Unable to Afford Childcare, Providence Mayor Brings Son to Work

Mayor Jorge Elorza Takes son to Work
(Today)

Childcare expenses can be one of the most daunting costs for families across the country. While the plight of a single parent can be apparent, many dual-income Americans struggle with daycare costs regardless of their station. Take for example Providence, Rhode Island Mayor Jorge Elorza.

Although Elorza sits at the helm of a bustling capital city with an estimated population of over 180,000, he, like many of his constituents, seems to fall short financially when it comes to affording full-time childcare. A new father of a 15-month-old, Elorza now brings his son Omar to work with him — not for fun, but out of sheer necessity. In addition to bringing his son, the mayor is bringing some much-needed light to the troubling situation by sharing his story.

“We went to see a day care center, and both Stephanie and I fell in love with the place,” Elorza told TODAY for their digital series, Dads Got This!

“Then at the end, they passed us the brochure and it was $395 a week. We looked at each other and were like, ‘I guess that ain’t gonna happen.” It’s a conversation many couples can relate to as costs continue to rise on everything from groceries to homes.

The mayor’s wife, Stephanie, is enrolled in law school full-time, so with just one paycheck coming in, the estimated $20,000 per year would be far out of reach for the couple. Luckily they, along with many Americans, turned to their parents who lived close by. “We literally drove from the day care center to my parents’ house,” he said. “And that’s been our day care. So my parents take care of the baby during the week. And her parents chip in during the weekend. And her being a law student, she’s just as busy as I am, if not more. So we’re, like, just juggling and struggling every day like other parents.”

But when unexpected meetings arise, or sessions being early in the morning, Elorza and his infant son attend meetings together.  It’s temporary, but a solution the dad is grateful to have. “We have a nice little basket of toys, so he knows his little station and he knows how to play,” but Elorza is quick to point out the double standard that still exists in the workplace. “There have been comments, that if I was a woman and I was bringing my child in to work, then that would be seen very, very differently.”

Elorza agrees. “I think that’s true. I think there is still absolutely a double standard. The extension of that isn’t, ‘Let’s criticize Jorge the way women are criticized,’ it’s ‘Let’s not criticize women for doing it either.’”

In addition, the mayor has been hard at work crafting legislation and policy to assist families in the community facing the same issues. The city now provides summer camps for just $5/week, and longterm the mayor has hopes of establishing universal pre-k across Providence. He has even encouraged other parents at City Hall and attendees of meetings to follow his lead if they need to do so. “I want (other parents) to feel comfortable bringing their child in as well,” he said. “We want to be accommodating to families that do this.”

Elorza is only the latest in a number of dads attempting to bring these issues to the forefront of our political and social conversations.

In addition, his son Omar is getting a firsthand look at American politics. “For him to be part of that, even at the beginning of his life, will be gratifying for him in the future.” Perhaps a 2054 Presidential run is currently in the making? Time will tell.

Previously Unpublished Prince Album Drops This Summer

New Prince Album
(YouTube/Prince)

Prince was a legend with no true equal, whether it was as an entertainer or on the court. And even though he’s been gone for five years now, we are about to get some new music from the iconic artist, as his estate is releasing a previously unpublished album from 2010.

The Prince Estate and Legacy Recordings announced earlier this month a forthcoming release of “Welcome 2 America”, recorded by the star in 2010. The press release described it as a “powerful creative statement that documents Prince’s concerns, hopes and visions for a shifting society, presciently foreshadowing an era of political division, disinformation and a renewed fight for racial justice.”

If you can’t wait for the full album, along with the release of a previously recorded full concert, you can hear the title track from “Welcome 2 America” on Spotify and Apple Music. Along with the album, the unreleased concert film (recorded from his 2011 tour of the same name) includes him covering some Bob Dylan and Janet Jackson.

The visionary reportedly had a treasure trove of unrecorded material, a mysterious vault of music intended for the children he never had. His bandmates say Prince’s “Welcome 2 America” is disillusioned funk and ‘perfect for the times’, and will be absorbed in a different way in 2021 than it would have a decade prior.

He never said why the album wasn’t released at the time, but for material that covers commentary on social media, celebrity culture, and the state of the country, it will probably still make a pretty poignant statement about the world he left behind.

The album will drop on July 30th.

Veteran in Hospice Care Has Final Wish Granted, Sees Beloved Dog One Last Time

Dying veteran sees beloved dog one last time
(Facebook/Albuquerque Animal Welfare)

For many, dogs become far more than just pets. Their loyalty, intuition, and unconditional love make them members of the family, ones who stand by our sides during life’s most challenging moments. A veteran named John Vincent was heartbroken when he had to give up his beloved dog Patch after entering hospice care, and even during his final days, he didn’t stop thinking about his best friend.

The 69-year-old had no family nearby, and nobody he knew was willing to take in his 5-year-old companion. When Vincent was moved to the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Patch was relinquished to Albuquerque Animal Welfare.

Vincent’s condition was quickly deteriorating, and during a session with his palliative care social worker, Amy Neal, the veteran made a far-fetched last request. His last wish was to see his best friend once more, to say one last goodbye to the loyal terrier. After realizing how meaningful the reunion would be to Vincent, Neal scrambled to make the veteran’s last wish a reality.

“When the request came in, it was an immediate ‘absolutely,’ and let’s do whatever we can to get it done,” Danny Nevarez, Director of Animal Welfare told the Albuquerque Journal. “It was as simple as getting Patch over here.”

As the animal welfare workers drove towards Vincent with Patch quietly in tow, something in the small pup changed.

“It’s almost like he knew, he just started whimpering,” Nevares told the Journal. “Like he had that anticipation.”

The reunion between Vincent and Patch was nothing short of extraordinary, with both man and dog perking up at the sight of one another.

Veteran in hospice says goodbye to beloved dog
(Facebook/Albuquerque Animal Welfare)

“Yeah, that’s me, that’s daddy,” Vincent said to Patch. “Are you so happy to see me? I’m so happy to see you.”

Albuquerque Animal Welfare shared touching photos of the reunion on Facebook, grateful to be part of something so meaningful. Vincent and Patch got to take their time saying a final goodbye, closure that each of them likely needed.

“It was such a heart warming moment,” Albuquerque Animal Welfare wrote on Facebook. “They were so happy to see each other and to say their good byes. It was an honor to make this veterans final wish come true.

Adidas and South Park Collab For the Perfect 4/20 Shoes

Adidas South Park Towelie Shoe
(Instagram/JustJuice)

It isn’t 1992 anymore and the easiest way to tell (besides, well, a calendar) is how culture’s attitude towards cannabis has shifted. State governments are decriminalizing or outright legalizing marijuana use, the medicinal benefits of cannabis are being embraced (by some), and brands and personalities are a lot more open about weed. And that’s why you can celebrate 4/20 with the highest shoes we’ve seen.

There have been some pretty awesome shoe collaborations, but if you’re looking for a partner for 4/20, good luck beating out Adidas teaming up with one of the greatest comedies of all time and releasing a South Park-themed pair of Campus 80s.

South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone worked with the shoe company to make the perfect 4/20 shoes by leaning on everyone’s favorite cartoon-user, Towelie. The Towelie shoes have eye illustrations on the tongue, which can turn pink and bloodshot when exposed to sunlight. The shoes also have a stash pocket beneath the tongue, for whatever you may need to put in a tiny pocket. You know, right where it says “I have no idea what’s going on.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Juice Rodriguez 🇩🇴 (@justjuice)

There’s more Adidas and South Park branding inside the shoe, but from a distance, it’s the blue terry cloth and trademark eyes that will help other fans quickly identify how high your shoes truly are.

South Park knows its demo, which has been a trademark of their success for a long time, and these shoes, available on (well, you know what day they’re available) are another testament to its creator’s ability to make jokes come to life.

After Two Years, the “Perfect” Super Mario Bros. Speedrun Has Been Dethroned

(Youtube/Niftski)

The original Super Mario Bros. is notoriously difficult, and I feel like anyone who can complete the game deserves some kind of medal.  You can imagine my shock then while watching Niftski’s new world record speedrun that clocks in at 4 minutes and 54 seconds.  This is some next-level Mario Bros. gameplay.

Before we get to that run though, we need to go back to September 25th, 2018.  This was the day streamer Kosmic achieved the (previously) “perfect” Super Mario Bros. speedrun world record with a time of 4:55.913, which had only ever been achieved during a tool-assisted run.  These tool-assisted runs are special programs that allow creators to play perfectly, giving them an idea of just how far they can potentially push a game to its limits.  As experts continued to tinker with different speedrun methods, there were tool-assisted runs that would end up clocking in at under 4:55, but what Kosmic had done was as perfect as humanly possible.  Could anyone achieve a better time than his?  How do you improve on perfection?

It wouldn’t be until April 7th, 2021 that streamer Niftski would blow everyone’s minds.  He pulled off a perfect run like no other, just barely sneaking in by milliseconds and setting a new world record of 4:54.948.  I don’t even want to know how many attempts it took to reach this point, but watching this will leave your palms sweaty.  Each jump over an enemy is so close to ending Niftski’s run, it physically pains me to watch.  As he inches closer towards the end, the chat starts to go absolutely berserk and once he knocks Bowser into the lava for the last time, the sheer joy from Niftski’s voice tells you all that hard work has paid off.

“IT HAS FINALLY BEEN DONE! THE 55 BARRIER IS NO LONGER. Huge thanks to everyone who has supported me on this journey. This was my 2nd run ever on this pace into 8-4, so I am blessed to say I finished it out. This is a time I can be proud of for the rest of my life. Also, I don’t plan on stopping here! ;)”

I have a hard enough time jumping on Goomba’s properly, so Niftski’s speedrun is a sight to behold, with each movement being executed with precision.  What’s also interesting is Niftski uses a keyboard to play.  The original NES controller is pretty uncomfortable by today’s standards, but I couldn’t imagine using anything other than that.  I guess if you are going to be playing Mario Bros. as much as these guys do though, comfort is key.

Now, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if anyone can beat this new record.  Will we be waiting weeks or years to find out?  I hope for Niftski’s sake it’s a very long time.

Drink Your Way Through the 7 Kingdoms With the GoT Iron Anniversary IPA

Game of Thrones IPA
(IG/Mikkelerbeer)

Game of Thrones is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its premiere on HBO, and if there’s one great way to celebrate an Iron Anniversary (or any anniversary, to be fair), it’s beer. And Danish brewery Mikkeller is ON IT, collaborating with the fine people of Westeros and HBO to produce a “Game of Thrones” Iron Anniversary IPA.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by mikkellerbeer (@mikkellerbeer)

This is the first in a series of “Game of Thrones” beers brewed in partnership with the folks at Warner Bros, so if an IPA isn’t your thing, maybe they’ll release a Night King stout or a Targaryen White Ale, or maybe a red ale to memorialize that one wedding everyone loved.

The point is, soon you will be able to channel your inner-Tyrion and drink your way through the Seven Kingdoms. And if you have enough of them, you’ll forget the divisive last season ever happened, and you’ll remember the good old days of Thrones, when it was one of the best shows on TV.

It was truly revolutionary, and it’s not their fault that George R.R. Martin wrote a brilliant story that even he couldn’t finish. If you stumble at the end, shouldn’t you still get credit for the great years before it?

Either way, the Iron Anniversary IPA will transport you back to a simpler time, when you could actually discuss a hit show around a water cooler, and not over Zoom.

“We have done a lot of collaborations, but this is without a doubt the biggest so far, and we are extremely proud and happy to get this opportunity,” the brewery founder said.

The first beer, and merch, will be available starting on April 17, with more beers and lagers to come later this year.

WOW: Owen Wilson Has Said “Wow” 81 Times in 27 Movies

Owen Wilson Says Wow 81 Times
(YouTube/Owenergy)

When the Loki trailer came out last week, fans were excited. The ‘correcting the timeline’ concept has a lot of potential for fun hijinks, there were potentially huge easter eggs in the trailer alone (Black Widow?), and Owen Wilson has a major role.

Wilson was a big deal for a while before some personal issues got in the way of his career, and while he hadn’t totally disappeared before Loki, this is his first high-profile gig in a while and his first for TV. He looks like he’s having fun as Loki’s foil, Mobius, the Time Variance Authority agent tasked with managing the God of Mischief, and it will be a blast to see him, and his mustache, on Disney+ this summer.

There was one thing missing from the trailer though: his signature wow.

Much like Keanu‘s “whoa,” the word “wow” has become associated with Owen Wilson over his years as a movie star, and Screen Rant has broken down exactly why: the actor has said the word 81 times in 27 movies over the course of his career! He’s been in 52 movies, and frankly, it’s a little shocking that he hasn’t said it in every single one, but 27 out of 52 is 51.9% (Screen Rant did the math), so it’s pretty common.

Apparently, he says “wow” the most in… the Woody Allen movie he appeared in Midnight In Paris (and which Tom Hiddleston costars). He says it seven times in that movie, as he interacts with long-dead literary heroes from days past, which I suppose warrants some shock. Hopefully, some of the stuff Loki gets up to in the forthcoming Disney+ MCU series will elicit a few wows from our man too. They won’t count towards his movie tally, but they’ll be fun just the same.

Check out Mr. Wilson in action before he hits Disney+ this summer:

Father Figures: The Small Things

“This is my husband and daughter. As you can see, the love they have for each other has not changed.

I remember asking my husband as we were getting to know each other many moons ago, ‘What is one thing you want in your life that you don’t have?’ His answer was immediate, ‘A daughter.’

Who knew I would end up being the lucky gal to give that to him?

He is a wonderful father to three children, but she is our only daughter. He’s the kind of dad that knows and cares enough to pay attention to the small things.

When she’s cranky every month, he goes to the store and buys her favorite chocolate, a Coke and some Midol and then retreats to a safe distance for survival. Then, when she feels better, she still crawls into his lap and hugs him.

She will know how a man is supposed to treat a woman, not only because of how well he treats her, but she also sees how he treats her mother.”

– Christina Miller

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

8-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Breaks Girl Scout Cookie Record by Selling 32k+ Boxes

Lilly Bumpus 8yo Cancer Survivor Cookies
(Facebook/lilly.bumpus.9)

“Anything is possible when you make it possible!” Those were the wiser-than-her year’s words from 8-year-old Lilly Bumpus, words she held onto when she beat childhood cancer, and a mantra she came back to when she set the national record for my Girl Scout Cookies in one season earlier this spring. Lilly shattered the record by selling 32,484 boxes of cookies, a truly astonishing feat. She beat the previous record by more than 8,000 boxes.

And, she’s using some of the proceeds to give back to other childhood cancer warriors in hospitals around the nation. Part of her tally was 5,000 donation boxes that will be going to other kids suffering from cancer, helping feed the homeless, and to deployed troops.

Lilly was born with a form of childhood cancer and has been cancer-free for 7 years, although the road has had its share of difficulties for her, according to her mom. Because of cancer, she can’t do physical activities like sports and cheerleading, so her mom got her involved in Girl Scouts so she could have some normal extracurricular activity. When she hit the 7-year cancer-free mark, her family shared her accomplishment:

“Let my Lilly remind you today, Don’t EVER give up on your dreams. No matter how big or small. No matter if it’s for your physical or mental Health… YOU ARE WORTH IT! Keep fighting and know when YOU prove the impossible is possible, you light a way for others to follow. Be the light. Always be the light.”

This was a hard year to sell for Girl Scouts since a lot of traditional methods were limited due to COVID. No more having dad sell boxes in the office when everyone is remote, no more door-to-door sales in most of the country. But, for the second straight year, troops could sell online, and Lilly was in a booth selling with every free moment, in addition to making cookie deliveries before and after school most days.

Her mom said “When I told her at the beginning of the season how tough it would be to sell this year, she told me, ‘Nothing is impossible if everybody chose to make it possible.'”

Lilly said it meant so much to her to see that final number.

Her mom thanked the community for their support when they officially broke the record. She also thanked other families of “cancer warriors” from around the country who helped their crusade by buying boxes from Lilly. She also said when she told Lilly that people overseas even bought boxes, Lilly replied:

“The world hates cancer just like we do mom. It’s time for us all to work together to end it! End it for once and for all”

Her mom responded by posting:

“Dear world…… you’re showing my 8 year old cookie hustling cancer survivor that together we can and will end cancer. That nothing is impossible when you make it possible!”

Lilly’s story and her hustle are incredible, and it will take people like her (and so many others) to end the scourge of childhood cancer.

Boys Who Play Video Games Linked To Lower Risk of Depression

Video Games Lowers Depression Risk
(Getty/Westend61)

One of the craziest culture changes for Dads of a certain age has been the attitude towards gaming. Once the scourge of pearl-clutchers everywhere, video games were blamed for everything from falling grades to violent crimes. Now, we have professional gamers, Dad gamers, proof that playing together with your kids is good, and more.

The latest is a research study that found boys who regularly play video games at age 11 were less likely to develop depression years later. The study, published by Psychological Medicine, found that boys who played video games most days had 24 percent fewer depression symptoms three years later than boys who rarely played video games. This finding was most significant among boys with low activity levels, so it’s not suggesting you can’t make your kids run around all day in the backyard if that’s what they like to do.

What it IS saying, though, is that if you have a kid that’s not super active, playing video games is not a bad recreation. They’ve been proven to help problem-solving skills and have added social and cooperative benefits. Video games aren’t bad anymore, is the point.

Caveat; anything can be bad in excess, obviously if your kids are playing 18 hours of Fortnite a day, that *may* be something to look into. But if your kid likes some gaming time, well join the dang club.

“While we cannot confirm whether playing video games actually improves mental health, it didn’t appear harmful in our study and may have some benefits,” the lead author of the study said. “Particularly during the pandemic, video games have been an important social platform for young people.”

Video games can benefit the mental health of children is the takeaway. But let’s not think they are just for kids, as the many, many people of The Dad Gaming Group can tell you, those mental health benefits are out there for anyone who can get in some quality time on Rocket League, Call of Duty, Assassins Creed, FIFA, Red Dead Redemption II, or whatever your distraction of choice may be.

Encourage your kids to be active, sure, have screen time rules, of course. But also remember, no matter what people in their 60s say, it’s not the devil.