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Inspired by His Daughter, Dad Starts Nonprofit To Build Accessible Playgrounds

Dad founds Harpers Playgrounds to make play more inclusive
(harpersplayground.org)

Playing at the playground is a rite of passage for kids. Little kids look forward to playing on the big kid equipment, and big kids use playgrounds as a home base for all sorts of childlike mischief. For most, the worst imaginable thing is not being invited to take part in playground games – feeling left out because you have nobody to play with. But for kids with disabilities, being included is often not an option because playground equipment can be prohibitive for those with mobility issues. For so many kids, being left out is the default. It only took one visit to the playground for Portland dad G Cody QJ Goldberg to realize just how exclusive they really are – so he set out to fix it.

Goldberg’s daughter Harper was born with a disability that leaves her unable to walk on her own. Like any parent, Goldberg wanted his little girl to experience the thrill of playing at a playground just like he did as a kid. Upon arrival, excitement turned to crushing disappointment. Disappointment not only that Harper couldn’t access the equipment, but that a whole group of kids around the world have had to accept the fact that playgrounds just aren’t for them.

It wasn’t enough for Goldberg to help his own daughter, he wanted to give the gift of play to as many kids as possible. Just a year after the fateful playground incident where he watched his daughter’s walker get stuck in wood chips even before reaching the equipment, Goldberg founded Harper’s Playground, and began drafting his first round of inclusive playground designs.

The nonprofit’s website states, “We are not satisfied with how playgrounds are built today.” A simple, yet extremely powerful statement. Until you have a child with special needs, you likely don’t think about the everyday things that are prohibitive to those with physical limitations. We’ve come a long way in terms of making the world accessible, but the reality is, we have a long way to go.

 

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Merry-Go-Round!!!! Squeals of delight! #arborlodgepark.

A post shared by Harper’s Playground (@harpersplayground) on

“Harper’s Playground is driven by the vision of a world in which no one is left out,” the site continues. “We create playgrounds where people of all abilities can play together and thrive.”

So far, eight completed parks are listed on the Harper’s Playground website, and many more are under construction. Through fundraising, grants, donations, and a lot of hard work, Goldberg was able to give Harper the playground experience she deserved. In fact, the first project the ambitious nonprofit took on was adapting the very playground that inspired the movement.

 

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Happy Father”s Day to. All the Dads that #makemoreplay #playgroundfun #inclusiveplay #dadsplaytoo #arborlodgepark

A post shared by Harper’s Playground (@harpersplayground) on

Thanks to Goldberg, countless kids no longer have to deal with the obstacle of finding ways to stay busy as they watch their friends play on the playground. Instead, they now face a brand new set of obstacles – ones that they can easily climb over (or under, or around), and have an absolute blast doing it. Oh, and there are absolutely no wood chips.

Vin Diesel Dropped His Debut Single and It’s Not That Bad

Vin Diesel Debut Song
(Palm Tree Records/Universal)

A quarantine can change people. It forces you to see people and situations in a new light. Vin Diesel, an action movie star, has released his debut single as a musician. Take Vin away from movie sets, and all of a sudden he’s releasing peppy dance music.

His debut song was played first on Kelly Clarkson’s show and honestly, it’s kind of trippy. We’re used to seeing Diesel fist-fighting The Rock, or driving a car over an active volcano or some shit, not singing “And I’m not the type who likes to rush in/ But I want to.” It’s the first time the 53-year-old dad has released his music, but the dude can sing, even if we weren’t expecting to hear him sing about a new crush.

You get so used to seeing him growl and grimace, or give speeches about family, in Fast movies, that seeing him do something different isn’t bad, it’s just, it’s different (what a fantastic flex of my knowledge of the English language and it’s many descriptive words). It’s like seeing your teacher at the grocery store, you just aren’t sure how to act.

“Feel Like I Do” is a pretty happy and peppy debut for Diesel, who released it through DJ Kygo’s Palm Tree Records.

 

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Hope you… FEEL LIKE I DO All love, always…

A post shared by Vin Diesel (@vindiesel) on

“Another way to show you, or share with you, my heart,” Diesel said in his interview with Kelly Clarkson.

Diesel said he’s always loved music and needed something to do when away from the movie set. He joked in an interview with USA Today about merging his interests and creating a “Fast and Furious” musical. Right now, he said he’s “blessed” to partake in his latest endeavor.

“This is a new world for me, I am just grateful to be able to make music,” he said. You can get the single on Apple Music or wherever you listen to tunes.
On Instagram, Diesel said he was encouraged by his fans to step outside his comfort zone, and that he hopes he made them proud.

The NFL’s Best Quarterback Is About to Add Dad Strength to His Game

Mahomes Expecting
(Instagram/PatrickMahomes)

Nobody in sports is having a better time than Patrick Mahomes. Sure, 2020 has been unspeakably bad for many, but Mahomes is straight killing it. He won a Superbowl and was named the MVP (and had an awesome postgame moment with his dad).   He slayed the fabled Madden Curse. He gave his longtime girlfriend an engagement ring on the same day he got his Super Bowl ring. He signed a contract extension worth HALF A BILLION DOLLARS (potentially). He became a part-owner for the Kansas City Royals. And soon, the Superbowl MVP quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs will be getting an even more impressive title: Dad.

Mahomes and his fiancé announced this week they were expecting their first child.

 

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❤️

A post shared by Patrick Mahomes II (@patrickmahomes) on


Everything is coming up Mahomes. Sure, an incredible year off the field. But he also earned the richest contract in sports history and is still on top of his game, as he has easily been the best quarterback in this young NFL season with nine touchdown passes and zero interceptions.

And once you add dad strength to that? Look what it did for Mike Trout. Mahomes may never lose another game. Congrats to the happy couple and their future super-athlete.

 

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PG-13❕ #oops😘

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Foreign Dad Dresses Like Tooth Fairy After Wife Claims It’s Tradition in America

Dad Convinced to Dress Like Tooth Fairy by Wife
(TikTok/michelenarose)

Losing a tooth as a kid was the best (though it’s significantly less fun as an adult). Putting your precious baby tooth under your pillow, and trying as hard as you could to stay up long enough to catch the tooth fairy in the act. It never worked, but it didn’t stop us from trying. When Michelena and her husband Uzi’s oldest son lost his first tooth, Michelena decided to have a little fun with her Israeli husband.

Michelena managed to convince Uzi, who’s been living in America for the past 15 years, that a parent has to dress up like the tooth fairy whenever their kid loses a tooth. I mean, of course this never came up in conversation before – out of the couple’s three kids, Avichai, the oldest, was the first to lose a tooth. So the extremely agreeable Uzi figured he simply had a lot more more to learn about American culture, and off they went to the costume store.

We will be forever grateful to Michelena for capturing the whole thing and posting it to TikTok, where the adorable video has accumulated over a million views in two weeks. The caption read, “When you tell your foreign husband that in America, he has to dress as the tooth fairy when a kid loses a tooth.”

The video opens with Uzi walking quietly up the stairs in a tutu, long white gloves, a purple wig, fairy wings, and a tiara. Whispering, Michelena tells Uzi that the tooth is under the pillow in a plastic bag. They try to keep their voices down so their son won’t wake up, but unsurprisingly, they can’t stop laughing.

@michelenaroseWhen you tell your foreign husband that in America, he has to dress as the toothfairy when a kid loses a tooth! ##fyp ##fypシ ##foryou ##foryouu 😂♬ original sound – Michelena Rose

“Thank you for your tooth!” Uzi jokes, pretending he’s dangling a plastic bag. It might be the outfit, the absurdity of the whole situation, or Uzi’s incredible accent that makes it sound like he’s saying “toot” – but at that moment, everyone completely loses it.

“You skip, like I told you,” Michelena says. What a legend. “Should I take my socks off?” replies Uzi, pointing down at his plain white socks. Impressively, socks are the only part of his outfit that isn’t completely on point – but he leaves them on, and heads towards the bedroom.

It may not be a real American tradition to dress up like the tooth fairy when your kid loses a tooth, but maybe it should be. You have to admit, Uzi made it look pretty dang fly.

Uncle Phil Crashing “Family Matters” is the Smile Inducing Clip You Need to Watch

Uncle Phil crashes Family Matters set
(Youtube/ Life was better in the 90s)

For TV and movie lovers alike, few things are more exciting than those rare occasions where our favorite characters come face to face. Whether those meetings come in the form of a crossover episode or something brand new, we can’t get enough of these unexpected encounters. Generally, it’s the viewer that gets to experience the absolute delight of beloved on-screen personalities coming together – but in a recently resurfaced Family Matters clip, it’s the cast who’s in for a shock.

Family Matters was one of those classic ’90s (ok, well it premiered in 1989, but ran through 1998) shows that we loved for being relatable. The Winslow family is full of fun and endearing characters, and the show didn’t try to be anything more than a goofy family sitcom. The creators of Family Matters didn’t shy away from covering very real issues, but they also weren’t preachy about it. Instead, they made you feel like you weren’t alone. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fit into a similarly lovable category, following yet another family that we all dreamed of running away to live with at some point.

Recently, a video resurfaced showing two of our favorite 90s TV dads coming together. One of them, though, had no idea this incredible TV moment was about to happen. In the scene, Richie Crawford runs in with his new friend, Little G, and immediately introduces him to his Uncle Carl. Carl greets his nephew’s new friend, who stares momentarily before handing Richie some cash and conceding that Uncle Carl does in fact look like the dad on Fresh Prince.

Seconds later, Uncle Phil (James Avery, RIP) himself walks in. As soon as Carl (Reginald VelJohnson) processes that James Avery is standing casually in the doorway of his fake living room, his eyes light up and his mouth drops like a kid who was just told he no longer has a bedtime on weekends. VelJohnson, unable to contain himself, covers his enormous grin and shuffles hilariously out of the frame.

We see actors experience a range of emotions while playing their roles, but there’s something so endearing about watching them experience pure and genuine emotion. Whoever is digging through old footage of 90s TV, more content like this, please.

Man Creates Candy-Delivering Robot to Save Neighborhood’s Halloween

Candy Robot
(Courtesy Luke Keyes)

Halloween will be different this year, but it doesn’t have to mean canceling trick-or-treating. It just means trying a little harder sometimes, or being a little more creative. Exhibit A, a man in Austin who has perfected a way to hand out candy and maintain social distance, with the help of his robot.

Halloween is a great holiday for kids, and dads usually go hard to make it special (and take their cut of the candy).

Luke Keyes, a software engineer, said he and his wife really love Halloween. Every year they run a “Haunted Science Lab” in their garage, which has become a neighborhood hit. So much so that kids had already been asking the couple about the 2020 version. But then COVID, so Luke got creative.

“We were torn because we knew someone who died of COVID early on, and I have allergy-induced asthma,” he told The Dad, “but we love Halloween and love seeing how our haunted garage helps bring the neighborhood together.” He said he came up with a “candy cannon” that shot out candy like confetti but didn’t think that would be a practical solution to the holiday (although he did use it as his wedding and to entertain neighborhood kids at other community events).

Then he arrived at a solution. Enter Artie, his robot. Keyes has been working on his robot for several years (as an 80s kid, he said he was inspired by the many robots in movies), and takes him to STEM events around town, so he’s seen how kids will interact with it. He figured out he could adjust his height, make him look friendly, and drive him around to kids’ houses in the neighborhood to deliver candy. The neighborhood is even talking about possibly having a Halloween parade, with Artie as the grand marshall and other neighbors following to throw candy out to kids at their driveways.

Ultimately, Keyes said he hopes people can find creative ways to celebrate in their own community, even if they don’t have an Artie at the ready.

“I just want to make this year memorable for all the kids in a good way, and I’m glad I can use Artie to do that,” he said. “To me, Halloween is even better than Christmas. With Christmas, you give gifts to friends and family. With Halloween, you give gifts to everyone.”

And don’t worry, when it comes to candy, Keyes and Artie are giving out the good stuff.

Boy Tries To Sell Xbox To Buy His Sister a Present, Community Steps up To Help

Boy tries to sell xbox to buy sister birthday present
(Facebook/elkhart online garage sale)

They may fight seemingly non-stop, they may poke fun at each other or play elaborate pranks, but there’s nothing quite as pure as the bond between siblings. Recently, a 13-year-old from Elkhart, Indiana took to Facebook to sell his Xbox. When someone from the Facebook group started asking questions, Ashton Wagoner explained that something (or someone) in his life was more important than his beloved gaming system – his sister.

When Ashton Wagoner logged onto Facebook in mid-September, he posted his Xbox to a community garage sale page for a fair price. The post read, “Works perfectly fine comes with three games all the cords and one wired controller lowest is $130.”

Impressive entrepreneurial spirit for someone who, until this year, needed parental permission to watch the 4th Harry Potter movie. A 13-year-old boy giving up his Xbox of his own free will is unusual, at best. A curious member of the Facebook group realized just how strange it was for a kid to get rid of his gaming system (in the middle of a pandemic, no less), and decided to get some more information.

A Facebook user named Steve commented in response to Ashton’s post, “Hey kid… what you need the money for? I see you’re selling a bike too… What’s up?”

In the best imaginable response, the big-hearted big brother explained, “It’s my baby sis 1 bday sat so I’m trying to get her a present and trying to get a new bike.”

Yes. A 13-year-old boy tried to sell his Xbox, AND HIS OWN BIKE, to surprise his baby sister with a bike of her own. In under a week, Ashton’s post has been shared over 19,000 times. People from all over the world started pitching in to help Ashton make his sister’s first birthday a memorable one. According to Ashton’s dad, the generous teen collected over $4,500.

Ashton Wagoner and I shopping for his baby sister..

Posted by Angee Joyner on Friday, September 18, 2020

Ashton’s lucky little sister isn’t just getting a bike – he also bought her a kid’s electric car, a Mickey Mouse costume, and more. Oh, and he got to keep his Xbox.

Live-Action Lion King Getting a Sequel That’s Also a Prequel

Lion King Live-Action Sequel
(Disney)

Back in the day, Disney was really stingy with sequels, especially when it came to their animated movies. There was no Snow White 2, or Cinderella 2, or Aristocats 2, and when they did make the occasional sequel, to Aladdin or one of their modern classics, they went straight to video.

It was clear the studio didn’t want to sully their impressive track record with cheap cash-ins. Even Pixar, which Disney acquired, seemed reluctant to do sequels at first before they opened the floodgates to multiple Toy Storys and Cars movies. Disney has softened their stance – even Frozen got a sequel! And now they’re apparently going to make sequels to their live-action remakes.

The live-action Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau, was a big hit last summer, despite the fact that no one ever talks about it. Maybe the sequel will fare better, as it was just announced that Barry Jenkins, who directed the Best Picture-winning Moonlight, is directing a script from Jeff Nathanson, who also wrote the 2019 version.

Not much is known about the movie, but it will use the same technology as last time to make the talking and singing animals as realistic looking as possible, and apparently, it will tackle Mufasa’s origin story.

Deadline reports that the movie will expand the mythology of the Lion King universe, looking back on Mufasa’s life while also continuing to follow Simba. Shades of Godfather II!

Jenkins seems excited to tackle what is sure to be another Disney blockbuster, after having grown up on them like just about everyone else.

“Helping my sister raise two young boys during the ’90s, I grew up with these characters,” Jenkins said. “Having the opportunity to work with Disney on expanding this magnificent tale of friendship, love and legacy while furthering my work chronicling the lives and souls of folk within the African diaspora is a dream come true.”

No word yet on whether or not the cast, which included Donald Glover and Beyonce, will be returning, or when the movie will be released.

Joaquin Phoenix Names Son ‘River’ After Late Brother

Joaquin Names Son River
(Getty/Dianna Whitley)

There are plenty of “what could have been” stories in Hollywood history, many of them focused on casting what-ifs, but some of them are based around a tragedy.

What could have been if Heath Ledger, after his iconic performance as the Joker, hadn’t accidentally overdosed? What could have been if James Dean hadn’t died in a car crash after starring in a mere three movies?

What could have been if River Phoenix, one of the most promising young actors of his generation, hadn’t died at the Viper Room at the age of 23? Maybe his career wouldn’t have been similar to the one his little brother Joaquin has made for himself. Unfortunately, we’ll never find out.

Over the weekend, Joaquin and his partner Rooney Mara welcomed their first child and named him River. Director Victor Kossakovvksy revealed the name after a screening of his documentary Gunda, which Phoenix produced, telling the crowd, “He just got a baby by the way … A beautiful son called River.”

It’s clear Joaquin had much admiration for his older brother, and naming his first-born after him is a touching tribute to a talented young actor who never had the chance to have a full career. Perhaps it wouldn’t have been all that unlike Joaquin’s impressive resume.

Joaquin won an Oscar for his role as the Joker in last year’s Todd Phillips movie, and he’s consistently been one of the most interesting and acclaimed actors of the decade. His older brother died before he had a chance to win an Academy Award, but his performances in Stand By Me, Running on Empty, and My Own Private Idaho suggest it wouldn’t have been long.

He may have never won an Oscar, but his memory lives on.