Study Reveals Dads Take Refuge in their Bathrooms

Dad on Toilet Taking Break
(Getty/Thananit Suntiviriyanon/EyeEm)

Guys, before we get into this, let’s give ourselves a round of applause. As we head into 2020, more of us are more involved with our kids than ever, and we’re making great progress, both in our own efforts and in the way dads are perceived by the world at large. As a result we’ve started to take refuge in our bathrooms.

A 2018 poll of 1,000 British men revealed that one-third of them hide in their bathrooms to get a little peace and quiet. Which is not a great look. But also: no shit, Sherlock? The survey goes on to say that those men spend about 7 hours a year hiding from their families, which, again, is not what you like to see, but also seems like a low estimate?

The poll was commissioned by Pebble Grey, a bathroom expert (I don’t know what that means and I’m afraid to ask), and further revealed that men were retreating to the loo to look at their phones. Which: GUILTY! 45% say they rarely have any ‘me’ time and that their spouses don’t understand. Uh-oh.

I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I do exist in the world in 2019 2020, and I’m pretty sure moms feel exactly the same way we do, whether it’s justified (it is) or not. Of course, these situations aren’t mutually exclusive. Parenting, whether you’re a stay at home mom or a working dad, takes a lot of you, and work, whether you’re a stay at home dad or a working mom, does too.

Nobody wants to be the focus of a study that says they a) shirk their responsibilities and b) do it while sitting on the toilet. But the fact of the matter is, everybody needs to find some space for themselves somehow.

A spokesman for Pebble Grey agrees, clearly hesitating to pass judgment, “We all need a little bit of time to ourselves – to take stock or switch off completely.” Yeah, we do.

So sue us seeking out a safe port in the maelstrom of modern life. Maybe next time do a study on the ingenuity and resourcefulness of dads who’ve managed to find one.

Even if it is in the john.

Set Video From The Matrix 4 Shows High-Flying Stunt

High-Flying Matrix 4 Set Video
(YouTube/Is It Worth It?)

Over the past few months, since the announcement was made, most of the news we’ve gotten has revolved around the cast. We know that Keanu and Carrie-Anne Moss are returning. We know that Lawrence Fishburne and Hugo Weaving are not. We know that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, fresh off Watchmen, will be involved, as will Neil Patrick Harris, Jada Pinkett Smith, and the unfortunately only two-named Jonathan Groff (my money is on the Mindhunter star playing an evil agent).

We also know that The Matrix 4 is set to be released on the same day as John Wick 4, which should be quite the bonanza for both Keanu Reeves and Keanu Reeves fans.

But we have no idea what the movie is about, aside from the titular Matrix itself, how it connects to the previous films (hopefully it barely connects to Reloaded and Revolutions at all), or what’s up with Zion and the Architect and the Merovingian. (I apologize if those issues have been resolved, I have almost no recollection of the last two films in the series.)

We do, however, know there will be some crazy action because this is a Matrix movie. And because some footage of the filming has recently landed on the interwebs.

The footage doesn’t off all that much aside from the high-flying stunts that we’ve come to expect from the franchise. In the footage, which was taken during filming in San Francisco, we can see two black-clad individuals, presumably, Neo and Trinity (and more presumably Keanu Reeces’ and Carrie-Anne Moss’s stunt doubles), running and then jumping off of a roof.

Take a look:

Why they’re running, where they’re jumping to, who’s chasing them, we have no idea. (One theory is that Neo is somehow reborn into the Matrix and has to relearn the ropes.) How the stunt will actually translate to film is also a mystery. But I’m pretty sure it will look cool, and it’s nice to see that the fashions haven’t changed.

Next year, on May 21, 2021, we’ll find out what else hasn’t – or has – changed in the world of the Matrix. Stay tuned!

Man Creates Beer Pillow Because This is ‘Merica

Beer Pillow
(YouTube/BeerGoals)

Do you love beer? Do you like to sleep? If you answered yes to those questions, and of course you answered yes to those questions, you’re in luck!

There’s a hero out there who has found a way to combine two of your favorite things – drinking beer and being unconscious – into one delightful product. It’s called the “Beer Pillow” and it’s not even as sophisticated as it sounds. It’s not a plush, fluffy, insulated pillow surrounding a six-pack of your favorite microbrew.

No. This isn’t America, this is ‘Merica! And Mericans get what they deserve, which is literally a Ziploc bag full of Bud Light.

The invention was dreamed up by Phil, the man behind “Beer Goals,” a Facebook page and YouTube channel dedicated to drinking 50 beers from all 50 states.

His FB bio reads:

“I’m a beer drinking expert. What kind of craft beer do I like to drink? All of them. IPA’s, Lagers, Double IPAs, you name it. That is why I have launched BEER GOALS to attempt and catalogue drinking 50 beers from 50 states. I know what you’re thinking; ’50 beers sure is not a lot of beers.’ Not fifty beers total. Fifty beers in EACH state. That’s 2500 beers! Although, we can’t forget the District of Columbia. So that’s… 2,550 beers! Along the way I’ll be providing helpful insights into hunting down and finding tasty beverages to help you achieve your beer drinking goals.”

When it came to creating the beer pillow, he wants to show you “how to have the ultimate brew night sleep.” So if your beer-drinking goal was to drink while you slept, well, Phil’s got you covered in this video detailing what his “beer pillow” is and how you can score your own!

Does it look comfortable? No. When I wake up parched in the middle of the night, do I want a nice cold Bud Light? Of course not.

But does its existence make me happy? USA! USA! USA!

Artist Turns Infant Medical Helmets Into Works of Art

(Facebook/Lazardo Art)

A Washington State woman has been using her artistic talents to brighten the lives of thousands of babies and their families.

Back in 1996, a friend approached Paula Lazardo with a unique request. Their child would need to wear a medial helmet due to plagiocephaly — a common disorder causing a baby’s head to have a flattened appearance. The helmet would need to be worn for several months, so Lazardo knew it needed to be something special.

Once completed, a doctor saw her first creation and knew Lazardo’s talents could help so many more. The condition impacts around 10% of newborns in America, so while this was her first encounter with the medical helmets, it certainly wouldn’t be the last.

Since 1996, Lazardo has hand-painted over 3,000 of the typically mundane medical devices, all thanks to that initial interest by the treating physician. “He saw value in having the helmet painted for his clients,” Lazardo told HeartThreads. “It was just one of those snowball things… and now it’s virtually 99 percent of what I do is paint for babies! Which is the best job ever.”

Beyond brightening the lives of the children and likely everyone they encounter, her creations are unique to the owner. From motorcycle helmets to Captain America gear, the artist has created some truly incredible works, often in just 48 hours due to the nature of the equipment and its immediate need. But for Lazardo, it’s all worth it. “That’s what I love about the art that I’ve been able to do in my life: It’s always been for other people. It’s been able to make other people happy. That’s why I’ve got the best job!”

She has even created smaller helmets so that a child’s doll can have a matching cap.

Custom painted baby helmets
(Facebook)

With so many satisfied little customers, it’s easy to see why so many parents have turned to her over the years.

To learn more about her incredible work, visit Lazardo’s Facebook page.

Father Figures: Ready For This

I remember calling him after our third date. I knew I was in love with him already. My situation was complicated; I had a little girl of my own.

I asked him if he was sure he was ready for this.

“I want a family. I want you. I want her. I want to come home to you guys every day.” We stayed on the phone until we both fell asleep, and I’d never felt more peace.

At some point, my health tanked. I had a stroke 6 months after our wedding, and needed immense help during my recovery to do basic things. He fed me and never complained. He bathed me and never complained. He helped dress me every day, and still didn’t complain.

I thought back to that phone call. How I gave him an out and he didn’t take it then. I decided to give him another chance to walk away from this chaos he didn’t ask for.

I looked at him in tears and said, “If this is too much, the kids, the recovery, the weight you’re carrying for us, I understand. This is not how we planned to spend our first few years together.”

He was quiet for a moment… and then, “I planned to spend these years with you. I’m exactly where I want to be. I’m not going anywhere so you’ll have to do better than a stroke to get rid of me.”

He never shakes when faced with a struggle, and picks our family up when we have nothing left to hold us. I’m thankful he chose me, and her, and us.

We’ve since added two more daughters to the mix, and I’m thankful every moment he’s their dad.”

– Stashia Tracy

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

Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.

Study Shows Nearly Every Couple Argues Over the Thermostat

Couples Argue over Thermostat
(Vivint Solar)

No marriage is perfect.

My marriage isn’t, your marriage isn’t, George and Amal’s marriage isn’t, not even Blake and Ryan’s marriage is without its struggles. We are all different people, and no matter how well you know one another, there will always be conflict. Sometimes big, sometimes small, but there will always be issues of disagreement, and those issues are bound to be unique to your own relationship.

Except this one.

Almost all married couples argue about the thermostat. It’s the source of countless jokes, and memes, and moments in bad sitcoms because it’s true. It’s a stereotype for a reason. And now we have the science to back it up!

A company called Vivint Solar has published a report around thermostat arguments, and these numbers make a lot of sense.

75% of women and 74% of men admit to fighting over the temperature in the house, with the arguments breaking down in two ways: 33% think their partner keeps the house too cold and 31% think it’s too hot. 36% actually say it’s fine, so apparently they don’t need counseling UNLIKE THE REST OF US!

Helpfully, the study provides a little bit of guidance so as to not let the thermostat wars destroy your union. Vivint Solar enlisted Dr. Margaret Paul, a relationship expert, to offer some tips.

“What happens in conflicts like these, is that each person generally just wants to win—it can turn into a power struggle,” she says. “The way out of that is to be open to understanding not only their own feelings, but the other person’s, as well. It’s very interesting what happens when people are open to learning rather than just trying to win. When they’re caring about themselves and caring about the other person, then they can come to a resolution.”

What I think she means is: keep your paws off the thermostat and throw on a blanket!

That’s what 23% of the people who responded to this survey do, with 28% of women saying they’ll grab a blanket or a sweater and let it go. Only 17% of men are willing to raise that olive branch, with most men preferring to continue to argue. Probably for the make-up sex.

If you don’t want to fight and you don’t want to layer up, the study suggests that a temperature of 70 degrees is the perfect compromise, with both men and women agreeing on that number. I dunno though, just one degree less seems nice to me.

Ryan Newman, Dad of Two, Survives Crash at Daytona 500

Ryan Newman Survives Daytona Crash
(Instagram/little_newmans)

It can be easy to forget that famous people are still human. That actors and athletes and celebrities, despite seemingly glamourous lifestyles, are actually working professionals, with lives and families. And for some of them, particularly the athletes, their jobs involve a lot of risk.

Especially when that job involves racing a car at speeds over 200 mph.

Ryan Newman is one such professional, a NASCAR driver who participated in the Daytona 500 over the weekend. Ryan has a wife and two daughters, and Sunday afternoon could not have been easy for them. Newman was closing in on a victory at the fabled race when he was involved in a fiery crash and failed to immediately emerge from his car, which had viewers fearing the worst. Among those viewers was his wife.

After witnessing the crash, Newman’s wife, Krissie, with whom he’d just announced a separation after 16 years of marriage, tweeted her reaction. Hopefully, their two daughters weren’t also watching.

Krissie wasn’t the only one worried about her husband, as fans gathered outside the hospital awaiting word on his condition.

Thankfully, NASCAR announced that while Newman is in serious condition after the crash, his injuries are not life-threatening.

That’s promising news, especially for the two little girls Newman dotes on, as evidenced by his social media feeds, on which he shares images of hanging out with his kids and teaching them about the outdoors.

Clearly Newman relishes being a dad.

Our thoughts are with Ryan and his family and we’re rooting for him to make a full recovery.

Families Are Opening Their Homes to Foster Ailing Senior Veterans

Families Open Homes to Veterans
(YouTube/CBS This Morning)

Enlisting in the military is one of the truest sacrifices and one that few families fully understand. On top of that, outside of the requisite “Thank you for your service” and maybe the occasional seat-swap on a plane, support can be limited. So it’s always heartwarming when people make the extra effort.

One strong example is how some families are stepping up to help aging and ailing veterans. Tens of thousands of United States vets live in nursing homes, and thousands more are homeless, but now hundreds of families have started to open their homes to foster an elderly veteran.

The Medical Foster Home program pairs senior veterans who can’t live on their own with a family willing to take in and care for those who have served. The program is now in 44 states and foster families can take in up to three veterans to provide them a more comfortable place to receive care.

A spokesman for the program said it’s a long-term commitment and usually a permanent one for many families. They try to match veterans with homes in their hometown to keep things as familiar as possible, and currently, the program has more than 700 families involved.

One family told The Washington Post that it was an honor to have a veteran living under their roof. And the veteran said he loved his new family and wanted to ‘be with them till the day I die.’ The program is among the higher-rated ones in the VA and a spokesman told Southern Living magazine the vets and new caregivers become family and even go on vacations together.

“These people really are angels,” he said. “They’re doing such amazing things. Every vet deserves the right to live in a home and remain where they thrive.”

The slogan for the program is a fitting one: “Where our heroes meet angels.”

If you are interested in participating, you can contact your local VA.

Finally: A Driving Range You Can Actually Drive

(YouTube/John Imrie)

There’s something deeply therapeutic about pulverizing a golf ball and watching it fade seamlessly into the middle distance. John Imrie and his buddy Kurt acknowledge this, which is why they set out to create the world’s first mobile driving range.

The ingenious idea came about while the two men were road tripping across Europe. “We had turned the car into a boy racer,” John explained. “We made it look utterly repulsive and took it around 12 countries in 11 days to film videos for our YouTube channel.”

(YouTube/John Imrie)

The two buddies decked out the roof of the automobile with synthetic turf, transforming a once boring set of wheels into the nomadic golfer’s dream car.

“We have hit a few wild balls in the countryside,” John added. “But we’d like to put this car to good use and may be contacting some golf courses, driving ranges and companies to see how we can use this car to encourage more people to pick up some golf clubs and have a bash!”

(YouTube/John Imrie)

John and Kurt plan to take their ingenious, admittedly hideous creation to the North Coast 500, a 516-mile scenic route along the top of Scotland. Safe travels, gentlemen. Also double check the conversion rates in Europe, as they may yell a number other than “four.” 

Peep the video below to see how they pulled off this impressive feat of ingenuity.

Is the New XFL Actually Good?

Is the new XLF Good?

The first iteration of the XFL was pretty cool, all the way until play started and it was clearly another watered-down football retread. Yeah, they had a neat logo and cool ball, but it quickly fizzled. Which is why the XFL reboot flew under the radar for a lot of sports fans. With the bar set pretty low, and after an entertaining NFL postseason, there was next to no chatter about the XFL’s relaunch. And it turns out…it might actually be kind of good? While week 2 wraps up here’s my two cents on opening weekend.

One of the first things I noticed was the score displayed on the broadcast also has the spread and over/under listed. As sports gambling bills continue to march through state legislatures across the country, with more states legalizing it by the day, it seems crazy that the NFL and other sports haven’t adopted this yet. And now that we’ve seen it, it won’t take long for others to catch up.

The entertainment aspect was pretty on point for week one. The sideline interviews are pretty in your face, and maybe too in your face as one player did let loose an f-bomb. But there’s also the type of thing a fan might be interested in hearing, like an interview with a player that just messed up.

Some NFL players seemed to be tuning in and liking what they saw, especially when it comes to some of the league’s rules differences.

We saw some promising NFL prospects that never quite panned out getting another shot at football success, we saw some entertaining action and we even had the league’s first ejection.

Former All-Pro punter Pat McAffee was a hit as a sideline reporter, as the punter-turned-comedian-turned-podcast host went berserk after a beautiful punt was ruined by a special teams player.

And honestly, the new kickoff rule (among others) was pretty entertaining.

It was a strong start for a league that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and as we enter a bit of a dead period for sports (before March Madness), it could start to make a niche for itself with a few more entertaining weeks like its debut.