A male feminist's take on crying, pornography, and Miley Cyrus
No one person can define what it means to be a man. But if we had to pick one, what about Jackson Katz?
Her son Eric Kilburn Jr. is a 6'10" freshman in high school.
A local reporter at Hometown Life shared a unique and heartfelt story on March 16 about a mother struggling to find shoes that fit her 14-year-old son. The story resonated with parents everywhere; now, her son is getting the help he desperately needs. It's a wonderful example of people helping a family that thought they had nowhere to turn.
When Eric Kilburn Jr. was born, his mother, Rebecca’s OBGYN, told her that he had the “biggest feet I’ve ever seen in my life. Do not go out and buy baby shoes because they’re not gonna fit,’” Rebecca told Today.com. Fourteen years later, it’s almost impossible to find shoes that fit the 6’10” freshman—he needs a size 23.
The teen's height doesn't stem from a gland issue; he comes from a family of tall people. Both his parents are over 6 feet tall.
Eric plays football for Goodrich High School in Goodrich, Michigan, but doesn’t wear cleats, which led to a sprained ankle. He also suffers from ingrown toenails that are so severe he’s had two nails on his biggest toes permanently removed.
Last year, the family was lucky enough to stumble upon five pairs of size 21 shoes at a Nike outlet store. It was discovered they were made especially for Tacko Fall, the NBA player with some of the most enormous feet in the game. To put things in perspective, Shaquille O’Neal wears a size 22.
However, Eric soon grew out of those as well. The family was left with one more option: have orthopedic shoes made for Eric at the cost of $1,500 with no guarantee he won’t quickly grow out of those as well.
After his mother’s heartfelt plea to Hometown Life, the family got much-needed help from multiple companies, including Under Armour and PUMA, who are sending representatives to Michigan to measure his feet for custom shoes.
CAT has reached out to make him a custom pair of boots. Eric hasn't had any boots to wear for the past five Michigan winters.
Kara Pattison started a GoFundMe campaign on behalf of the family to help them purchase custom shoes for “the rest of the time Eric has these feet.” It has raised nearly $20,000 for the family in just over a week.
“The success of this fundraiser is well beyond what was ever expected,” Pattison wrote on the site on March 18. “The Kilburns plan to open a bank account dedicated to Eric's future footwear and some specialized sports equipment. He can use this to get a helmet that fits for football along with pads. They will also look into a football and track jersey for him.”
The sense of relief felt by Rebecca, Eric and the rest of the Kilburn family must be incredible. It has to be frustrating to be unable to provide your child with something as basic as footwear.
“It’s been overwhelming,” Rebecca told Hometown Life. “I have been this puddle of emotions, all of them good…It’s the coolest thing to be able to say we did it! He has shoes! I am not usually a crier, but I have been in a constant state of happy tears…We are so grateful.”
"I told him that we have the opportunity to make things right."
What do you do when you find out your kid bullied someone? For many parents, the first step is forcing an apology. While this response is of course warranted, is it really effective? Some might argue that there are more constructive ways of handling the situation that teach a kid not only what they did wrong, but how to make things right again.
Single dadPatrick Forseth recently shared how he made a truly teachable moment out of his son, Lincoln, getting into trouble for bullying. Rather than forcing an apology, Forseth made sure his son was actively part of a solution.
“I got an email a few days ago from my 9-year-old son's teacher that he had done a ‘prank’ to a fellow classmate and it ended up embarrassing the classmate and hurt his feelings,” the video begins.
At this point, Forseth doesn’t split hairs. “I don't care who you are, that's bullying,” he said. “If you do something to somebody that you know has the potential end result of them being embarrassed in front of a class or hurt—you’re bullying.”
So, Forseth and Lincoln sat down for a long talk (a talk, not a lecture) about appropriate punishment and how it would have felt to be on the receiving end of such a prank.
From there, Forseth told his son that he would decide how to make things right, making it a masterclass in taking true accountability.
“I demanded nothing out of him. I demanded no apology, I demanded no apology to the teacher,” he continued, adding, “I told him that we have the opportunity to go back and make things right. We can't take things back, but we can try to correct things and look for forgiveness.”
@thehalfdeaddad Replying to @sunshinyday1227 And then it’s my kid 🤦♂️😡 #endbullyingnow#talktoyourkidsmore#dadlifebestlife#singledadsover40#teachyourchildren#ReadySetLift♬ Get You The Moon - Kina
So what did Lincoln do? He went back to his school and actually talked to the other boy he pranked. After learning that they shared a love of Pokémon, he then went home to retrieve two of his favorite Pokémon cards as a peace offering, complete with a freshly cleaned case.
Lincoln would end up sharing with his dad that the other boy was so moved by the gesture that he would end up hugging him.
“I just want to encourage all parents to talk to your kids,” Forseth concluded. “Let's try to avoid just the swat on the butt [and] send them to their room. Doesn't teach them anything.”
In Forseth’s opinion, kids get far more insight by figuring out how to resolve a problem themselves. “That's what they're actually going to face in the real world once they move out of our nests.”
He certainly has a point. A slap on the wrist followed by being marched down somewhere to say, “I’m sorry,” only further humiliates kids most of the time. With this gentler approach, kids are taught the intrinsic value of making amends after wrongdoing, not to mention the power of their own autonomy. Imagine that—blips in judgment can end up being major character-building moments.
Kudos to this dad and his very smart parenting strategy.
Good for her for standing up for her child's culture.
A recently posted story on Reddit shows a mother confidently standing up for her family after being bullied by a teacher for her culture. Reddit user Flowergardens0 posted the story to the AITA forum, where people ask whether they are wrong in a specific situation.
Over 5,600 people commented on the story, and an overwhelming majority thought the mother was right. Here’s what went down:
“I (34F) have a (5M) son who attends preschool. A few hours after I picked him up from school today, I got a phone call from his teacher,” Flowergardens0 wrote. “She made absolutely no effort to sound kind when she, in an extremely rude and annoyed tone, told me to stop packing my son such ‘disgusting and inappropriate’ lunches."
"I felt absolutely appalled when she said this, as me and the teacher have, up until now, always maintained a very friendly relationship. She added that the lunches I’m packing my son are ‘very distracting for the other students and have an unpleasant odor.’ I told her that I understand her concerns, as the lunches I pack are definitely not the healthiest, but the lunches are according to my son’s preferences.”
The mother added that she usually sends her son to school with small celery sticks, blue cheese and goat cheese, kimchi, spam and spicy Sriracha-flavored Doritos.
“I ended the call by saying that I very much appreciated her worries, but that at the end of the day, I am not going to drastically change my son’s lunches all of a sudden, and that it’s not my fault if other students are ‘distracted’ by his meal,” the mother continued. “It is very important to me what my son enjoys, and I want him to like my lunches.”
The teacher replied with an email saying the mom's response was "unacceptable" and that his lunches were “just too inappropriate to be sent to school any longer.”
“I haven’t responded yet and don’t want to. I want to maintain a healthy relationship with my son’s teachers. I am confused as to what to do,” the mom ended her story.
It’s clear that the teacher is way out of line in this situation because the child is eating food that is entirely normal in Korean culture. It may have a strong odor to those who aren’t used to it, but that’s just an opportunity for the teacher to explain to the children how people from different parts of the world eat different types of food. It’s not that hard.
The only reason the teacher should have any choice over what the child eats is if it is egregiously unhealthy and may cause them harm.
The most popular commenter on the forum suggested that the mother bring the issue to the principal’s attention.
"Report her to the principal," Thatshygal717 wrote. "Her comments regarding your son’s food are 'disgusting' and 'have an unpleasant tone' aka cough cough racist tone. She’s too inappropriate to be teaching at the school any longer."
Another commenter, muffiewriters, assured the mother that she was doing nothing wrong. "Your son's food is perfectly normal," they wrote. "For a 5-year-old. Your family's food is normal. The teacher is TA for not recognizing that.”
The mother hasn’t shared what she did next, but she’s handled the situation perfectly so far. She told the teacher that it’s not her fault if other kids are distracted by her food and that she will not change her son’s diet to please other people.
The beauty of America is that we are a country of many different cultures mixed like a beautiful bowl of salad. It’s great that so many people supported the mother and reminded her that her family has every right in the world to eat the food they love, and if it bothers anyone, they can keep it to themselves.
P.S. That teacher has no idea what she’s talking about. Korean food is delicious.
“It saddens me that my time here had to end this way."
If you ask most teachers why they went into education, they'll share that it had nothing to do with the money and everything to do with their passion for teaching. Even with rapid changes in curriculum and policies, teachers who remain in the classroom are lovers of education and are doing their best to help kids learn.
Hope Carrasquilla, the former principal of Florida's Tallahassee Classical School, was one of those teachers who simply enjoyed teaching. As the principal, Carrasquilla was required to teach two classes. During her sixth grade lesson about Renaissance art, which is also a requirement of the school, Carrasquilla showed a picture of Michelangelo's "David" statue.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, three parents complained about their children being shown the picture. Two of those parents were mostly upset that there wasn't sufficient notice given before the photo of the sculpture was shown. The third parent reportedly complained that the statue of the Biblical figure was pornographic.
Michelangelo's sculpture wasn't the only source of the complaint. It was essentially the entire lesson, which also included "The Creation of Adam," another Michelangelo piece, and Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus." These are classic works of art that are easily recognizable by just about any layman, even if they can't name the artist.
"The Creation of Adam" by Michelangelocommons.wikimedia.org
Carrasquilla admitted that there was a bit of a kerfuffle with notifying parents of the lesson, which is a new policy implemented just two months ago. The policy requires that parents receive written notification two weeks prior to teaching potentially controversial content, according to The Independent.
Shortly after her lesson, Carrasquilla was called into an emergency school board meeting where she was forced to choose between resignation or being fired. She chose to resign, leaving the school less than a year after starting her tenure there.
While three parents were upset over the lesson, others were blindsided by the termination of the school principal. Carrie Boyd, who has a third and a seventh-grader at the school, told the Tallahassee Democrat that the principal's abrupt resignation was shocking to her and other parents. Boyd also voiced concerns over the "non-secular" direction the school appeared to be taking.
"The Birth of Venus "by Botticellien.wikipedia.org
Tallahassee Classical School is a private charter school that has only been open for three years and is affiliated with Hillsdale College, a private conservative college located in Michigan, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. Barney Bishop, the school board chair, told HuffPost, "Parental rights trump everything else."
But it seems Carrasquilla is gaining support across the internet. Comments range from frustration to people comparing it to a "Simpson's" episode about censorship that remarkably also depicted the statue of "David."
"Heavens to Betsy, a body part depicted in one of the most famous pieces of art in all of history! What next?!?," David Weiss wrote.
Another commenter pointed out that the statue is in Animal Crossing, which is a video game that children play.
"David" by Michelangelocommons.wikimedia.org
The greatest confusion seemed to stem from classical artwork being considered controversial enough to require parental notification when the school markets itself as a "classical school" and Renaissance art is a requirement. Renaissance art isn't exactly known for its elaborate depiction of clothing; it's quite the opposite.
Surely, the ousted principal will find other employment, but for now, she and the rest of the internet are left feeling a bit flabbergasted by the seemingly drastic response to classical works of art.
The FTC is warning people to look out for the latest scam trend.
One of the oldest frauds in the book is the “your loved one is in trouble” scam. Scammers call posing as a grandchild or loved one in distress who claims they’ve been kidnapped or are in jail. The scammer may also impersonate a nurse, police officer, lawyer or other authority figure representing the loved one.
The scammer claims that the loved one needs money wired to the fraudster immediately to bring them to safety.
The scam is effective because the victim is under pressure to get them money quickly, so they don’t have time to consider the fact that it may be a scam. All the while, they imagine the torment the loved one is going through. The urgency of the scam makes it much more likely that the victim will hand over the money.
The FTC is warning people that scammers have given this scam a new technological twist by faking the voice of the loved one by using voice cloning powered by artificial intelligence.
“Artificial intelligence is no longer a far-fetched idea out of a sci-fi movie,” the FTCs warning reads. “We're living with it, here and now. A scammer could use AI to clone the voice of your loved one. All he needs is a short audio clip of your family member's voice—which he could get from content posted online—and a voice-cloning program. When the scammer calls you, he’ll sound just like your loved one.”
All fraudsters need to clone someone’s voice realistically is a 30-second clip of audio that they can easily rip from Facebook, TikTok, podcasts, commercials or Instagram. The voice-generating software synthesizes what makes a person's voice sound unique and then finds similar voices by searching vast databases. This allows them to replicate someone’s voice in real-time to create a phone call that sounds authentic.
It’s terribly difficult to detect the scam because voice-cloning software has become increasingly accurate. As AI technology improves, avoiding being fooled by the scam will become harder.
A scammer finds his next victim.
"It's terrifying," Hany Farid, a professor of digital forensics at University of California, Berkeley, told The Washington Post. "It's sort of the perfect storm ... [with] all the ingredients you need to create chaos."
FTC officials say that in 2022 Americans lost $8.8 billion to fraud, with imposter scams being the most common, and there’s usually no way to get the money back. Scammers usually demand payment through cryptocurrency, money wires, or gift cards, so tracing it is impossible.
The FTC wants people to think twice if they receive a phone call from a loved one in distress or someone claiming to be their representative, especially if they ask for money.
“Don’t trust the voice,” the FTC warning reads. “Call the person who supposedly contacted you and verify the story. Use a phone number you know is theirs. If you can’t reach your loved one, try to get in touch with them through another family member or their friends.”
If you are targeted by one of these voice clone scams, report it to the FTC immediately. You could prevent the next person from being scammed.
This might be the greatest musical comeback ever.
Joseph Foreman, better known to music fans as rapper Afroman, had his Ohio home raided by Adams County Sheriff's deputies last August. The deputies were acting on a warrant claiming probable cause that drugs, drug paraphernalia, and evidence of drug trafficking and kidnapping would be found on his property.
Afroman wasn't home at the time of the raid, but his wife captured footage of it on her phone.
The deputies found nothing, confiscated over $5,000 worth of Afroman’s hard-earned money, bashed in his front door, broke his front gate and destroyed his home security camera system. No charges were filed after the raid. The money was later returned to the "Because I Got High" rapper.
“They come up here with AR-15, traumatize my kids, destroyed my property, kick in my door, rip up and destroy my camera system,” he said in August, according to Fox 19.
Afroman got hilarious revenge on the sheriff's deputies by turning the security camera footage into music videos for two new songs, “Will You Help Me Repair My Door” and “Lemon Pound Cake.” The videos have nearly 4 million views on YouTube combined.
“Will You Help Me Repair My Door” tells the story of the raid using security footage.
“Lemon Pound Cake” is a song about the officer who eyed the delicious confection in Afroman’s kitchen with his pistol drawn.
Afroman also created merchandise featuring images of the deputies involved in the raid.
The deputies have now filed a lawsuit against Afroman, claiming that he used their personas for commercial purposes without permission. The deputies claim the attention caused them to suffer "embarrassment, ridicule, emotional distress, humiliation, and loss of reputation."
The complaint adds that Afroman “created dozens of videos and images of Plaintiffs’ personas and posted them on various social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Snap Chat, TikTok and Instagram.”
The deputies believe they are entitled to all the profits from using their personas, including concert ticket sales, music videos, and all products associated with the Afroman brand, including beer, marijuana and clothing.
So Afroman got his house trashed, his kids traumatized, and his money taken, and now the officers involved want to sue him for appearing in the video recorded on his property? The rapper believes that the deputies' activities were criminal.
“The warrant put the Adams county sheriff in a position to attempt to kill me,” he wrote on Instagram. “After the Adams County Sheriff. Burglarized vandalized and destroyed my property. They became thieves and stole my money. After they stole my money they became criminals. After they became criminals they lost their right of privacy. My house is my property, my video camera films, everything on my property as they begin, stealing my money, disconnecting plus destroying my video camera system, they became my property!”
Afroman’s attorney has released a statement claiming he will countersue.
The attorney statement shared by Afroman shared on Instagram says that they are waiting on public records requests from Adams County. “We are planning to counter-sue for the unlawful raid, money being stolen, and for the undeniable damage this had on my client's family, career and property," it adds.
Afroman is right to feel that he’s the victim in this story. He was wrongly accused of multiple crimes and took retribution by making a video of the raid, which was conducted by public officials. In Ohio, it is legal to film police interactions, and it’s an important right that holds law enforcement accountable.