Screentime: The 6 Stages Of Ready Steady Wiggle

(Wiggles Wiki)

Stage 1: Nostalgia

Your kid points up at the screen “Watch Wiggles?” she asks. “Why not?” you think, smiling to yourself. You were perhaps a little old for them when the Wiggles first appeared on TV screens, but you remember them nevertheless. The smiling faces, the brightly coloured outfits, the fun yet educational songs. What could be more wholesome?

You throw on the show. It’s just as you remember it. The faces may have changed, but the smiles haven’t. Here they all are – Red, Yellow, Blue, Purple, singing the perfect blend of the classics: “Hot Potato,” “Fruit Salad,” “Apples & Bananas,” with some new stuff thrown in. It’s like seeing your favorite band do the perfect reunion tour.

(YouTube//gaywad53)

Stage 2: Confusion

Around episode 2 or 3, you start to notice something. This isn’t right. It can’t be. It’s just the same 8 or 10 song segments over and over again in different orders with short, dumb skits about the Blue Wiggle speaking in slow motion or some garbage. And there’s 52 episodes of this unwatchable hell. There’s no way it was like this when you were a kid.

Then maybe you do a little research and see that every Wiggle TV series ever, spanning over 20 years and 7 different titles, has been identical. It’s been this bad forever. This is when you start drinking.

(Youtube//The Wiggles)

Stage 3: Anger

By now you’re probably on episode 8 or 9. You’ve seen the same lip-synched video for ‘Toot Toot, Chugga Chugga, Big Red Car’ a minimum of 5 times. The hooky melody combines with your whisky-haze in a way that feels like seasickness. You’re starting to lose it.

This isn’t a TV show. You can’t just record an hours worth of footage, then keep re-ordering it to generate “new” “episodes.” If Game of Thrones only shot one battle per season and then just reused the footage every episode, people would riot!

The Wiggles isn’t a TV show. It’s a fucking fast food chain. Just churning out something that looks and tastes enough like the real thing. Dead-eyed employees shovelling reheated slop into a bag. They don’t care what’s in it, so long as overheads are low and you keep coming back. It’s disgusting.

(YouTube//The Wiggles)

Stage 4: Fear

You’re 20 episodes deep now, and something permeates the dark fog of booze. It’s Captain Feathersword, that irredemable bastard. He speaks to you. “Let’s Go To The Wiggle Show,” he cackles grotesquely. “Yes,” you find yourself thinking. “That sounds great.”

Suddenly you are whisked to a familiar, comfortable location. Footage from the live Wiggles show. The one bright spot in a sea of repetitious mediocrity. Sure, it’s the same old songs and all the footage in the season is from a single concert. Sure, it’s the same people doing the same dances. But suddenly, they’ve come to life. This is where the Wiggles thrive, surrounded by their fans–their devoted followers.

Then you see him, in the center of it all. The Blue Wiggle. There’s a glint in his eye. He knows something you don’t.

(YouTube//The Wiggles)

And you realize.

This isn’t a band, a TV show, or a fast food chain.

It’s a cult.

Anthony Field, the Blue Wiggle, created The Wiggles. All of this was his idea. He has been the driving force behind them for 27 years.

You pull out your phone, one eye on Anthony grinning at you from the TV, and google this demon. You begin to learn the Blue Wiggle’s dark secrets. The complete re-recording of albums to erase the existence of former bandmates. The Firing Of Moran. The punishing touring schedule. The fitness competitions. It’s all there.

The Blue Wiggle crafts everything to his whim, manufacturing an image, a brand, a message, all designed to cast a thrall over young minds. You see them all out there; the followers, dressed in the robes of their order, singing the sacred hymns along with their chosen leader.

(YouTube//The Wiggles)

Stage 5: Acceptance

But they aren’t dressed as Anthony. Even in your rye-soaked pallor you can see that the dominant color out there in the frenzied mob isn’t blue. It’s yellow. They’re not here for Him. They’re here for Her.

Emma Watkins, the Yellow Wiggle, dancing accross the stage, bow in her hair, genuine glee on her face. Everything is going to be okay.

(YouTube//The Wiggles)

You now know of Anthony’s machinations, and strongly suspect Lachy’s behind-the-scenes scheming and Simon’s blind obedience, but none of these things matter. Only the Yellow Wiggle matters. The whole sad affair is worth it for the genuine excitement and admiration on those kids’ faces. They love Emma. They love The Wiggles. And now, so do you.

(YouTube//The Wiggles)

Stage 6: Hands In The Air

Everybody clap *clap* *clap *clap*

Everybody sing, la, la, la, la, la

Bow to your partner, then you turn around, (yippie!)

Hands in the air, rock-a-bye your bear

Bear’s now asleep, sh, sh, sh

 

Bear’s now asleep, sh, sh, sh

(YouTube//The Wiggles)

Batman Universe Expands Again, With New HBO Max Gotham City Police Series

Gotham Police car
(Getty/ullstein bild)

Wonder Woman 1984 is on the way, and after Aquaman’s success, there will definitely be a sequel to that too. But based on last year’s Joker and now all the news coming around about the many different Batman projects – including both Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck’s potential return as different versions of the Dark Knight, it seems almost like DC is pivoting away from any attempt to mimic Marvel’s extended cinematic universe and putting all their money on the caped crusader.

The latest project is no different.

Matt Reeves is currently helming the next Batman adventure to hit the big screen, titled The Batman and starring Robert Pattinson, but it was gonna be a while even before the pandemic delayed production. But HBO Max, fresh off announcing Zack Snyder’s Justice League, is staying in the Batman business with a new TV show from Reeves, and based in The Batman’s universe.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Reeves is developing a police drama centered around the Gotham City that will appear in The Batman. Terrence Winter, who wrote on The Sopranos and brought Steve Buscemi’s Boardwalk Empire to HBO, will write and produce the new series. So at the very least, the pedigree is strong, and it will be exciting to see superheroes get the prestige TV treatment, especially after the success of Damon Lindelof’s (decidedly different) Watchmen.

“This is an amazing opportunity, not only to expand the vision of the world I am creating in the film but to explore it in the kind of depth and detail that only a long-form format can afford,” said Reeves in a statement. “And getting to work with the incredibly talented Terence Winter, who has written so insightfully and powerfully about worlds of crime and corruption, is an absolute dream.”

The show will be “set in the world Reeves is creating for The Batman feature film and will build upon the motion picture’s examination of the anatomy of corruption in Gotham City, ultimately launching a new Batman universe across multiple platforms. The series provides an unprecedented opportunity to extend the world established in the movie and further explore the myriad of compelling and complex characters of Gotham.”

This has already been done, on Fox, but that was a standalone show centered around Commissioner Gordon’s early days policing the city, with some appearances from young Bruce Wayne and a variety of origin stories for some familiar villains. This new venture will be directly tied to the movie universe, much like Marvel’s forthcoming collection of shows for Disney+. No word yet on whether Pattinson, Reeves’ Batman, or Jeffrey Wright, who plays Gordon in the movie, will appear, but that may depend on the success of the project, which is yet to be seen.

But one thing’s for sure: people can’t get enough of Batman and his universe, so building content around the popular superhero and his associated lore isn’t a terrible idea.

8-Year-Old Delights Delivery Driver by Greeting Him in Sign Language

8-Year-Old Delights Delivery Driver by Greeting Him in Sign Language
(Youtube/ Internet Refresh)

If you’ve ever traveled to a place where most people don’t speak your native language, you know just how unnerving it is to have a pretty significant communication barrier. Now imagine that this communication barrier wasn’t restricted to one location – it followed you everywhere, making generally straightforward interactions exceedingly complicated. This is a daily reality for many deaf people – some have learned to lip read, while others have developed different strategies for communicating effectively in a world geared towards hearing people.

Delivery driver Tim Joseph is all too familiar with both the struggles and pride that come with being a deaf person. Deaf culture is rich and vibrant, but it’s often overlooked by the hearing community. According to Gallaudet University, a key value of deaf culture includes the “perpetuation of Deaf culture through a variety of traditions, including films, folklore, literature, athletics, poetry, celebrations, clubs, organizations, theaters, and school reunions. Deaf culture also includes some of its own ‘music’ and poetry as well as dance.”

When 8-year-old Tallulah of Greater Manchester in England wanted to thank Tim Joseph, her favorite delivery driver, she decided to do so in a way that honored his deafness rather than simply seeing it as something to overcome. The adorable pair’s interactions started with Tallulah drawing Joseph a picture of a rainbow (which to this day is still hanging in the window of his delivery truck). Soon after, Tallulah gave Joseph something even more special.

Joseph recalled to BBC, “Tallulah realized I was deaf and then one day she surprised me when she signed to me, ’have a good day,’ I think she learnt sign language at school.”

Joseph then began to teach Tallulah simple signs such as “good morning”. Tallulah practiced and practiced, until one day, she absolutely nailed it – fortunately for us, Tallulah’s mom Amy Roberts caught the whole thing on camera. The delight in Joseph’s face is evident, as he celebrates Tallulah’s success by giving her a silent round of applause.

“I hope more people learn to sign and we bring more people together,” said Joseph. So do we! There is no better time to start than now.

25+ Baseball Facts For A’s Fans to Yanks (And Everyone In Between)

baseball facts
(Getty/New York Times Co.)

Everyone has a baseball memory. For some it’s all about childhood viewings of baseball movies that left a mark on us, for others, all about our dads coaching Little League.  More than memories, baseball fans (and sports fans in general) are amazing at keeping track of stats and facts. After all, they’re somewhat useful to keep in your back pocket. So, in case your pockets aren’t full enough already, here are some of our favorite baseball facts in the sport’s 150-plus year history.

1 Dock Ellis, the Pirates’ starting pitcher, pitched his first and only no-hitter of his career on June 12th, 1970… while high on LSD.

2. The first World Series was played between Pittsburgh and Boston in 1903 and was a nine-game series. Boston won the series 5-3.

3. The oldest baseball park still in use is Fenway Park, the home field of the Boston Red Sox, which debuted in 1912.

4. Thanks to Hurricane Irene, the record for the least amount of people at a baseball game was set in 2011 when the Florida Marlins played the Cincinnati Reds. Only 347 people attended the game. But, what devotion!

5. Minor league pitcher Jackie Mitchell is famous for striking out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in succession in the 1930s. <i>She</i> was promptly banned from Major and Minor League Baseball.

6. Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. became the first father and son to play in the major leagues as teammates for the Seattle Mariners in 1990.

7. On September 14, 1990, they hit back-to-back home runs, creating another father-son baseball first.

8. Japan has the largest pro baseball league outside the U.S.

9. Baseball bats in the minor and major leagues are made from wood. However, metal bats are used at the college level.

10. The first pro baseball game ever to be aired on television was on August 26, 1939, it was a double-header between Brooklyn and Cincinnati.

11. A “can of corn” is an easy fly ball. The term comes from when old-time grocers used their aprons to catch cans knocked from a high shelf.

12. The New York Yankees have won 26 World Series titles, which is more than any other team.

13. For the first half of the 20th century, major league teams barred African-Americans from participating in its baseball games.

14. African-Americans formed “Negro Leagues,” which had some of the greatest players of the century.

15. Bats all weigh the same, but may feel lighter or heavier when they are swung. The “swing weight” differs according to the distribution of mass in a bat.

16. Each MLB ball has 108 stitches. (The first and last stitches are hidden.)

17. Each ball is handsewn.

18. A ball is only used for six pitches and then it’s retired.

19. During a typical game, approximately 70 balls are used.

20. Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros holds the record for a player most often hit by a pitch.

21. The oldest player to hit a home run was Julio Franco. He was 47 years and 240 days old when he hit a home run for the Mets in 2006.

22. The last major league ballpark to install lights was Chicago’s Wrigley Field in 1988. Previously, the Cubs would only play daytime games, since their stadium didn’t have lights.

23. In 1930, Babe Ruth made $80,000, which is about $1 million after inflation.

24. The unofficial anthem of American baseball, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” is traditionally sung during the middle of the 7th inning.

25. “Cranks” was an early term for baseball fans in the late 1880s.

26. There’s a rule that states a pitcher must first wipe his hand on his uniform before he grips the ball for a pitch.

The Sandlot Cast Is Reuniting for a Special, Plans Disney+ Series

Sandlot Reunion
(YouTube/You're Killing Me with Patrick Renna)

It turns out that Josh Gad doesn’t corner the market on reunions of cast members from beloved flicks, especially ones that came out in the 90s.

Gad’s YouTube series “Reunited Apart” has focused mostly on classic 80s movies (with the LOTR episode being the one exception so far), but there are plenty of 90s movies that deserve to be celebrated too. One of those is The Sandlot, which is about a group of young kids bonding over baseball, Babe Ruth, and a scary neighborhood dog.

Recently, one of the stars of The Sandlot, Patrick Renna, who played burly catcher Hamilton “Ham” Porter, gathered his co-stars for a YouTube reunion. He also discussed plans for a new series on Disney+, where they’ll play parents with kids of their own.

“We all met on it, and all the guys are interested in it. The concept is we’re grown up and we have our own kids. And so it’s, there’s some cool angles to it.” It would take place in the 80s, Stranger Things style. More updates to come as the production ramps up!

While he awaits the series, Renna has been sharing secrets from the filming of the movie on his new series, “You’re Killing Me with Patrick Renna,” and after reconnecting with the cast during the movie’s 25th reunion, he finally coerced them to join him to reminisce about the making of the 90s favorite.

“We’re such great friends again, all of us, and it reminds me of what it was like filming the movie,” told EW. “We were such fast friends and they worked so hard to create that atmosphere. One of the deciding factors on casting any of us was that they would bring us out to make sure that we got along with the other guys. And because we were all such good friends in real life it showed through on the screen, and it’s just funny even 25 years later, we fell right back into it.”

Unfortunately, Mike Vitar, who played Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez, once again bowed out. “Anytime we do something I’ll send him an email and ask him and he’s usually like, ‘No, I’m gonna step back on this one,’ but he’s always really cool about it,” Renna said, but the reunion will be fun for fans just the same.

The reunion lands on July 15th. Check out the trailer:

‘The Wonder Years’ Reboot to Center Around Black Family in Alabama

The Wonder Years
(Warner Bros)

When I was a kid, people used to tell me I looked like Kevin Arnold. Kevin Arnold, played by Fred Savage, was the main character on The Wonder Years, a popular sitcom about a kid growing up in the late 60s early 70s. The wrinkle was that the show was narrated by that kid’s adult self, aka Home Alone‘s Wet Bandit, Daniel Stern.

The show offered a nostalgic look back at one of the most tumultuous times in recent American history, following young Kevin as he navigated junior high and high school, pining after his eternal crush Winnie Cooper, all while America dealt with the Vietnam War, the Summer of Love, and the Nixon Administration between 1968 and 1973.

The Wonder Years ran for six seasons and won many awards, including a Peabody and four Emmys. It remains a favorite of many guys my age who didn’t grow up in the 60s and 70s but could certainly relate to the growing pains of a young kid grappling with homework, big brothers, and puberty.

Of course, Kevin’s experience wasn’t exactly universal. And now ABC is moving forward with a version of The Wonder Years that centers around a middle-class black family in Montgomery, Alabama during the same time period. Lee Daniels, perhaps most well-known for directing Precious (Based on the novel Push, by Sapphire!), is shepherding the project. Fred Savage, the original star of The Wonder Years, will executive produce the show and direct the pilot.

Obviously, the focus on a black family will greatly alter the perspective of the show as will the southern setting. The Arnolds’ location was never revealed, as their town was meant to be a stand-in for a typical American suburb, but it’s not easy to understand that it didn’t reflect every American family’s experience. This new version of the classic sitcom will surely have a lot of interesting ground to tread, and access to this new viewpoint seems like a good idea given the events of the past few months.

Now, who wants to guess which actor will play the narrator?

Bryce Dallas Howard Talks The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda’s Soup [WATCH]

(Disney)

We recently sat down with Bryce Dallas Howard to chat about her new documentary, Dads—a film that highlights the joys and challenges of parenting through the eyes of six extraordinary fathers from across the globe as well as input from choice celebrity fathers.

It was Howard’s feature-length documentary directorial debut, but that doesn’t mean she is unfamiliar with sitting in the director’s chair. She also directed an episode of the wickedly popular Disney+ series, The Mandalorian – specifically, Chapter 4: Sanctuary.

Since dads (and plenty of non-dads) tend to be rather passionate about the galaxy far, far away, we didn’t feel right ending this interview without getting the inside scoop on her episode, Baby Yoda’s mysterious identity, and how it feels to be responsible for one of the most popular memes of 2019.

(Disney)

“I think it’s probably Baby Yoda who’s more responsible for that,” Howard corrected, humbly giving credit where it’s due. “Jon [Favreau] just really encouraged me to push the puppet and to see what the puppet could do and to have fun with Baby Yoda.”

Baby Yoda (aka, “The Child” to you sticklers out there) is one of the most popular characters from The Mandalorian and pop culture in general, and as it turns out, the showrunners totally anticipated that.

“Oh yeah, it matters where Baby Yoda is,” Howard remembers saying on set, anticipating audiences’ fascination with the pint-sized alien. “We can’t not have baby Yoda on camera and just assume people are going to be okay with that.”

“[Jon Favreau] is an improv guy,” she elaborated, describing how the famous soup scene came to be. “So he’s like, ‘What if Baby was there? What if Baby was drinking something? What if Baby took like a big, long sip?’ And then he’s like, ‘Do it with one hand, do it with two hands, do it…’ Just do it this way, that way.”

So, yes. That means, somewhere at Lucasfilm studios, there is an archive of dozens—if not hundreds—of clips of Baby Yoda sipping soup, each probably more adorable than the last. In fact, by taking that time to get the perfect shot, Howard set a new Star Wars record.

“Apparently, on my episode, there was a day where I shot more footage than any other film that Lucasfilm has ever done. There was one day on Rogue One with four units that came close. So there’s a lot of excess Baby Yoda footage.”

Howard claims she knows the mysterious green toddler’s identity, but when pressed, was less than forthcoming.

“Nope. I vowed that I was never going to use the name because if I use the name once on set, I would accidentally say it… Baby is ‘Baby.’ Baby is ‘Baby.'”

Looks like we’ll have to wait a few months for Season 2 of The Mandalorian just like everyone else before we get some answers.

You can watch our full Mandalorian interview with Bryce Dallas Howard below or check out the rest of our interview on fatherhood and Dads here.

24-Yr-Old Former Sanitation Worker Is Headed to Harvard Law

24-Year-Old Paid for College by Collecting Trash, Now He’s Headed to Harvard
(Twitter/RehanStaton)

Most of us, at one point or another, have been told that we can do anything we set our minds to. Now, this may be true in some cases – we can learn an instrument, become a better athlete, even get a decent job, assuming we’re willing to put in an insane amount of work. Even with all of the drive and effort in the world though, there are times that success just isn’t in the cards. Or, at times, success comes after many consecutive failures which makes it even more worthy of celebration. For 24-year old Rehan Staton, the sweetness of success could not have been any more thrilling because of just how many times it felt completely out of reach.

It all started when he was just 8 years old, far earlier than any of us should have to face the harsh realities of life. Rehan’s formerly normal household fell apart when his mom left and his dad moved out of the country. Suddenly, Rehan and his brother’s lives were turned upside-down. The brothers went from private school students to not knowing with any certainty where their next meal would come from. They went from a two-parent household to their father working up to three jobs at a time to try to keep a roof over the boys’ heads. In middle school, Rehan’s grades suffered severely due to stress at home and a teacher even offered to place the bright, but overwhelmed student in remedial classes.

This was not an option for Rehan’s dad, who knew his son was more than capable of keeping up with his peers. He got his son a tutor (an aerospace engineer who volunteered to tutor Rehan for free through the local community center), and for the rest of the year, Rehan was on the Honor Roll. His academic goals were secondary to his dreams of becoming a professional boxer, but in 12th grade, Rehan experienced yet another roadblock when he injured both shoulders. The frantic senior began applying to college since he was no longer able to pursue his boxing dream, but unfortunately, nothing panned out.

Rehan began working as a garbage man, but his peers quickly realized he had bigger dreams to realize. “It was the first time in my life people were lifting me up for the sake of lifting me up and not because I was good at sports,” Rehan recalled to CNN.

Rehan’s coworkers recognized his intelligence and wanted to help him reach his full potential. Eventually, word of his bright and gifted nature made it to the son of the owner of the company where Rehan worked. The owner’s son, Brent Bates, took a liking to Rehan and brought him to meet a professor at Bowie State University. Much like everyone else who crosses Rehan’s path, the professor was extremely impressed by the young man and even appealed to the admissions board to help him gain entry to the university. The universe finally gave Rehan a bit of good news, and he was able to begin working towards his undergraduate degree. To nobody’s surprise, he maintained a 4.0 GPA. He achieved so much success that shortly into his undergraduate career, Rehan set his sights on law school.

“Throughout my entire life … all the people in my life who I was supposed to look up to were the ones who always downplayed me and made me feel bad about myself,” Rehan reflected. “I had to go to the ‘bottom’ of the social hierarchy — that’s to say formerly incarcerated sanitation workers — in order to be uplifted.”

Rehan’s coworkers weren’t the only ones fully backing his academic pursuits, Rehan’s older brother Reggie even dropped out of school to help support his family and allow his gifted brother to focus more fully on his studies. Rehan transferred to the University of Maryland for his junior and senior year, and graduated in 2018. Invigorated by his success, Rehan began working in political consulting while studying for his LSAT and applying to law school. Finally, after all of the setbacks life threw at him, Rehan was accepted to not one, but multiple distinguished schools – he starts classes at Harvard Law School this upcoming fall.

Former Football Player Catches Toddler Thrown From Burning Apartment Building

Football Player Catches Baby
(Twitter/ChandranTheMan)

A former college football wide receiver made the biggest catch of his life over the weekend when he dramatically caught a toddler dropped from a burning apartment building.

Phillip Blanks heard the commotion outside the Arizona apartment building and quickly saw the fire. He didn’t even have time to put on his shoes, he just ran into action. He arrived on the scene just in time, to catch a toddler who was dropped from a third-story balcony in an attempt to save his life. Blanks was able to get there just milliseconds before the child would’ve crashed into the gravel below.

“It was all fast, it was a blur,” Blanks told MLive.com. “It was tunnel vision, I didn’t see anything but the baby.”

The video is heartbreaking but shows Blank’s heroics as he caught the falling 3-year-old. The child survived the blaze, as did as an 8-year-old girl as well. Tragically, their mother that helped them escape the blaze did not survive the apartment fire.

Blanks, who is currently a bodyguard, said his background is what helped him jump into action without hesitation. In addition to playing college football as a receiver at a school in California, Blanks served in the Marine Corps.

He told the Washington Post that his training taught him to “always be on high alert.” And he did credit his football skills in an interview with a local TV station.

“I know how to catch,” he said. “I learned how to catch a football. So I’ll give some credit to football.”

Ultimately, though, he deferred any praise, calling the real hero the child’s mother.

“She made the ultimate sacrifice to save her children.”

Father Figures: A Changed Man

“When we first met, we were both a mess, with little stability in either of our lives.

We have now been married for four years, and with two children. In that time, I have watched my husband blossom into the most beautiful person.

He went from the life of the party, short-tempered, with very little patience, to tea parties with our daughter. He gets up at 4:30 every morning to make it to work, then comes straight home and spends time with his family. He never asks for a boys’ night or time to himself because he gives whatever is left after the workweek to his wife and children.

He does the dishes, he folds the laundry, he writes sweet little love notes. He tucks our daughter in and dances EVERY single time she says, ‘Dance with me, Daddy!’ He hides his tired eyes and body from us and still offers to cook dinner when I’ve had a ‘rough day at home with the kids.’

He plays Barbies, sings Disney songs, rolls the ball and sits at the kid table while our children make pretend meals for him to gobble down. He gets up every Saturday and gets Mommy a coffee with our son, still a baby who wakes up at the crack of dawn, and he changes our son’s diaper late at night without waking the rest of us up.

He is the best dad and husband I could ever ask for. I see the weight he carries around, I notice the sacrifices and love he pours into our family each day. That is a love worth holding on to and showing appreciation for.”

– Allania Lathrop

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

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.