“My two-year-old James is stronger than I will ever be.
Two days after he was born, the doctors detected a heart murmur in our little guy. After some tests and imaging, it was determined that James had a ventricular septal defect (VSD), a common type of congenital heart defect.
However, James’s defect was rare. It was right next to his pulmonary artery and aortic valves which made it very unlikely for it to close on its own like so many do. We were also told that he probably will not grow, will have trouble eating, will most likely have a NG tube, and will need open heart surgery before he was four months old to save his life.
Mom and I were devastated. As brand new parents, we had just been told our perfect newborn wasn’t perfect; that’s how we felt, at least.
We felt the need to explain it to everyone he met, and felt ashamed of ourselves if we didn’t. We went to therapy, my wife and I sobbed for weeks. We lived in fear, wondering, ‘when will the symptoms start to show up?’
We absolutely dreaded the thought of open heart surgery.
As time went on, we never saw any signs or symptoms. James grew, ate, hit milestone after milestone. Tests started to come back more and more promising. We were told he may actually avoid surgery. We were ecstatic. Until his latest appointment with his cardiologist.
They found that his heart had enlarged past safe ranges and the pressure in his lungs was growing and could cause permanent damage if left untreated. All of a sudden, open heart surgery was a sure thing. Something that we had dreaded for two years was going to happen.
We got referred to University of Michigan’s children’s hospital and within a month we were there, preparing to send James into surgery. The hardest moment of my entire life was the moment when the nurses wheeled my son’s hospital bed away from me and told me I couldn’t go with him any further. I broke down, right there, in the middle of the pre-op lobby.
After about 4 hours, the surgeon came into the waiting lounge and delivered to us the best news we had ever gotten. James did amazing. His defect is repaired, there were zero complications, he is breathing, and his heart is beating on its own.
Our baby boy was perfect again.
It’s been one week since James’ surgery; he is recovering ahead of schedule and doing great.
I will never take being a dad for granted. James is the best teacher I’ve ever had, and he’s stronger than I’ll ever be.
It’s hard being a dad, especially when your two-year-old has a really big ouchie on his chest and doesn’t understand why. I figure, maybe if Dada has an ouchie too it won’t matter anymore. Dada’s ouchie is sound-waves of us singing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ together like we do every night before bed.
I will always have your back, James.”
– Brenden Schlott
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No one wants to work for their father-in-law. I don’t care what the profession is, you don’t need that extra baggage. That relationship can be sort of fraught as it is, you don’t need to ramp up the level of difficulty another 10x by making it a boss-employee relationship too. That’s the situation one NBA player faces, as he was traded to the team his father-in-law coaches.
The NBA bubble, for all its faults and challenges to the players, was a terrific success. More than any other sport, they were able to have a safe season. There were also some players who were able to thrive, including Dallas Mavericks guard Seth Curry. His three-point shooting hit a new level, and he was enjoying his time as a key contributor on a fun Dallas team (at least when Kristaps Porzingis is healthy enough to help Luka Doncic).
All in all, Curry put together a nice season, averaging 12.4 points, with a fun future. All of that is gone now, as he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. Fine on paper (actually, still a problem on paper, the 76ers and “the process” are kind of a mess), but what makes it problematic is the 76ers new head coach; Doc Rivers. Rivers is also Curry’s father-in-law.
Seth Curry’s new boss, Doc Rivers, is also his father-in-law 😅 https://t.co/TFNAvGkSFV
— Zach Osip (@ZachOsip) November 19, 2020
— New York Post (@nypost) November 19, 2020
It sounds like the plotline of a failed sitcom. Basketball player marries girl, then has to play for her dad, follow along his zany adventure of keeping the peace on the court and AT HOME!! In September of last year, Seth married Rivers’ daughter Callie, which presented no workplace tension at the time.
Now, Curry gets the unenviable task of wading through possible family drama while also trying to right the 76ers ship (which is such a big task it would probably take Curry’s brother, NBA superstar Steph, to really solve).
At the end of the day, there are far worse jobs to have than an NBA player. But there aren’t many more awkward bosses to have than a father-in-law.
Most of us had never used Zoom until this year, even though the company has been around for nearly a decade. When schools closed and the majority of workers were forced to go remote, Zoom became as ubiquitous as the public transportation we used to take to the office every day. They handled the influx of business like absolute champs, with very few server issues and ever-present customer service.
Earlier this month, Zoom made an announcement that took a lot of pressure off those of us trying to frantically figure out Thanksgiving plans. Rather than trying to squeeze Thanksgiving into 40 minutes (or *gasp*, experimenting with a different video conferencing service), Zoom is giving us the gift of time. Previously, using a free Zoom account only allowed users to host meetings with multiple attendees for 40 minutes before the meeting would get cut off. But for one day only, the limit will be lifted.
The announcement read, “As a thank you to our customers, we will be lifting the 40-minute limit for all meetings globally from midnight ET on Nov. 26 through 6 a.m. ET on Nov. 27 so your family gatherings don’t get cut short. #ZoomTogether”
As a thank you to our customers, we will be lifting the 40-minute limit for all meetings globally from midnight ET on Nov. 26 through 6 a.m. ET on Nov. 27 so your family gatherings don’t get cut short. ❤️🏡 #ZoomTogether pic.twitter.com/aubsH0tfxG
— Zoom (@zoom_us) November 10, 2020
This isn’t going to be a normal Thanksgiving, just like the school year hasn’t been normal – and, well, nothing this year has been normal. But we’re making the best out of what we have, and doing everything we can to stay connected. Technology has made it so much easier to do so, and though the goal of any company by definition is to make a profit, it’s always heartwarming when they put customers, even the non-paying ones, (I guess we just call those “people”) first.
And if you’d rather duck out of the online fam jam, you could always create an AI version of yourself.
When it comes to movies and TV, Thanksgiving gets the short end of the stick. Halloween has tons of movies you can watch all Spooktober long, and Christmas movies dominate cable and streaming services from Thanksgiving until New Year’s.
Thanksgiving has Planes, Trains and Automobiles and not much else! Unless you count the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special, which, despite being the third-best Charlie Brown special (Christmas and Halloween again!).
I remember loving it when I was a kid, and my kids definitely count it every year – there’s still something special about a holiday-themed TV episode! – but this year it seemed like they weren’t even going to get to watch it, because Apple TV+ snapped up the rights to the Charlie Brown specials and pulled them from network TV.
Despite having aired on ABC and CBS for decades, it seemed like their run was over, and any Peanuts fans without an Apple TV+ subscription was going to be out of luck.
Thankfully, someone at Apple had a change of heart, and Apple teamed up with PBS to air the Thanksgiving special on Sunday night. And if you missed it, you can watch it for free on Apple TV+ from 11/25 to 11/27.
Even better, you can catch the Charlie Brown Christmas special on PBS on December 13th, and catch that free on Apple TV+ from 12/11 to 12/13.
I won’t lie, I don’t totally get the appeal of these specials. They’re sort of depressing and not all that funny unless you like watching Snoopy pretend to be a fighter pilot. But they are nostalgic, and there’s something to be said for that.
Regardless of how you feel, it’s great that Apple and PBS found a way to make it happen. Even though I’m not a fan, I can’t pretend the holidays are the same without Peanuts!
When it started four years ago, it was one of those things that delighted social media and reminded people that the world actually is a good, kind place, sometimes.
Jamal Hinton received a text from a number he didn’t recognize, inviting him to Thanksgiving dinner. Wanda Dench had tried to text her grandson, but his number had changed, so she reached Jamal instead. Confused, Jamal asked for a picture of this woman who claimed to be his grandma, and when he got it, he sent his own back. It was immediately clear they weren’t related, but that didn’t change Wanda’s invitation.
“You not my grandma,” the then 17-year-old Jamal texted. “Can I still get a plate though?”
“Of course, that’s what Grandma’s do. Feed everyone,” Wanda replied.
Somebody grandma is coming in clutch this year!! Ayee!!! pic.twitter.com/QGrx83nHLl
— Jamal Hinton (@Jamalhinton12) November 15, 2016
Wanda wasn’t bluffing. She did have a plate for Jamal that Thanksgiving, and he’s been coming back, driving from his home in Tempe, Arizona to Wanda’s in Mesa, ever since. This year will be their fourth Thanksgiving together. Unfortunately, it will be a little different. Wanda’s husband passed away from Covid in April.
“It’s going to be different, my first Thanksgiving without him,” she told the New York Times “My husband was always right behind me, telling me how proud he was of Jamal and me for what we’ve done.”
They’ve stayed in touch, sharing visits, including Jamal’s girlfriend, even when it’s not Thanksgiving. Jamal has even helped the Denches set up their phones when they upgraded.
how it started how it’s going pic.twitter.com/qQkWqNWMzs
— Jamal Hinton (@Jamalhinton12) October 9, 2020
“After meeting her the first time I just knew, she’s another person, age is really just a number,” Mr. Hinton, who is now 21 and works as a car salesman, said of Ms. Dench. “It doesn’t matter, you can be friends with anybody, you can be family with anybody.”
This year, due to the pandemic, the pair decided to keep their tradition going with a small dinner last week, just the two of them, and a candle in Mr. Dench’s memory.
We miss you Lonnie💔 pic.twitter.com/t9lXt31FLw
— Jamal Hinton (@Jamalhinton12) April 9, 2020
“I’m just grateful that we are here, we are together,” Mr. Hinton said. “I don’t know what I would be doing for the holidays this year, last year or years before if I didn’t have Wanda in my life, so I’m just grateful.”
The holiday season is upon us, and in my house, that means one thing: all Christmas movies all the time.
My wife has been forcing me to spend the entire Christmas season watching Christmas movies, from the classics like Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life to the junk they put on Hallmark and Lifetime. Now that we have kids, they’ve been roped in as well, and thankfully there are a few family-friendly Xmas flicks that actually deliver for adults too. Like Elf, and Home Alone. But mostly Die Hard.
Home Alone doesn’t NEED to take place over Christmas (imagine if Kevin got left alone on July 4th, and had to torture the burglars with fireworks? CALL MY AGENT!) , but it’s nice that it does, if only because it breaks up the sentimental stuff we watch in December with a fun movie about trying to murder people.
Home Alone has a lot of fans. it was an enormous hit in the 90s, and there have been countless articles and conspiracy theories about it, from speculation on where the McAllisters get their money to why the cops wouldn’t just go over to the house and bring Kevin in. But articles are nothing. One guy made sculptures of the Wet Bandits, and their tiny tormentor, in action!
Kevin Urrutia-O’Riley posted pics of his Home Alone sculptures to Reddit stunning the community with how realistic they are.
He explained how he made them: “I digitally sculpted the faces and printed them out of resin. I then made the heads with a combo of construction foam, wood filler and Bondo attached to Styrofoam. I painted them using an airbrush. The hair are wigs and the facial hair is worsted wool.”
And he didn’t stop at the sculptures either. He printed a Michael Jordan cut-out for one window and recreated the gangster movie scene in another. He created an Instagram account – TheFrenchCallMeLesIncompetents – to showcase his work.
View this post on Instagram
One can’t help but be impressed by the craftmanship, and level of detail, that Urrutia-O’Riley put into what amounts to elaborate Christmas decorations. One also can’t help but be impressed that his wife let him do all of this to her house. But she did, and we are all better off for having witnessed it.
Now I have to make sure my wife never sees it, lest she adds a new tradition to our Christmas season!
After the passing of legendary Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, the long-running game show will resume production with its first new host in 37 seasons. The baton is being passed to the greatest Jeopardy player ever, Ken Jennings, who will be the first ‘of a series of interim-hosts from the Jeopardy family.’
Trebek was beloved, and whoever replaces him long-term will have enormous shoes to fill. But, at the same time, Trebek frequently spoke about wanting the show to continue into a new era. Jeopardy executive producer Mike Richards released a statement about resuming production with Ken Jennings at the helm. Jennings recently started an official role on the show, so the move makes perfect sense.
“Alex believed in the importance of Jeopardy and always said he wanted the show to go on without him,” Richards said. “We will honor Alex’s legacy by continuing to produce the game he loved with smart contestants and challenging clues. By bringing in familiar guest hosts for the foreseeable future, our goal is to create a sense of community and continuity for our viewers.”
Jennings said there will only be one Alex Trebek, but that he was honored to help out Jeopardy during this time.
There will only ever be one Alex Trebek, but I’m honored to be helping Jeopardy! out with this in January. https://t.co/2m2b5IQnkw
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) November 23, 2020
Jennings was widely seen as one of the favorites to replace Trebek, as he’s the most recognizable name in the Jeopardy world and is also the greatest contestant to play the game. He owns the record for the longest winning streak (74 games) and won the Jeopardy Greatest of All Time tournament earlier this year.
Trebek had mentioned who he’d like to see as his replacement over the years, telling Good Morning America a couple of years back that he jokes with the audience about it. “I say it should be Betty White because they want somebody younger and somebody funnier than me,” he said.
While production resumes November 30th with Jennings, there’s no word about other hosts. Possibilities include James Holzhauer, another Jeopardy standout, or maybe LeVar Burton, if petitions count.
Either way, we’re getting more Jeopardy, and it starts with Jennings.
When I was a kid, I read a whole bunch of Hardy Boys books. They were easy-to-read adventures and mysteries that served as a nice bridge between the Bunnicula and Judy Blume books I read in elementary school and the Anne Rice and Stephen King books I read in high school.
They were fun and simple and I was a kid with brothers too. I also loved to pretend I was a detective and that something sinister was always afoot in my boring Connecticut suburb. It was kind of a more realistic Scooby-Doo, and I suspect a lot of guys my age read them, just as girls my age read Nancy Drew.
Well, now our kids can find out about the Hardy Boys, in a much darker and sexier way! Hulu is hopping on the teen soap strain, picking up the baton from the CW’s Riverdale and bringing the sibling detectives to the small screen.
Based on books created in 1926, the TV series follows Hardy brothers Frank, 16, and Joe, 12, as they move from NYC to Bridgeport, CT (I was right!) and quickly become suspicious that there’s a conspiracy in town – and that their parents may be involved.
Check out the trailer for the show, which hits Hulu on December 2nd:
After 30 years of greatness, the Undertaker can finally Rest in Peace (from the professional wrestling world). The iconic WWE superstar made his official final appearance as a wrestler at Sunday’s Survivor Series and got a hero’s send-off as he enters retirement. rid
It’s easy to love the ridiculousness of pro wrasslin’, especially if you grew up in the 80s or 90s. And there’s a reason it was deemed an essential business during the dark early days of the pandemic. But the sad truth behind professional wrestling is very few of its stars get a proper send-off into retirement. There are far more tragic early deaths and bittersweet controversies than proper salutes to legends, which is why Undertaker’s final show was so great.
— WWE (@WWE) November 23, 2020
You know a wrestler has impacted the pop culture fabric like few others when even SportsCenter gives a nod to your retirement. The Undertaker, Mark Calaway’s character he’s embodied for three decades of ups and downs, gave one last heartfelt farewell speech, saying:
“For 30 long years, I’ve made that slow walk to this ring and have laid people to rest time and time again. And now my time has come. My time has come to let The Undertaker rest in peace.”
In an extremely touching twist, the WWE used a hologram of the late Paul Bearer, Undertaker’s longtime manager, recreating their old pose.
It was a fitting end to a career that started 30 years ago at a much different Survivor Series show, but his character impacted pro wrestling like few before or after. And many greats of the wrestling world were quick to highlight that, as The Rock quickly fired off a touching tribute.
30yrs ago today, he made his iconic #SurvivorSeries debut.
Like EVERYONE – I was in awe as a rookie in the @WWE when his first words pierced my soul as he walked in the dressing room and said, “Muthafucka” True story 😂
Honored to share the ring w you, my brother. #ThankYouTaker pic.twitter.com/ULlppOQlCa
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) November 22, 2020
Vince McMahon summed up Taker’s impact fittingly: “The measuring stick. The locker room leader. The Phenom. Three decades ago today, Undertaker changed the landscape of sports-entertainment. His legacy is incomparable, his impact immeasurable, ” he wrote on Twitter.
The measuring stick. The locker room leader. The Phenom. Three decades ago today, @Undertaker changed the landscape of sports-entertainment. His legacy is incomparable, his impact immeasurable. #ThankYouTaker. #Undertaker30 pic.twitter.com/TWm1Ihww8U
— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) November 22, 2020
Soon, the #ThankYouTaker hashtag took off, letting other WWE stars chime in with the impact he had, with praise from John Cena, Shawn Michaels (they had some classic matches together), Triple H, Ric Flair, and more.
After three decades of @undertaker committing wholeheartedly to the @WWE, tonight we bear witness to the end of an extraordinary body of work. For all the in ring moments and as a member of the @WWEUniverse, I say #ThankYouTaker! #SurvivorSeries #Undertaker30
— John Cena (@JohnCena) November 22, 2020
— Triple H (@TripleH) November 22, 2020
Congratulations To The One And Only @undertaker! I Can’t Say How Much You Meant To Me Personally. With A Career So Extraordinary, You Deserve The Greatest Farewell Of All! WOOOOO! pic.twitter.com/rJx6WksCt2
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) November 22, 2020
A truly legendary career, and a retirement tribute fitting of one.