The Heartwarming Origin Story Behind the Viral 9-Yr-Old ‘Anthem Girl’

The Anthem Girl Story
(Instagram/madisonbaezmusic YouTube/CBS Los Angeles)

Having a chance to sing the national anthem is a dream for performers of every age. Being able to do it multiple times likely means you’re one of the most well-known musicians in the world — or nine-year-old Madison Baez.

While her name may not ring any bells, Madison is known as “The Anthem Girl” by fans at Dodger Stadium, a monicker that may come as a surprise considering the talented young performer only began singing six short years ago. But it’s the reason why she started that has people around the world singing her praises.

Back in 2013, Madison’s father Chris was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. The next several years were riddled with chemotherapy appointments and surgeries, but Madison was right by her father’s side. “Madison starting singing to me at my hospital bedside, at home though all my chemo treatments,” Chris told Los Angeles affiliate CBSN. “Her amazing voice developed from the last six years of her singing to me to help me get though my diagnosis.” She began learning new songs to pass the time. “She saw how uplifting it was, even at 3 years old,” Chris told Dodger Insider last July. “She understood I’m making dad feel good.”

At age 7, Chris taught his daughter the national anthem. Flash forward two years and watch as Madison belts out a rendition that would have even the most seasoned progressional in awe of her raw talent.

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A return appearance by 8 yr old Anthem Girl Madison Taylor Baez for the LA Dodgers NLDS Playoffs? What do you think? She fired up the 56,000 fans and all the Dodger Players for a Big Win this past Father’s Day on a National televised sold out game. #anthemgirl for the playoffs Go #dodgerblue Stay Tuned!!_________________________________________________#newsvideo #dodgerstadium #singer #singerslife #singingvideos #anthemgirl #ladodgers #bestsinger #youngsinger #dodgers #dodgerfans #ellendegeneres #mlb #kidsinger #viralvideos #singersspotlight #redmicrophone #dodgersgame #dodgernation #dodgersbaseball #news #cbs2news #nbc4la #abc7eyewitness #singerslife #mlb #fox11news #carlahoolcasting💙💙💙

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Last Friday, over 50,000 fans watched as the brave girl give it her all, leaving all in attendance amazed by the soulful sounds coming out of such a young performer. A moment that began with a daughter just wanting to spend time with her dad has now spread to television screens and news sites across the country.

While her latest rendition has gone viral, the nine-year-old is now a vocal veteran, having performed the anthem for the LA Rams, the Los Angeles Lakers, the LA Galaxy, and even the Harlem Globetrotters.

While this may be the first time you’ve heard of Madison Baez, it’s likely not the last. As for Chris, the proud papa has been cancer-free for just over a year now, with all signs indicating he’ll be around to see her perform for many years to come.

REJOICE: Hot Dog Flavored Beer Is Here

Hot Dog Beer
(Sheetz)

It doesn’t get much better than a beer in one hand, hot dog in the other. (Unless it’s in your pillow.) It’s basically “10 and 2” for cookouts. But haven’t you ever wished that perhaps, someday, maybe we could combine the two? No? Never even crossed your mind? That actually sounds sort of gross to you?

Well, too bad. Because Sheetz, a popular convenience store/restaurant based in Pennsylvania, has rolled out a limited edition craft beer that’s brewed with, yes, hot dog.

Last summer, Sheetz got together with Rusty Rail Brewing to release its first store-brand beer, Project Coffee Hopz, brewed with their very own Sheetz Brothers Sumatra coffee beans.

(Sheetz)

Later in August, they broke ground with Project Blueberry Muffinz, which is exactly what it sounds like. A morning beer if we’ve ever seen one.

(Sheetz)

But Sheetz has really outdone themselves this year. Teaming up with Pennsylvania’s own Neshaminy Creek Brewing, they rolled out a brand new ABV India Pale Ale. Light. Crisp. Dry-hopped with Nugget and Centennial hops.

Oh, and hot dogs. They tossed a bunch of Sheetz brand hot dogs in the brew kettle. Yep.

Introducing…

PROJECT HOP DOGZ

(Sheetz)

The beer, described by Sheetz as “refreshing and dry, with delicate hop flavors of citrus and pine,” hit shelves at 128 locations across Pennsylvania this memorial day weekend.

“Don’t worry, the beer does not taste like hot dogs!” reassures Neshaminy’s head brewer, Jason Ranck. “We thought it was just a fun concept and the perfect beer for pairing with Sheetz Hot Dogz and warm-weather activities.”

Sheetz and Neshaminy’s hope to spread some much-needed good energy with this otherworldly concoction. “[It’s] a surprise that’ll engender smiles, laughter, and conversation—something we could all use more of right now,” Jason continued.

Very touching. Cheers to these innovators. Now back to the lab. August is just around the corner and we still don’t have a beer that tastes like new car smell.

Click here to see if Project Hop Dogz is available near you. And remember, dog responsibly.

George Lucas Admitted Boba Fett Survived Return of the Jedi but Palpatine Didn’t

Boba Fett Survives
(Disney)

There are few creators out there like George Lucas. An experimental filmmaker who helped launch the blockbuster era with his groundbreaking space fairytale, Lucas will forever be revered as the man who created Star Wars, the most enduring pop-culture franchise of the past 50 years.

He’ll also forever be vilified as the man who ruined it, by having Han shoot first, by inexplicably adding a musical number to Return of the Jedi, and for creating the sequels. Lucas, perhaps tired of being attacked by increasingly rabid fans, sold Star Wars to Disney, and for a while, people seemed happy. Until The Last Jedi, and Solo, and The Rise of Skywalker soured many fans on the new Star Wars too.

When your story gets this huge, there’s simply no pleasing everyone.

Disney keeps trying though, clearly tailoring some of ROTS’ moments to fans upset by Rian Johnson’s radical changes in TLJ, and with The Mandalorian, the Star Wars universe’s first live-action TV show. It was recently announced that the second season of the Disney+ show will fill in some of the backstory surrounding Emperor Palpatine’s resurrection and that it will feature Boba Fett, another character long-thought vanquished in Return.

Some of these new ideas seem like they couldn’t possibly have Lucas’s blessing, but it turns out it’s not that simple.

Lucas is actually fine with Boba Fett having survived the Sarlacc pit, and even told an old colleague as much, as that colleague revealed in a Reddit AMA.

Yes, he does. I have been in meetings with George where he confirms that Fett survived. If it comes from George then it’s true!

But the man who created the Jedi, the Death Star, and midichlorians, is less down with the Emperor’s return.

Years ago, Ian McDiarmid, who has played Senator Palpatine/the Emperor across all 9 movies, admitted that Lucas once told him that the Emperor was indeed dead at the end of Return. Although, Lucas also allowed for one possibility: that the Emperor could be cloned back to life. Which is indeed what happened in the last movie – or so we’ve been told via other means.

Star Wars has been out of its creator’s hands for some time now, but he will never fully be free of it. And based on some of the “new” ideas at play in a galaxy far far away, the feeling is mutual.

“Baby Shark” Immortalized on Washington Nationals World Series Ring

Baby Shark World Series Ring
(Twitter/jjalcantara)

Championship rings are one of the great traditions in sports. Sure, they mostly all look the same in the end, just a massive collection of diamonds around the team name and year, but the Washington Nationals have something on their championship rings that no other team can claim: Baby Shark.

Yep, the 2019 World Series Champions unveiled their ring design earlier this week, and it was mostly standard fare. More than 100 diamonds, some rubies, the players’ numbers, and etched on the inside of the ring…Baby Shark holding up the championship trophy. ‘’

Baby Shark became a fan favorite once Gerardo Parra started using the internet’s favorite song for his walk-up music. It became an unofficial anthem for the Nationals as they marched through the MLB playoffs en route to their World Series win.

The ring also features the team’s slogan of “Go 1-0 Everyday.” But let’s be honest, as the franchise fondly remembers their first World Series, they won’t remember that. They will remember the summer of Baby Shark, and will doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo their way to reliving an incredible run.

The Fruit Snack Challenge Puts Toddlers’ Patience to the Test

#FruitSnackChallenge
(YouTube/Sesame Street)

I’ve never seen a challenge my kids were more destined to fail.

Recently, social media has been circulating something called “the Fruit Snack Challenge,” and it exploded in popularity after a few celebrities posted the results of their children’s attempts.

The challenge is as follows: parents put a bowl of fruit snacks, or candy, or something equally enticing, in front of their toddler, and then warn them not to eat any until they get back from the other room. Needless to say, not every child manages to resist. Frankly, I’m astonished any child is able to hold off!

Kylie Jenner explains to her daughter that she can have three chocolates from an enormous bowl, but only after she Mommy from the bathroom. The adorable little Stormi steels herself for the challenge, and when she senses her resolve crumbling, she even employs a little sing-songy hack to maintain her composure. Impressive. Most impressive!

 

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Things don’t go quite so smoothly for Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade’s cute kid, who barely waited for Mom to stop talking to pounce:

Musician Thomas Rhett’s daughter powered through:

 

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After pool hair, ballet outfit & #toddlerchallenge 🌈💕 #soBERYpatient

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With those videos going viral, it didn’t take long for non-celebs to tempt their kids, with varying degrees of success:

A few people even tried it with their dogs!

And then Cookie Monster got in on the action:

Do you think your kids could pass the test?

Miami Dolphins Converting Stadium Into Drive-In Movie Theater

Dolphin Stadium Drive-In
(3D RENDERING BY AZEEZ BAKARE STUDIOS)

Drive-in movie theaters are a hot commodity these days.

Staples of yesteryear, those parking lots where people gathered in their cars to watch a movie, together, but apart, have largely vanished from the country. By the time I was a kid in the mid-80s, the one drive-in theater that existed in my town was mostly known for hosting a local flea market, and I didn’t actually attend a drive-in movie until a few years ago, on vacation.

Nowadays, with real movie theaters being shuttered to help flatten the curve and limit the spread of the coronavirus, drive-in movies are seeing something of a resurgence. It’s a way for people to get outside (in their cars) and be social (while socially distancing), which is a bit of a rarity itself during the quarantine. The problem is, the facilities don’t exist anymore. Yet.

The Miami Dolphins, one of the most storied franchises in the history of the NFL, boasting both the league’s only undefeated season (17-0!) and its best quarterback of all-time (Marino baby!), are helping change that, at least in the short term. They’re converting their dormant stadium into a drive-in movie theater.

The NFL’s off-season has been suspended, and the regular season is in doubt as sports leagues across the world try to figure out the most responsible ways to resume play without endangering their players and fans. This means Hard Rock Stadium, where the Dolphins play, is currently not being used. Which makes it a perfect place to put on a movie!

“We’ve spent several weeks planning this to be able to provide people with a safe option to go out and enjoy movies, classic Dolphins content, concerts, and celebrate 2020 graduates,” said Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium Vice Chairman and CEO Tom Garfinkel in a press release. “It’s a fundamental human need to physically experience and celebrate events and experiences together, and we’re trying to provide options for everyone where they can be safely socially distant and socially present at the same time.”

The Miami Herald reported that the Dolphins are using their stadium to show movies in two different ways that are suited to social distancing. The two “Outdoor Theaters” will include an open-air theater and a drive-in theater, via which they’ll present classic movies and “classic Miami Dolphins content,” the majority of which will surely be from the 70s and 80s and also will include some future footage from the 2020s when Tua suits up and we go undefeated again FINS UP!

The stadium will house 230 cars, you can order food and drink, and restrooms will be open. Regardless of who you root for, it sounds like a really cool idea, and probably the most fun Dolfans will have in their football stadium in quite some time. No schedule is available just yet, but you can sign up for alerts at hardrockstadium.com/theater.

Henry Cavill Lives! and May Return to Play Superman in Future DC Movies

Henry is Back
(DC)

Come with me to a simpler time. It was only a few years ago, before the coronavirus, before another election was looming, before the Snydercut became real. It was just after Justice League had hit theaters and performed not so well, and it seemed Zack Snyder’s grip on DC’s movie universe was loosening, as were Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill’s roles as Batman and Superman.

Affleck did indeed leave the superhero universe, but Snyder’s demise may have been exaggerated – especially if next year’s HBO Max Snydercut performs well. And now it seems that Henry Cavill may not be done portraying the Man of Steel either.

Yesterday, news surfaced that Cavill was in negotiations to reprise his role as Superman, only, and somewhat strangely, not in a Superman movie. Talks have centered around Cavill appearing in other DCEU movies, like Shazam 2 (which featured a Cavill cameo that ended up being cut to remove his actual face), Black Adam, and Aquaman 2.

Deadline broke the news, emphasizing that Superman won’t be in Wonder Woman 1984 or Suicide Squad 2, and isn’t set to appear in Matt Reeves’s forthcoming The Batman. Beyond that, it sounds like Cavill could be coming back as Superman in future DCEU films.

On one hand, this makes sense. One of the problems the DCEU has had is forcing characters together before they’ve had a chance to breathe on their own, and having a new actor play Superman in small parts before he’s been introduced in a standalone Superman movie would be awkward at best and confusing at worse. That said, it seemed that, with the success of Wonder Woman and Aquaman, Warner Bros. was moving away from Zack Snyder’s darker vision, and retaining Henry Cavill – not to mention releasing the Snydercut – may be an indication that they aren’t entirely ready to change course.

More news is sure to come, especially since none of these movies can start – or resume – production until Hollywood is out from under COVID-19. No word yet on whether the mustache will make an appearance…

Deadpool 3 May Not Happen as Co-Creator Trolls Disney

Deadpool Trolls Disney
(Instagram/robliefeld)

Rob Liefeld is certainly a polarizing figure in the comic world. The co-creator of Deadpool has been praised and criticized in equal measure since gaining prominence in the 90s. But one thing you can say about him is he doesn’t adhere to the corporate soundbites that often plague public figures. He’s been extremely vocal about his grievance towards Disney (and, in turn, Marvel) since they purchased the rights for Deadpool from Sony. Here’s what he had to say in regards to a third Deadpool movie.

I blame Marvel…blame Marvel that that hasn’t happened yet. They are the reason it isn’t happening. Whatever conundrum or it didn’t fit into your master plan, just commission it. Okay, commission it.

He went on in another interview:

Do I know that there is no movement on a Deadpool 3 right now? I know that. Yes. And does that worry me? No. Not at all. What I did was I answered a question honestly. And what I learned this week is just lie. Just tell people everything is lollipop and unicorns and rainbows and you’ll be better off in your life because people want to be lied to. Just because some guy goes, ‘Yeah, We’re still moving along’ that’s code for ‘There’s nothing to see here.’

So in case his views on the matter weren’t adequately explained, Liefeld took to his Instagram to share a very cryptic piece of fan art that has us all scratching our heads. What could it mean???

Deadpool-Mickey-Mouse-Art-Rob-Liefeld
(Instagram/robliefeld)

It took us a while to really break down this image, but it appears that Deadpool has shot the beloved character of Micky Mouse…through the forehead….and seems to be holding him upside down by the tail. If you really look closely you can see the blood pouring out of the Disney character’s (that part is important) head.

We don’t want to be presumptuous or anything, but our gut tells us that Rob Liefeld is expressing some sort of, we’ll call it dissatisfaction, towards Disney. (Please chime in the comments below if we are missing some sort of deeper message.)

Liefeld has also taken to Twitter to point out how bad COVID-19 must be hurting Disney for them to re-open their parks at reduced capacity:

Whether or not this will affect the movement of Deadpool 3 is unclear. According to Liefeld there is no movement on Deadpool 3 even though it has already been confirmed to be in the works—and with an R-rating. Ryan Reynolds has also been optimistic. In an interview with Jimmy Fallon, Reynolds said:

“Deadpool was Fox and now it’s in the hands of Marvel over there at Disney… I see infinite possibility in either version. If Deadpool were to be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I think it would be explosive and amazing. What a sandbox to play in. If Deadpool continued to get to just do his own thing and be his own thing, also just infinite possibilities.”

So it appears the whole project is still very much up in the air. We’ll definitely keep you updated on further developments.

Famous Dad Poems to Inspire Your Father’s Day Card Message

dad poems
Morsa Images/Getty

We know plenty of dads that are sometimes goofballs or hard-asses, but even the burliest of dads have a soft side. (You have one, too. We’ve seen it.) Some like meaningful quotes about fathers, some like funny quips about fatherhood, and some even like poetry. Luckily, poets like their dads in return and have been writing about their fathers for centuries. And even if you skip over all the ones about less-than-awesome dads, you’re still left floating in a sea of love and hero worship. Don’t you think your pops would like to see a little bit of that love when he opens his Father’s Day card this year? Hidden under a gift card, of course.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up these fairly famous poems about dads perfect for even the least sappy pappy.

“Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early

and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,

then with cracked hands that ached

from labor in the weekday weather made

banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.

When the rooms were warm, he’d call,

and slowly I would rise and dress,

fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,

who had driven out the cold

and polished my good shoes as well.

What did I know, what did I know

of love’s austere and lonely offices?

 

“Father’s Song” by Gregory Orr

Yesterday, against admonishment,

my daughter balanced on the couch back,

fell and cut her mouth.

Because I saw it happen I knew

she was not hurt, and yet

a child’s blood so red

it stops a father’s heart.

My daughter cried her tears;

I held some ice

against her lip.

That was the end of it.

Round and round: bow and kiss.

I try to teach her caution;

she tries to teach me risk.

 

“The Gift” by Li-Young Lee

To pull the metal splinter from my palm

my father recited a story in a low voice.

I watched his lovely face and not the blade.

Before the story ended, he’d removed

the iron sliver I thought I’d die from.

I can’t remember the tale,

but hear his voice still, a well

of dark water, a prayer.

And I recall his hands,

two measures of tenderness

he laid against my face,

the flames of discipline

he raised above my head.

Had you entered that afternoon

you would have thought you saw a man

planting something in a boy’s palm,

a silver tear, a tiny flame.

Had you followed that boy

you would have arrived here,

where I bend over my wife’s right hand.

Look how I shave her thumbnail down

so carefully she feels no pain.

Watch as I lift the splinter out.

I was seven when my father

took my hand like this,

and I did not hold that shard

between my fingers and think,

Metal that will bury me,

christen it Little Assassin,

Ore Going Deep for My Heart.

And I did not lift up my wound and cry,

Death visited here!

I did what a child does

when he’s given something to keep.

I kissed my father.

 

“Only A Dad” by Edgar Guest

Only a dad, with a tired face,

Coming home from the daily race,

Bringing little of gold or fame,

To show how well he has played the game,

But glad in his heart that his own rejoice

To see him come, and to hear his voice.

Only a dad, with a brood of four,

One of ten million men or more.

Plodding along in the daily strife,

Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,

With never a whimper of pain or hate,

For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,

Merely one of the surging crowd

Toiling, striving from day to day,

Facing whatever may come his way,

Silent, whenever the harsh condemn

And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad, but he gives his all

To smooth the way for his children small,

Doing, with courage stern and grim,

The deeds that his father did for him.

This is the line that for him I pen,

Only a dad, but the best of men.

 

“Danse Russe” by William Carlos Williams

If I when my wife is sleeping

and the baby and Kathleen

are sleeping

and the sun is a flame-white disc

in silken mists

above shining trees,—

if I in my north room

dance naked, grotesquely

before my mirror

waving my shirt round my head

and singing softly to myself:

“I am lonely, lonely.

I was born to be lonely,

I am best so!”

If I admire my arms, my face,

my shoulders, flanks, buttocks

against the yellow drawn shades,—

Who shall say I am not

the happy genius of my household?

 

“Fish Fry Daughter” by Sara Ries

Holiday Inn kitchen, the day I am born:

My father is frying fish for a party of seventeen

when the call comes from the hospital. He stays

until the batter is crispy, cold salads scooped

on platters, rye bread buttered.

 

Dad never told me this story.

He told my boyfriend, one short order cook to another.

Mom doesn’t know why Dad was late

for her screams and sweat on the hospital bed.

 

Once, when she was angry with him, she told me:

When your father finally got there, the nurse had to tell

him to get upstairs, “Your wife is having that baby now.”

 

I hope that when Dad first held me,

it was with haddock-scented hands, apron

over his black pants still sprinkled with flour,

forehead oily from standing over the deep fryer,

telling the fish to hurry hurry.

Philadelphia Eagles Running Back Helps Dad Learn to Speak Again

Philadelphia Eagles Running Back Helps Dad Learn to Speak Again
(Getty / Steven Ryan / Stringer)

To athletes accustomed to playing in packed stadiums surrounded by the tangible energy of countless fans, this is a strange time. Let’s be honest, this is a strange time for everyone, and we’re doing our best to carve out a new normal. Sportscasters are trying to fill the void of delivering riveting sports commentary by giving play-by-plays of everyday life instead. Even the NFL is planning to emulate the feel of a real, live football game by blasting pre-recorded crowd noise into the empty stadium during televised games. Yeah, it’s not going great.

Football is in a virtual offseason since the coronavirus has made regular offseason training impossible. During this time, some teams are conducting virtual classroom-type instruction to prepare for the next season. Teams have been given permission by the NFL to send their players $1,500 in equipment to create their own home-training spaces. Most of these workouts and classroom sessions are voluntary, so it’s up to the athletes to decide how to spend their virtual offseason time.

For 25-year-old Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott, this time away from the grueling day-to-day as an NFL athlete has allowed him to focus his attention on family. In 2018, Scott’s father Anthony suffered a stroke. Anthony has worked with multiple therapists over the years and regained most of his mobility on the right side of his body, but continues to struggle with his speech. Due to the coronavirus, Anthony’s speech therapist was unable to continue working with him. Fortunately, Anthony had a couple of backups, Boston and his little sister Alana, ready to take over.

Twice a week, Scott works with his father on regaining his ability to speak using both exercises he learned by watching his father’s speech therapy appointments over the years, and strategies he’s developed on his own. Scott told NJ Advance Media, “When he can’t pronounce a word, I get him to sing his ‘ABCs’, which I think is a staple in a lot of our minds. Singing your ‘ABCs,’ that’s something you can remember from your childhood.”

So twice a week, that’s where you’ll find them. Anthony and Boston, sitting at the kitchen table, practicing the ABCs. The same activity that they likely did together more than two decades earlier, this time, with Boston taking the role of teacher. Never before has the line “next time won’t you sing with me” struck such a heartwarming, love-filled chord