 20,000 to replace clothes and other necessities. They’re still short of their goal, you can help by donating here. The friend has asked that if people are unable to donate they keep this poor family in their hearts.

While the material loss is devastating, thankfully everything that was taken CAN be replaced. A heroic boy and his faithful dog made sure of that by getting his sisters to safety.

Powerlifting Champ Calls Thor’s Dad Bod in God of War “Peak Male Performance”

Since the first character art for God of War: Ragnarok was released, the character Thor (who will be played by Sons of Anarchy’s Ryan Hurst) has been under scrutiny.  After years of watching Chris Hemsworth play the MCU version of the God of Thunder, I guess everyone was expecting some chiseled dude to show up to fight Kratos in the anticipated sequel.  But British powerlifting champion Darren McCormac has shared his insights on Thor’s appearance in Ragnarok, saying Thor’s bulk is indicative of just how strong he is.

“Like it or not, God of War‘s Thor is the peak of male performance,” McCormac told The Sixth Axis. ” As a strength athlete, there is a correlation between bulk and strength.  In powerlifting, the most competitive classes are the under 100kg and under 110kg–guys who are lifting multiple times their own bodyweight. They won’t be tall, they’ll be bulky.” In terms of Norse mythology, this depiction of Thor in God of War: Ragnarok is considered accurate.  Sure, Hemsworth is going to look great in Thor: Love and Thunder, but give me back the Thor from Avengers: Endgame.

Finally, McCormac goes on to say, “Not all these guys will have abs, far from it.  They’ll have a layer of lard over it, a power belly.  Any old fool can get abs–yes I am looking at you, Mr. Hemsworth–but a power belly and big traps (the muscles either side of your neck) are the sign of a bloody strong man.”

You hear that? Any old fool can get abs!  I’m going to start referring to my belly as a “power belly”.  As long as the heaviest thing I’m lifting are the groceries, none shall question my epic strength.

Proud Mom Shares Moving Letter From Son’s Teacher on Reddit, Quickly Goes Viral

Adult or child, it’s easy to write someone off for behavior you don’t quite understand. In every social situation, there are unspoken expectations that make or break the way the world sees us. While understanding social norms comes naturally to many, for people with autism, socializing can feel like playing Minesweeper blindfolded. When Loan, mom of 8-year-old Carter shared a note from his teacher on Reddit, it reminded us all that a little patience and understanding can go a long way.

From a young age, Carter’s parents realized he was developmentally different from his older sister. He had speech delays, and once he started preschool, his hyperactivity became evident. Rather than sitting with his class, he would run from the classroom at any opportunity. He struggled to sit still, and an evaluation revealed he had ADHD. With a 504 supporting his needs in kindergarten, Carter’s parents breathed a sigh of relief. In first grade, however, Carter’s struggles became impossible to ignore.

“I received calls almost everyday from his teacher or principal,” Loan told The Dad. “His impulsivity was getting worse. ​​He would take papers in class and tear them up. He would flip the chairs and throw pencils around the room. He could not calm down at all.”

Teachers were unable to help Carter regulate his behavior, and as a result, he was suspended.

“I can’t even imagine how painful it was for him,” Loan recalled. “He had a million emotions going through his head and he wasn’t able to control them. Kids saw this and just thought he was a bad kid and that something was wrong with him.”

Carter struggled, but his family knew his intention was not to hurt others. After further evaluations, Carter was diagnosed with ASD, or Autism Spectrum Disorder. Unwilling to let the world paint him in an unfair light, Carter’s parents hired an advocate. They had an IEP (Individualized Education Program) put in place, and transferred Carter to a school that could meet his needs. Before long, Carter began to thrive.

Carter's family
(Credit: Courtesy of Carter's Mom, Loan)

The now second grader’s frustration was met with understanding, his outbursts met with patience. Without constant fear that emotions outside of his control would lead to punishment, Carter’s kindness and empathy were free to shine through. Teachers at his new school shared countless stories of Carter’s generosity, but one letter in particular stood out.

In the now viral note Loan shared on Reddit, Carter’s teacher wrote about an incident where another student was upset. Carter learned that his classmate lost her retainer, and she was inconsolable at the thought of getting in trouble. Carter offered to help look, and asked to see a picture to help him find it.

He asked his teacher how much retainers cost, and then responded, “oh man, if I hadn’t spent my money I would have enough to buy her one so her parents are not mad.”

Letter from Carter's teacher
(Credit: Courtesy of Carter's Mom, Loan)

Carter’s teacher went on to say that the 8-year-old cared deeply for his classmates, regularly displaying acts of kindness. The same second grader who was suspended for his behavior is now “a pleasure to have” in class, thanks to compassion and support from his teachers and family.

“When kids with ASD/ADHD act out, it’s not out of malice. It’s that their brains are not wired the same as other people,” Loan explains, a reminder that we can all stand to have a little more compassion. “They want to focus and not be impulsive, but they can’t sometimes. They are misjudged because they don’t act like everyone else.”

Rolling Stone Updates Top 500 Songs, Everyone Predictably Not Happy

Who doesn’t love a good list? Before social media, they, were one of the best ways to start an argument. Now they are a great way to encourage conversation, which is technically exactly what Rolling Stone got when they released their newly updated Top 500 Songs list.

They do this from time to time, and let’s be honest: it’s mostly to generate clicks. A few years ago they created an uproar when Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” took over the top spot on their Top Albums list. Lots of people went to the Rolling Stone website that day, and so it was a big success.  They basically admit this tactic in the introductory paragraph:

“In 2004, Rolling Stone published its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It’s one of the most widely read stories in our history, viewed hundreds of millions of times on this site. But a lot has changed since 2004; back then the iPod was relatively new, and Billie Eilish was three years old. So we’ve decided to give the list a total reboot.”

The new list definitely has some changes, such as the additions of Kanye, Lady Gaga, and Lizzo. The aforementioned Eilish shows up with “Bad Guy” coming in at #178! Rolling Stone explains: “More than half the songs here — 254 in all — weren’t present on the old list, including a third of the Top 100.”

Not to give away the milk for free, but for the sake of talking about their choices, the Top Ten is as follows:

10. Outkast’s “Hey Ya!”
9. Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”
8. Missy Elliot’s “Get Ur Freak On”
7. The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever”
6. Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”
5. Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
4. Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone”
3. Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”
2. Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power”
1. Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.”

I’m sure you have an opinion on this list because just about everyone does. Especially on Twitter.

Lorde over MJ?

Somebody loves classic rock:

Somebody hates modern music:

All eyez off him:

Seems reasonable:

Never change the internet. Or Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs List. People don’t like it when you do!

LeVar Burton Is No Longer Interested In Hosting Jeopardy

Who knew that a simple game show could cause so much drama?

The saga of “Who Will Host Jeopardy?” has been keeping the internet riveted ever since beloved longtime host Alex Trebek lost his battle with cancer late last year. The show has been auditioning countless guest hosts, including former champions, current NFL players, TV stars, even its own executive producer. All this in the face of much of the public’s, Ryan Reynolds, and Dick Van Dyke’s, desire to see former Star Trek and Reading Rainbow star LeVar Burton get the gig.

Well, LeVar no longer wants it.

Burton finally got a chance to host the show in July, just before the drama with Mike Richards – the aforementioned executive producer of the show who seemingly installed himself and then had to step down after questions of the process, and problems with past behavior and comments he’d made on his podcast – exploded. But now, despite his initial desire to give the people what they want, Burton is out.

He appeared on The Daily Show this week and explained to Trevor Noah how the fan support emboldened him. “You know, we did a kickstarter several years ago. I discovered then that the generation of adults now, who grew up on Reading Rainbow, they were down with whatever it is I wanted to do, and the same was true with this Jeopardy! thing.

“I made it public that I wanted it for myself, that it made sense to me, and they were all about it. It made as much sense to them as it did to me. And, so, they wanted it for me as much as I wanted it.”

And then he explained that losing out on the gig was the best thing that could have happened.

“The crazy thing is that when you set your sights on something, you know, they say be careful of what you wish for, because what I found out is that it wasn’t the thing that I wanted after all. What I wanted was to compete. I mean, I wanted the job, right, but then, when I didn’t get it, it was, like, well, OK, what’s next? And, so, the opportunities that have come my way as a result of not getting that gig, I couldn’t have dreamt it up.”

So we may not be seeing Burton behind the Jeopardy podium anytime soon – the show just announced that Mayim Bialik and former champ Ken Jennings will be sharing hosting duties for a while, while the search for a permanent host continues – it sounds like we’ll be seeing him plenty of other places.

Hopefully, places that are a lot more drama-free than Jeopardy.

11 Most Powerful DC Characters (You Know, In Addition To Superman)

Superheroes have taken over nearly every form of media. They’re showing up on the small screen on networks, cable television, and subscription services. On the big screen, there’s such a giant collection of comic heroes and villains that it often seems easier to name someone who hasn’t been in a DC or Marvel movie than someone who has. The classic Batman vs. Superman fight is no more, either — now that the greater public knows more than just those two powerhouse superheroes, the conversation has gotten deeper, richer, and more convoluted. And, among DC fans, part of that conversation includes a robust debate centered on the most powerful DC characters.

It’s a loaded question that leaves us with a ton of follow-up questions. Hero or villain? Male or female? Super nerds might even ask you which timeline, but we’re not going to confuse the laypeople by getting into the various comic timelines. We will, however, address the rest. And maybe, just maybe, we can figure out who the most powerful DC character really is.

Most Powerful DC Villains — Female

Rampage

When scientist Dr. Kitty Faulkner was exposed to the powers of the Bio-Energy Actualizer, it had gruesome effects. It turned her from a nerdy hero trying to save the planet to a hulked-up, angry she-beast intent on succumbing to her most basic instincts and destroying Metropolis. This girl had Superman powers and “Hulk-Smash” rage.

Maxima

Maxima is, in essence, a gorgeous, powerful, and angry alien. Her brute strength comes from her psionic powers. She came to Earth because she believed Superman was the only entity in all the universe worthy of giving her a child. He was, unsurprisingly, uninterested, which only made her more volatile. The two superpowers go head-to-head on numerous occasions.

Cheetah

On the surface, Cheetah seems like a pretty tame (pun intended) villain. Oh, so you can run fast and have sharp teeth and claws? Cool, cool, cool. But, like, she can run really fast. She’s managed to catch The Flash before. And those teeth? They’re sharp enough to pierce even Superman’s skin and do some damage. Cheetah’s biggest foe was Wonder Woman — and even she stumbled a few times in their go-arounds.

Most Powerful DC Villains — Male

The Decreator

The Decreator is a bit of an unreasonable and volatile anti-god or a shadow god. He’s believed to have been created at the same time God created the universe. While God “creates,” The Decreator destroys or dismantles (or, you know, decreates). Upon his discovery, the only thing anyone could do was slow him down in his quest to destroy the world, but they couldn’t entirely stop him.

Krona

Krona is utterly evil and badass. When it comes to “power,” it’s hard to top psychic abilities like telekinesis and telepathy. I mean, how do you defeat someone who always knows your next move? Krona, though, goes even further: He’s also nearly immortal. Remember the old phrase, “What doesn’t kill me makes me strong?” Yeah, that’s Krona in a nutshell.

Mxyzptlk

As far as we can tell, you won’t find Mr. Mxyzptlk in any movies — at least not yet. He’s an old-school villain. He’s almost magical in his abilities because nothing needs to make sense or be even somewhat logical. If he can imagine it, he can make it happen. Fighting the guy in the middle of a desert island on a sunny day? He can crush you with a piano falling from the sky (except he probably won’t). Mr. Mxyzptlk is extremely powerful and a bit of a scamp, so he’s for sure a villain. But he’s not exactly evil.

Most Powerful DC Heroes — Female

Wonder Woman, Obviously

Even without her lasso, Wonder Woman is basically unstoppable. She can fly and move at warp speed. She’s also exceedingly strong and has unbelievable stamina. You can try to go 10 rounds with Wonder Woman — but only one of you will make it through the first two without losing your breath.

Supergirl

Supergirl is in every way, shape, and form the same as Superman, except she’s, ya know, a girl. As long as the sun is burning, Supergirl is flush with unfathomable power that starts with ultra-heightened senses and ends with, well, they don’t really ever end.

Power Girl

Just like Supergirl and Superman, Power Girl hails from Krypton and brings with her all the same incredible strengths as her cousins.

Most Powerful DC Heroes — Male

Manhattan

Dr. Manhattan was once just a regular dude, but he became something altogether different once exposed to nuclear energy. Like those Fukushima daisies, he was a bit of a freak but still as super as they came. Here’s a shortlist of just some of Dr. Manhattan’s superpowers: replication, resurrection, space travel, and time travel.

Superman

There. Are you happy? We included Supes. Superman is as equally powerful as Superman fans are annoying. Anything you can do, Supes can do better — and with a sickening earnestness that sometimes makes us want to unleash our tiny (useless) fists of fury on him.

The Spectre

Spectre has literally defeated the Anti-Monitor, which, in our opinion, makes him much more powerful than even Superman. His power is so overwhelming that it’s passed from human to human, just in an attempt to rein him in and keep him under control. And, yeah, he’s a good-ish guy.

A final note for the Batman fans who are mad we left off their favorite sulking “superhero”: We’d like to remind you of something very simple. Batman isn’t powerful. He’s rich. Don’t @ us.