Proud Dad Shares Heartwarming Post About His Son Grilling: “Autism Be Damned”

Dad's heartwarming post about son with autism grilling
(Facebook/Eddie Gomez)

It’s always a proud moment when our kids learn new skills. Whether they become master drummers or budding entrepreneurs, seeing our kids carve out their own impressive paths in life is all we want as parents. But when our kids face obstacles in life, milestones and successes become even sweeter. And for dad Eddie Gomez, sharing a hobby with his son became a source of pride that warmed hearts and resonated with people around the world.

Eddie’s 18-year-old son Tristen is on the autism spectrum, but when he was younger, his school thought he may be hearing impaired. Eddie Told The Dad, “After a month of tests they came back and told me it was not a hearing issue. My response was ‘I told you, that boy can hear an ice cream truck at 3 miles.’”

Tristen’s autism doesn’t get in the way of his adventurous nature, and with his supportive dad by his side, Tristen eagerly experiences everything life has to offer. “Tristen has always liked to be in the middle of things and stay active and involved,” Eddie explained. “No matter what we are doing he likes to be my partner. We do everything from yard work to cooking as a team.”

Tristen Eddie
(SUPPLIED)

With COVID shut-downs, many of the father-son team’s favorite activities were no longer available. Before COVID, Tristen and Eddie could be found at the zoo, the aquarium, Disneyland, and swimming at their local pool (sometimes for hours a day). Eddie encourages Tristen to be independent, so when Eddie purchased a new Oklahoma Barrel Smoker, he wanted Tristen to take the lead on a fairly simple recipe.

“To my surprise he took to it like a duck to water,” Eddie recalled. “It was great, while we waited for the smoking to do its thing we would play catch, kick ball, fly his kite, or play with water balloons on really hot days.”

Excited about Tristen’s new hobby and endlessly proud of his son, Eddie took to Facebook to share some pictures of Tristen grilling. Eddie posted the photos to a group dedicated to owners of Oklahoma Joe smokers, and before long, the post had been shared thousands of times. Looking at the photos, it’s easy to see why Eddie’s pride in his son made people around the world smile and take notice.

The caption read, “Autism be damned my boy can work a grill.” Each photo shows a smiling Tristen, clearly proud of himself as well (as he should be, I mean, look at those wings).

Eddie Tristen Gril
(Facebook/Eddie Gomez)

“I was amazed at the response this post got!” said Eddie. “I was sharing a post of Tristen and I doing something we loved to do together. I got responses from around the world. People from Scotland, Australia, Europe, as well as across the USA were IMing me to tell me what an inspiration he was and to thank me for making their day.”

Eddie even received offers of care packages from several companies. Some sent sauces, some sent rubs, and one generous company even sent the father-son duo a massive amount of Wagyu meat. One group member asked to set up a GoFundMe so Tristen could buy a new pellet smoker, and incredibly, the page surpassed its goal in just four hours. After much deliberation, Tristen selected his new smoker, and Eddie donated the remainder of the money to an Autism awareness charity in Tristen’s name.

Tristen Grill
(SUPPLIED)

“Something I would like all people to understand about Tristen and all children like him is that they are different but want the same thing we all do. To be accepted, have fun, and to be involved,” said Eddie. “With a little patience and a little more guidance I think people would be amazed and how well they do. I have to say I have learned way more from my son than I have ever taught him. I think we could all take a lesson from my boy and just try to enjoy every moment in every day to its fullest potential.”

TikTok Filter Allows Users to Create Photos With Lost Loved Ones

TikTok Filter Allows Users to Create Photos with People They've Lost
(TikTok/lexscameraroll)

TikTok is typically the home of viral dances and hilarious videos, but a recent filter has given users of the video-based social media site an unexpectedly meaningful tool. It’s no secret that TikTok users are astoundingly creative with the tools at their disposal, but even the brains behind the “Green Screen Scan” effect were shocked by how users utilized it in a way that was both powerful and cathartic.

The effect allows users to upload a photo and then “flatten” themselves, making it look as if they’re superimposed in the existing photo. As expected, many videos featured the tool as a way to play pranks on family members, convincing them they were places they most definitely weren’t supposed to be. Other users, however, realized that the tool gave them a way to do something that was previously impossible – create brand new photos with loved ones who were no longer alive.

One TikTok user, Alexis Puckett, tragically lost her dad to esophageal cancer in 2018. In a video that’s been viewed over 7.6 million times, Alexis demonstrates the power of the green screen scan tool.

The video begins with Alexis looking slightly baffled. The on-screen text says, “You’re telling me I can still take pics with my dad??”

Using the scan effect, Alexis changes the background of the video to an old photo of her dad. She smiles at the camera as the filter does its job – scanning from top to bottom, it freezes Alexis seamlessly into the photo. Years after his death, incredibly, Alexis now has a brand new photo to cherish.

@lexscamerarolloh yea this one hurt ##fyp ##lgbt♬ original sound – Sad audios

“That just broke me,” commented one user. Others filled the comments section with both sadness and excitement, thinking about all the ways they themselves wanted to use the filter.

Word quickly spread, and TikTok was flooded with videos of users creating photos with their late parents, grandparents, friends, and everything in between.

“STOP this hurted,” another user named Sara Rogers captioned her heartbreaking video, one that she created after tragically losing her mom in a car accident last year.

@saramargsSTOP this hurted.♬ original sound – Sad audios

“I made another [TikTok] before I made this one that I ended up posting and I immediately bawled my eyes out as you can probably tell by my red face,” Rogers told Buzzfeed News. “It looked way too realistic and was very sentimental to me.”

Hero Dog Named Captain America Wakes Family When House Catches Fire

Dog named Captain America wakes family during fire
(YouTube/KENS 5: Your San Antonio News Source)

It almost feels like dogs are just waiting around for a chance to become the heroes of any potentially disastrous situation. From daring rescues to risking it all to protect the people they love, dogs are far more than just the adorable goofballs who occasionally eat an entire loaf of bread that was left within their reach.

Captain America was adopted from the San Antonio Humane Society three years ago, and the lab-mix recently lived up to his name in a way nobody could have anticipated. One evening in mid-January while Captain America’s family slept, the watchful hero realized something wasn’t right. The same nose that wakes him from the deepest sleep as soon as he smells food alerted him to something more sinister – smoke.

“We were sleeping and first thing I heard was our dog Captain America started to bark,” Eric Greene told KHOU.

Captain America’s human rose groggily from bed, likely assuming the dog had to make a 2AM bathroom run. Upon arriving downstairs, Greene made a startling discovery.

“I came down stairs and saw smoke and fire coming from the back deck of our house,” he recalled.

Greene rushed to alert his wife and three sons of the fire, all of whom made it out of the house safely thanks to Captain America. The Helotes Fire Department arrived on the scene and extinguished the flames, while neighbors offered the family support.

The Greene family home sustained significant damage, but thankfully, the family of five is unharmed. As for Captain America, well, the Very Good Boy will receive rewards for his life-saving efforts in the form of plenty of extra pets and treats. Meanwhile, the rest of us eagerly await an all-dog reboot of The Avengers.

Take a Moment To Appreciate a Rare Volcanic Rock That Looks Like Cookie Monster

Cookie Monster Rock
(Twitter/ImoveCar)

Some things in life are fun and that’s it. It doesn’t change the world, or totally shift the national conversation, or have any effect on your life at all. It’s just cool. Case in point: a rare volcanic rock found by a gemologist that looks just like Cookie Monster.

The rock was found in the Rio Grande do Sul region (no, YOU don’t know where that is) of Brazil last fall. The current owner said he’s received multiple offers for the rock, including some in the tens of thousands. Some speculate the rock could be worth north of $100,000.

But we know better, that rock is truly priceless. Even Cookie Monster himself took some time from his busy day on Sesame Street to acknowledge the uncanny resemblance.

It’s his most viral tweet ever, and it came a few days after the first tweet went pretty viral. That’s how much we need news like this now, a straight-up palate cleanser. Something where you can look at it, say “hey, that’s kinda neat” and feel a little bit better about the world for five minutes.

As far as Muppets in nature go, this takes the cookie. Not even Beaker on Mars comes close.

Someone needs to feed that rock ASAP, or they will soon have a situation on their hands.

Wanna Join ‘The Family’? Watch These 15 Mafia Movies First

Best Mafia Movies: 'Goodfellas'
(Warner Bros.)

Here we are, entering month 763 of life during the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve binge-watched everything in our Netflix queue, eaten all of the quarantine snacks, reached #ExpertLevel at forming our beard hair into funny clusters. And now we’re bored again. So very bored. Not only do we need something to help pass the time, but we also need something that’ll get our adrenaline going and make us feel like we haven’t entirely lost our edge. Enter, the best mafia movies.

While we often think of the mafia as something from movies, it’s based on a dark reality. The American Mafia originated in the late 19th century as an offshoot of the actual Italian — more specifically Sicilian — Mafia. As poor, struggling Italian immigrants grappled with the harsh reality of life in the United States, they looked for ways to survive. They banded together and took up the same past they’d left behind in Italy. Together as a unit (or “family,” though that doesn’t mean they’re blood relatives), the newly formed Italian-American Mafia took steps toward thriving in their new environment. Granted, those steps were often illegal and deadly. Even so, their movement quickly spread throughout other large cities across America. The hitch? The Mafia’s criminal behavior quickly led to finding itself in an “us vs. them” situation, with nearly everyone on the wrong side of the fight… at least according to the Mafia.

If this all sounds pretty fascinating to you, well, say hello to our little list of the best mafia movies of all time. Over the years, the genre has generally come to include movies based on the Mafia, the more broad-reaching “mob” life, and the grittier gangster culture. We’ve included a little bit of everything, so consider reading it and binge-watching these cult classics an offer you can’t refuse.

Best Mafia Movies

1. Road to Perdition (2002)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Tom Hanks, Paul Newman

Set during the Great Depression, the film follows two men as they set out to seek revenge for the mob murder of their family.

2. The Godfather (1972) & The Godfather: Part II (1974)

Starring: Marlon Brando, James Caan, Diane Keaton, Al Pacino

Follow the Corleone family and their associates as they do shady and dangerous family business. Take note: GII is quite possibly one of the few sequels that holds up to its predecessor.

3. Get Shorty (1995)

Starring: Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, John Travolta, Danny DeVito

What’s life like when a mob henchman decides to pursue his Hollywood dreams? Well, it’s a little funny…

4. Goodfellas (1990)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci

Based on the book Wiseguy, this mob movie classic follows the life and misadventures of one lifelong mafia man.

5. Scarface (1983) 

Starring: Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer

Yet another chance to see Al Pacino do what he does best. This time, he works in the drug trade in Miami and has a nasty cocaine addiction. Can he survive as the government and Colombian cartels close in on him?

6. American Gangster (2007)

Starring: Josh Brolin, Russell Crowe, RZA, Denzel Washington

A semi-autobiographical look at Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas, American Gangster is a supremely well-acted story. The film wasn’t for everyone, but it’s definitely worth seeing for yourself.

7. Public Enemies (2009)

Starring: Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, Johnny Depp

Listen. It’s a great film. And you can probably get your partner to watch it with you if you tell ’em Johnny Depp is in it. Bonus: He’s not even wearing guyliner.

8. Pulp Fiction (1994) 

Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Quentin Tarantino, Uma Thurman, John Travolta

You’ve probably seen this at least half a dozen times, but it’s always worth seeing again. It’s the best Tarantino movie. Don’t @ us, bro — we said what we said.

9. The Irishman (2019)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano, Bobby Cannavale, Anna Paquin

This time, our mafia deep-dive takes us to the coal-rich state of Pennsylvania and brushes up with the infamous teamster Jimmy Hoffa.

10. Analyze This (1999)

Starring: Billy Crystal, Robert De Niro, Lisa Kudrow

You think De Niro ever gets sick of playing mobsters? Eh, who cares? We’ll never get sick of seeing him in that role.

11. Bugsy (1991)

Starring: Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Harvey Keitel, Ben Kingsley, Elliott Gould

This biographical film follows real mobster Bugsy Siegel as he makes his way from New York to Hollywood and then helps build the Las Vegas strip. It’s old-timey and, honestly, pretty riveting.

12. The Freshman (1990)

Starring: Marlon Brando, Matthew Broderick

A film student takes a job working for a New York mob boss. Crime, of course, ensues.

13. Eastern Promises (2007)

Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts

If you remember this movie at all, it’s probably because of the incredibly violent and completely naked fight scene. This one branches out a little bit and tells a story involving a Russian mob-run child sex trafficking ring.

14. The Departed (2006)

Starring: Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Vera Farmiga

Boston accents! (Why else would a Wahlberg be in it?) This Irish Mob-focused film plays a bit of cat-and-mouse between a mole and an undercover cop.

15. Donnie Brasco (1997)

Starring: Johnny Depp, Al Pacino

Yeah, it’s Johnny Depp again, in all his pre-Tim Burton resplendence. This one follows an FBI agent who works his way into the Mafia and finds out that his personality and moral compass might be better suited to such a life.

Nintendo Is Celebrating Animal Crossing New Horizons’ One Year Anniversary

(Nintendo)

Animal Crossing: New Horizons continues its reign as one of the best-selling Switch games, and it looks like Nintendo is extremely aware of that.  They aren’t going to let the hype train slow down any time soon.  On March 20th, New Horizons will celebrate it’s one year anniversary and there are tons of new editions just over the “horizon” to check out.  We’ve got new updates, controllers, and villagers (to either shower with gifts or bonk on the head with our nets) to look forward to, so let’s take a look.

Hello Kitty Sanrio Collaboration Pack

The crossover of the century is here.  Yes, we will be getting Hello Kitty themed items… as long as you can purchase the pack of Amiibo cards they come from.  Each pack of cards from the ‘Sanrio Collaboration Pack’ comes with new items and cute little villagers that aren’t currently available in New Horizons.  You can’t pre-order them yet, but they’re going to be available on March 26th, 2021 and will be a Target exclusive.  Personally, I’m more excited for the Mario-themed items coming in the March update, but my wife has already threatened me that if I don’t get at least one of these new Amiibo, she will sell my PS5.

Isabelle & Tom Nook Controllers

(Nintendo)

These new Isabelle and Tom Nook controllers that are officially licensed by Nintendo look awesome.  The colors pop and they’d be a great addition to anyone’s Switch set-up.  They’re available for pre-order right now on Amazon and have a release date of February 14th, 2021.  This Valentine’s Day, forget about buying flowers and make the right choice.  This will win your loved ones over forever.

(Nintendo)

You can pre-order the Isabelle Controller here and the Tom Nook Controller here for $25.

Free Updates

Nintendo will also continue to pump out free updates for Animal Crossing: New Horizons.  They’re nothing fancy (except Halloween, I loved that one) but it is always nice to see new things to do coming out on a regular basis.  Nintendo has even mentioned that they plan on supporting the game with free updates for the next three years.  You can check out the next update in the trailer down below which arrives on January 28th.  This will bring Pave, the Festivale and some sick new dance moves to your repertoire of emotes.

Are you still in love with Animal Crossing: New Horizons?  It was one of my family’s favorite games last year and my wife and I still try to play every day.  I’m almost finished donating all the critters to my museum.  I don’t think I’ll ever finish my art exhibit though.  That seems like a lost cause since Redd never wants to show up.

Just a heads up, if you buy stuff using the provided links, The Dad may collect a small commission.

Pedro Pascal Teases New Timeline, Crossovers for Mando Season Three

Pedro Teases Mandalorian S3 Details
(Disney+)

After a fantastic second season that culminated in a mind-blowing finale, fans are dying to learn what’s next for The Mandalorian. Not only did the season end with some major changes that could forever alter the show, but the post-credits stinger scene also confused fans by introducing a new story about Boba Fett.

It has since been clarified that The Book of Boba Fett is a standalone spin-off show and that The Mandalorian will be back for a third season. What we don’t yet know is what the third season will be like, now that the driving storyline of the first two installments was seemingly resolved.

With all the new Star Wars shows coming down the pike for Disney+, it might be a while before we see Mando again, and if recent comments by Pedro Pascal are accurate, some time may pass for the character as well…

Pascal gave an interview to IndieWire in which he discussed his monumental 2020, which not only featured The Mandalorian but also a role in Robert Rodriguez’s Netflix movie We Can Be Heroes, and a villainous turn in Wonder Woman 1984.

During the interview, the actor dropped a few hints about the future of his Star Wars show, which may include shifting timelines and cross-overs into other worlds.

“I am told what’s happening and what the plan is,” said Pascal, “but I can’t share it. They are in the expansion of this world, where there are so many unexpected surprises and timelines that are going to be dealt with. If the character were to cross over into these worlds, it will be utilized in a way that isn’t meant to be expected. I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise of whether or not characters from the show we already know are crossing over.”

There’s both a lot of info in there and very little. It definitely makes sense that after season two, The Mandalorian will stretch its wings a bit and broaden the scope of his adventures. Exactly how “crossing over” into different worlds will work is yet to be seen, but Pascal seems hesitant to say much more.

One of the main storylines fans are hoping to see is the battle for Mandalore, which includes Mando’s ownership of the dark saber, putting him at odds with Bo-Katan. Not sure how his comments line up with that, which seems like a more expected continuation of the series. There definitely seems to be hinting at something less conventional.

Hopefully, we’ll learn more soon, as Disney+ moves forward with its plans. Until then, may the force be with you.

I mean, this is the way.

You’ll Relish This Hot Dog and Bun Toaster

hot dog toaster
Amazon

I think we can all agree that there are few things better than a perfectly toasted hot dog, and you can’t get that from microwaving hot dogs and using cold buns. Sorry. It just doesn’t work that way; I don’t make the rules. If you want baseball park-worthy hot dogs, you gotta go pro. And by pro, I mean a hot dog toaster. It’s just as fast and convenient as a microwave, but delivers a far superior product (it even gives you grill marks). And it’s only $20, so you might as well buy one for yourself and everyone you know, because nobody deserves to eat sad microwave dogs.

 

hot dog toaster
Amazon

Purchase for $20

This hot dog toaster will toast two hot dogs at a time, distributing even heat on all sides so that it’s perfectly cooked every single time (it accommodates for extra-large hot dogs, so don’t worry if you prefer them robust). The toaster also features adjustable heat settings, and even comes with special tongs so you don’t have to burn your hands every time you make yourself a hot dog. Cleaning is even easier since all you need to do is remove the drip tray and wipe it down separately.

Is it a novelty gift? Sure. But it’s so worth it (and if your S.O. or roommate are concerned about counter space, rest assured that it’s pretty slim and compact). 5,000+ customers who’ve given the toaster five stars on Amazon would agree. “LOVE IT!!!! I bought this for home so my 7 year old could make a quick snack before bed…he loves hot dogs…. I love the smell of cooking hot dogs and buns without the mess!” one reviewer wrote.

“We LOVE that this makes AWESOME Grill marks on the hot dogs!!! I read all the reviews before purchasing and I am shocked that no one mentioned this! And this is not simply a hot dog Heater Upper LOL! There is a BIG difference in using this versus a microwave. For one, THE Grill Marks LOL Sorry- that just tickled me silly and I am in love with that feature alone 🙂 The hot dog does not get “rubbery” like they can in the microwave. We cook ours on setting number 5 and it gets a perfect sear on the outside trapping in all the juices. This little hot dog toaster will give you perfectly juicy hot dogs every single time,” another customer wrote.

We did mention the grill marks, right?

Get one for yourself for $20.

Just a heads up, if you buy stuff using the provided links, The Dad may collect a small commission.

Toddler’s Tangled Hair Is No Match for The Rock

The Rock does daughter's hair
(Instagram/therock)

Being a girl dad is both amazing and challenging. You begin to see the world in new and exciting ways through your daughter’s eyes, but you’re also tasked with learning skills you never thought you’d need. Recently, Dwayne Johnson shared a surprisingly confident (and absurdly adorable) post on Instagram featuring an unlikely skill – hair styling.

Realistically, The Rock probably hasn’t had a whole lot of experience tending to a head full of hair. While he may be slightly hair-deficient himself, his dedication to the cause is admirable. Honestly though, what better motivation to master a skill than a 2-year-old who’s counting on you?

The Rock’s Instagram post features two photos of him with his 2-year-old daughter Tiana, and boy do these pictures tell a story. If you’ve ever been scared to your very core at the beginning of a dentist appointment before realizing that it isn’t actually so bad, Tiana carries the same energy into her dad’s photo series.

The caption explains, “Now despite my two year old looking completely TERRIFIED for her life that daddy is solely responsible for getting all the painful tangles out of her hair…”

Looking at the first picture, Tiana stares desperately at whoever is holding the camera. She sends a silent “help me” plea to the person photographing evidence instead of stepping in, but fortunately, The Rock knows what he’s doing.

“Scroll left and you’ll see the calming energy, exceptional hair skills and extraordinary patience that daddy aka mr golden hands puts on full display,” the caption continues. “I may be bald but I know a thing or two about hair. Mainly because I wish I had it.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by therock (@therock)

In the second photo, Tiana seems to embrace her dad’s hair-styling skills. She’s visibly relaxed, perhaps even enjoying her at-home salon. The 2-year-old is The Rock’s third daughter, so to be fair, he’s had a bit of practice.

This enormous man literally tore a metal gate from its hinges when he was running late, yet he’s as gentle as a person can be when untangling his 2-year-old’s hair. The juxtaposition is both hilarious and endearing, and it’s one of the many reasons we simply cannot get enough of The Rock. There’s nothing the man can’t do – except, you know, grow his own hair.

Father Figures: Everything Fun

“This is Scott McLane – our favorite dad, husband and coach.

Scott works full time as an engineer, and in his off-time as the volunteer soccer coach for both our children’s soccer teams. He started with them in the rec program and transitioned to the travel program.

From the very first season when they were in kindergarten (shown below) through their transition to the more competitive travel program, he has put forth the same effort and dedication to ensure each child he coaches, including our own, has fun, learns, and develops into the best player they can be.

It’s a testament to who he is because on both our daughter’s and son’s teams he has players that have stayed with him from his very first season. His dedication has extended beyond our own children and he’s actually become the president of the soccer club. He is an amazing role model.

He makes everything fun. I can’t express just how much I love him for it and how proud I am to be married to him. Oh, and his dad joke game is excellent.”

– Laura McLane

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