How Common is Your Birthday?

Your “special day” is probably not as special as you think. Check out this awesome chart from The Daily Viz to find out how common your birthday is.

The darker squares indicate more births on those days, and as you can see there is a huge clump of them in the late summer. Those common September birthdays have conception dates right around Christmastime (it’s the most wonderful time of the year, perhaps?)

(The Daily Viz)

See more rad data and possible reasons why some birthdays are more common than others from Matt Stiles over at The Daily Viz.

“I’m Sending You Strength,” Ryan Reynolds Reaches Out to Fan Battling Cancer

Ryan Reynolds Video
(Twitter/CadenFanshaw)

Having a kid forced to fight cancer seems like one of the cruelest things a family can face, so anything that can bring a smile to the kid’s face must feel like gold. Ryan Reynolds came through in a big way for a young fan in that situation, sending a video message to an 11-year-old boy with Hodgkins Lymphoma and Crohn’s disease.

Ryan Reynolds is a class act, and exhibit A in how to act if you’re a movie star. Whether it’s helping a lonely kid on his birthday or sending love to a sick kid, Reynolds is there (along with the many hilarious things he does as well).

In this case, the boy’s mom had recently shared on social media that they were having a hard time, but watching the Deadpool movies was one of the things getting them through. So Reynolds sent a personal message of hope to the kid.

“Brody, it’s Ryan Reynolds, I just heard a little bit about your story and I wanted to send you this video and let you know that I’m thinking about you and I’m sending you tons of love and I’m sending you strength, whatever strength I’ve got.”

He closed the message with praise for the boy and expressing his hope they can meet in person someday.

“Man, you have a ton of people in your life that love you so much. I know you’ve been going through it, I know it’s been a challenge, but you’re just the man for the job Brody. So I’m sending you lots of love. I hope I get to meet you in person one of these days.”

His mom was over the moon, telling a Canadian news outlet that her son’s jaw hit the floor when he saw the video and kept saying “I feel like I’m the movie star.” She said when they are having a hard day, they love watching Deadpool to cheer up and that they’ve been watching the clip nonstop since he sent it. They had put the call out earlier in the week, after a hard week of chemo.

Ryan Reynolds, coming through, yet again. You can almost set your watch to how awesome Reynolds is on a daily basis.

UK Man Spent Over $400 To Learn That His Dog Was Limping Out of Sympathy

Man pays for vet visit only to learn his dog copied his limp out of sympathy
(Facebook/Russell Jones)

Dogs are wildly intelligent, but sometimes, they’re too smart for their own good. A video of Russell Jones and his sweet dog Bill has recently gone massively viral, and at first glance, it looks like the pair has seen better days. Both Jones and Bill limp slowly to their front door, Jones on crutches and Bill holding up his front paw as he hobbles alongside him.

Jones and Bill weren’t in some sort of accident. In fact, according to Bill’s vet, nothing is actually wrong. The video has been shared on Facebook over 28,000 times and has popped up on every imaginable social media site in the four days since it was posted by Russell.

“Cost me £300 in vet fees and X-rays, nothing wrong just sympathy. Love him,” Jones captioned the video.


According to Bill’s vet, a slew of tests revealed that there was nothing physically wrong with the empathetic pup. Presumably, Bill saw his human limping, and copied his behavior. While some animal behavior experts claim that limping out of sympathy is unlikely and more tests are needed, others have pointed to studies that do in fact show that dogs imitate the behavior of their pack leaders. In this case, Bill’s pack leader happens to be a human with a limp.

Fortunately, for everyone concerned, the video is something Jones has been holding onto for months. His ankle was broken in June, and he shared an updated video of Bill running around just fine in August. When Jones’s cast was removed and he was no longer on crutches, Bill seemed to realize, “oh ok, we’re not doing that anymore?” and proceeded to walk normally again. We truly do not deserve dogs.

MCU’s Moon Knight Series Pits Oscar Isaac Against Ethan Hawke

ethan hawke in moon knight
(Getty/Francois G. Durand/Dave J Hogan)

It was only last week that Disney+ finally premiered the first MCU TV show, with two episodes of WandaVision dropping Friday. In some ways, it’s totally unique – it features somewhat minor characters and the show is spoofing sitcoms of years gone by, in service of a larger mystery that will take some time to unpack.

In other ways, it’s one of many, in that there are about to be a whole bunch of MCU TV shows, including The Falcon and Winter Soldier, Loki, She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and more. One of the “more” is to be Moon Knight, aka Marvel’s Batman (rich vigilante), who has been many things over the years, including an ex-Marine mercenary, a vigilante (who sometimes has supernatural ties to an Egyptian god), to a guy with multiple personalities. The character is not exactly a headliner, but maybe that’s why Marvel is making sure the cast is.

Rumor has it that Oscar Isaac, an excellent actor with three Star Wars flicks under his belt, will be playing the titular Moon Knight, and now Marvel and Disney have secured his foil: Ethan Hawke.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Hawke, who has been in our lives for decades, from Explorers to Reality Bites to Training Day, Boyhood, and Sinister, but has never quite gone the blockbuster or superhero route. Until now.

No one is quite sure who Hawke is playing – aside from the lead villain – but Moon Knight has an archenemy named Bushman, also a former mercenary, that may be an option. It probably doesn’t matter all that much, considering how talented an actor Hawke is.

This show is shaping up to be another interesting entry in the MCU’s increasingly diverse stable of TV shows, each with a different tone and style. We’re yet to learn what genre Moon Knight will fall into, but with actors like Isaac and Hawke leading this show, it can pretty much be whatever it wants.

Amazon’s Massive Lord of the Rings Series Is a Prequel With a Familiar Villian

Lord of the Rings Prequel
(Warner Bros)

It’s one of the most-hyped TV projects that we know the least amount about, but we’re finally starting to get some details about Amazon’s massive Lord of the Rings series set to debut later this year or in early 2022. The hype is real for the series, as Amazon invested a shocking 500 MILLION into the project, sight unseen, with a five-season minimum commitment. For Tolkien fans, this is almost as big (possibly bigger?) as the movies.

So what do we know? Amazon confirmed the series description that first appeared on TheOneRing and was also confirmed by Entertainment Weekly. And that description indicates the new series will take place during the “fabled Second Age” of Middle-earth’s history, meaning it’s set thousands of years before the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies.

The series “will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness.

Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.”

The greatest villain teased in the description is thought to be Sauron, the second Dark Lord and the creator of the One Ring. So the series has a tremendous amount to explore while keeping enough familiar characters and locales to satisfy fans of the books and movies, as it details Sauron’s rise.

The series is currently filming in New Zealand (where the movies were also shot) for the epic 20-episode first season that was intended to be released in late 2021. While no release date has been set, it is still expected to be later this year or early 2022 when we’ll finally get to return to Middle-earth.

“Really Wish My Dad Was Around to See This,” The Rock Shares “Young Rock” Trailer

Young Rock Trailer
(IG/therock)

His dad was on his mind when Dwayne Johnson finally unveiled the trailer to the “Young Rock” show, along with announcing the February 16th premiere date for the new show. The Rock took to social media to share the trailer just one day after the one-year anniversary of his dad’s passing, writing “I really wish my dad was around to see this one. Maaaaan he would’ve been proud.”

His dad (on the show) makes a cameo in the trailer, telling young Dwayne “When you dream big the sky’s the limit,” which prompts little Rock to ask for a vodka martini, before asking for their finest tequila (a nod to his current tequila empire).

 

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The Rock joked about kicking puberty’s ass at 15 and having the tequila tycoon mindset even as a preteen, and said he “can’t wait to make you and your families laugh a little and share the life lessons I’ve learned along the way.”

His dad, the former WWE star, was obviously on his mind. He took to Instagram and talked about the influence his dad had and how he still hears his dad’s advice.

 

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He raised a toast to his old man, saying “when a loved one dies, it reminds us how we should live.” And concluded “this toast is to all of you out there and your loved ones who are no longer with us. Let’s live with all we got, all our passion, love, ambition, humor, empathy, humanity, all of it. As the show must go on.”

We can all drink to that.

“Keep Moving Forward” – Resources For Sharing MLK’s Legacy With Your Kids

Civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. relaxes at home with his wife Coretta and first child Yolanda in May 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama
(Getty / Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer)

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

Every third Monday of January we recognize the impact and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We honor the man and his work by taking “a day on, not a day off” to learn more about the struggle for equality, and find opportunities to better our own communities in his spirit.

For a lot of kids growing up now, the history Dr. King lived and changed can feel like another era altogether, rather than a mere 53 years. According to Tanara Burke, the former associate director of the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma, AL, and the director of Just BE, Inc., “Dr. King is almost a fictional historical character to many young people…They don’t get that they are (in many cases) one generation away from him and that they are directly affected by some of the gains he and others like him fought to achieve.”

To help kids fully understand Dr. King and the world he inhabited, Scholastic has recommended a series of books for all age-groups which can help your family keep history relevant.

If You Grew Up In The Time Of Martin Luthor King

cover for the children's book If You Lived in The Time of MLK
(Exodus Books)

This series of books for grades 2-4 is a fun way to introduce children to different eras. With an engaging question-and-answer format, and full-color art children can learn what it was like to participate in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, stage a sit-in at a lunch counter, join the famous March on Washington, and more.

Martin Rising: Requiem For A King

Cover for Martin Rising: Requiem For A King
(Scholastic / Brian Pinkney)

The award-winning Pinkney duo celebrates Dr. King’s nonviolent struggle for civil rights –– as he transforms America through the spirit of love. This poetic and beautifully illustrated book for grades 4-7 conveys the final months of Martin Luther King’s life –– and of his assassination –– through metaphor, spirituality, and multilayers of meaning.

Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin

Cover for "Chasing King's Killer"
(Scholastic)

Learning about the tragedy and horror of Dr. King’s death can be as important as learning about the ideals he devoted his life to.  For older kids in grades 7-12,  bestselling author James L. Swanson gives an astonishing account of one of the saddest moments in American History. It can be tricky for parents to navigate questions about Dr. King’s murder, but it is necessary for all of us to remember how his quest for peace ended in a shocking moment of violence. Swanson’s book can help contextualize the event to teach kids how far we’ve come, and how far we have yet to go.

Along with educating our kids about history, today is an opportunity to bond with our kids on the only federal holiday recognized as a day of service. Of course, during a pandemic, serving the community can be difficult, but there are ways you can participate from home. Even attending a virtual event or talk can be the start of meaningful conversations with your kids to inspire them. The National Museum of African American History & Culture has moved their annual celebration “A People’s Holiday” online, and The King Center, Coretta Scott King’s nonprofit memorial will also be holding online events today.

For a more engaging activity, consider supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities. HBCUs arose in the 60s as a response to education inequality, and award a large portion of bachelor’s degrees held by Black students. Advocating for these spaces honors the work done by Dr. King and encourages future heroes to find their footing. The best way to support them is by calling a local representative and advocating for continued federal spending.

However you choose to remember Dr. King with your family today and throughout 2021, you are choosing to honor history, courage, and an unrelenting pursuit of justice.

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

-Dr. Martin Luthor King Jr.

Father Figures: A Spiritual Experience

“After a lengthy bout with addiction, I got sober in 2011.

After a few years figuring out who I wanted to be, I met my wife in 2014. She had a child who was 6 years old at the time and had never had a stable father figure in his life. He looked different than me and we had different interests.

After about a year, he met my best friend, whom I refer to as a brother and is African-American. I asked him if he saw the resemblance between my brother and I and he replied, ‘No, your brother has a beard.’

He doesn’t see color and teaches me something new everyday.

Being a father to this boy has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. All children require love – and video games. His mother and I are now expecting and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Being a dad is a spiritual experience for me.”

– Mike Lloyd

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

After Five Long Years, Owner Spots Missing Cat on Shelter Website

Missing cat home after 5 years
(Instagram/midcoasthumane)

A lot can happen in five years. You can go from childless to a father of six, earn a degree, you can live through what feels like half of 2020. Everything can change in half a decade, which makes Kendra Armstrong’s story that much more incredible.

Five years ago, Armstrong’s beloved cat Moose went missing. As time went on, it became less and less likely that her furry family member would return home, but she didn’t lose hope. In early 2021, Armstrong was scrolling through her local animal shelter’s website when a familiar face made her stop dead in her tracks.

Among the cats and kittens of all shapes and sizes was an unmistakable face she hadn’t seen in half a decade. In a state of shock, Armstrong called the Midcoast Humane Society, in all likelihood, assuming it was an uncanny look-alike.

When the staff explained that “Oldest” had been in and out of the shelter for the last five years, Armstrong was in disbelief. Moose (aka Oldest) was alive, safe, and incredibly, nearby.

The shelter posted the heartwarming story on Instagram, thrilled that their favorite senior cat was exactly where he belonged. The caption explained, “It turns out that ‘Oldest’ is really named Moose, and he had been living in a loving home until he got out one day in 2015. His person searched and searched for him, but couldn’t find him.”

The post continued, “She couldn’t believe it when she recognized his picture on the Adoption Page of our website FIVE YEARS later. She contacted us right away and sure enough, Oldest was Moose! Last Friday – the first day of 2021 – he was able to finally go home with his person, who was ecstatic to be reunited with her beloved cat.”

According to Armstrong, Moose could not be happier. “Moose (oldest) knows he’s finally home and he does NOT want me to leave his sight (I don’t blame him at all because I feel the same way) I am so grateful to have him home with me.”

 

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22-Year-Old Has Heartwarming Reaction After Friends Buy Him Colorblind Glasses

Viral video of man whose friends surprised him with colorblind glasses
(Twitter/maciavelli_)

Imagine one day looking at the world and seeing something completely new. The trails you’ve walked a thousand times before are now filled with colors you’ve never seen, even the clothes you’re wearing are brighter and more vibrant than they’ve ever been. Most of us will never get to experience the world with new eyes, but 22-year-old Mac got to do exactly that – and unsurprisingly, his reaction warmed hearts around the world.

Mac is colorblind, and although he can see clearly enough, he sees color differently than most of us. “Colors such as reds and greens to me were sometimes hard to distinguish,” Mac told The Dad, “But since I’ve had to live with this for my 22 years of living I’ve learned to adapt and figure out which color is which even though I never saw them for what they really were.”

This year for Mac’s birthday, his friends decided to give him a gift that would quite literally change his world. He explained on Twitter, “The fact that I hardly ever mentioned my want for colorblind glasses and my friends literally went out of their way to get me a pair for my birthday just tells me how much they love my ass and I couldn’t have asked for better people to call my brothers!!!”

In the heartwarming video, Mac tries out his gift for the first time. He puts on his colorblind glasses and slowly looks up, and immediately, he’s visibly awe-struck. He stares open-mouthed at the world in front of him – the trees, a bright red car, things he’s seen countless times before. But never like this. He whispers a quiet “whoa” as he processes what he’s seeing.

“There’s no way y’all see that shit,” Mac exclaims. “BRO, WHAT?!”

“The first time I truly saw what was surrounding me it was eye opening and breathtaking,” Mac recalls. “It’s like watching your favorite movie for the first time ever. You don’t know what to expect but once you see it it blows you away.”

In less than two weeks, Mac’s touching video accumulated over 180,000 likes and over 37,000 retweets. Mac’s genuine amazement, his appreciation of the world around him, and his contagious enthusiasm struck a chord with people around the world. Though his intention was simply to thank his friends and share how much the gift meant to him, Mac ended up sharing a moment that meant so much more to people he’d never even met.

“I woke up and my phone wouldn’t stop buzzing with likes, follows, and comments about how much they realize how they’ve taken the little things like seeing a bush for granted and how much joy I gave them by my reaction. It felt really good to make people’s day by just being my genuine self.”