Harry Potter Films Are Coming to HBO…All 8 of Them!

Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint“Accio Harry Potter!” said HBO.
The cable network has acquired the rights to air all eight movies in the fan-favorite hit film series, six years after the final movie was released…

E! Online (US) – TV News

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Flared Jeans: 3 Celeb-Inspired Ways to Wear Them in 2017

ESC: Jessica Simpson, DenimJust like every other trend from the ’70s, flared jeans are back.
And the best thing about this fashion revival is that there are new, fresh ways to wear it now. Celebs like Jessica…

E! Online (US) – Fashion Police

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A Madoff Gets a Makeover. By Giving Them.

“Don’t think that you’re staring at some girl who has it all,” Stephanie Mack tells personal-shopping clients. “Let me tell you what happened to me.”
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10 Things Interracial Couples Wish You’d Stop Asking Them

Enough already.
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‘S.N.L.’ Prepped Jokes About Harvey Weinstein, Then Shelved Them

Late-night shows have been quiet about the sexual harassment allegations facing Mr. Weinstein, a prominent liberal. Conservatives see a double standard.
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‘I loathe them’: Geldof tears into world leaders

Sir Bob Geldof has torn into world leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi and presidents Trump and Putin – saying he “loathes” them.
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"Curb" Fans Demand Susie Essman to Scream at Them

The "Curb Your Enthusiasm" star reveals the most inappropriate place fans have asked her to scream at them, like she does to Larry David on the HBO series.
E! Online Videos

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Everwood Cast Reunites: All the Moments That Made Us (and Them) Cry

Everwood, CastMore than 10 years after the series finale, much has changed for the cast of Everwood, and yet nothing has changed at all.
Nearly the entire cast (minus the definitely not busy Chris…

E! Online (US) – TV News

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StreetModa.com – Shop $5 Off Beverly Hills Polo Club Men’s Sneakers at StreetModa.com with Promo Code: ‘BEVHILL19’. Get them for $19.99 + Free Shipping from 7/11-7/18!

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StreetModa.com – Shop $5 Off Beverly Hills Polo Club Men’s Sneakers at StreetModa.com with Promo Code: ‘BEVHILL19’. Get them for $19.99 + Free Shipping from 7/11-7/18!

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5 Perfect Valentine’s Day Getaways and the Gifts to Go With Them

Heart-shaped boxes of waxy chocolate don’t exactly scream “I put thought into this gift.” Turn an otherwise sappy, greeting-card holiday into a weekend you’ll both remember by planning a quick trip that nods to who she is and what she enjoys. Here are five escapades she’ll love (along with a few presents to make it extra memorable).

Lifestyle – Esquire

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Jean Shorts: Are You Wearing Them Right?

ESC: Kaia GerberWell, are you?
Morgan Stewart’s at it again with the cocktail making and the fashion recapping. This time, the topic at hand is jean shorts and the celebs who have worn them (more…

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Amazon Will Now Let You Try on Clothes Before You Buy Them

Upgrade your style without ever leaving home.

Style – Esquire

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Nonfiction: Al Franken Has Been Sitting on Jokes for a Decade. Now He’s Ready to Tell Them.

“Al Franken, Giant of the Senate” is the story of how Franken pretended to be a serious person in public even as his inner comic monologue never stopped running.
NYT > Books

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Manziel, Kaepernick, RG III: Why one (Canadian) team owns rights to them all

Manziel, Kaepernick, RG III: Why one (Canadian) team owns rights to them all
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This Interfaith Couple Refuses To Let Their Parents Keep Them Apart

Two years into dating, Allie and Mat say they have no qualms about being in an interfaith relationship. Their parents, on the hand, are a different story.

In a new video from The Skin Deep documentary series, the couple discuss their religions ― Allie practices Judaism and Mat is a Catholic ― and how their families have suggested their relationship will end in heartache.

“My dad was just like, ‘Oh, her family’s not going to like you just because you’re Catholic and she’s Jewish,’” Mat says. “But I don’t really date you for your family.” 

Allie, though, admits that she initially worried that their parents were onto something.

“I remember being so terrified that, what if they’re correct? What if I’m fighting and it’s not going to work?” Allie admits.

Interestingly enough, when Mat asks Allie to share when she feels closest to him, she says it’s when their families meddle.

“It doesn’t matter with all the battles,” she says. “You’re my best friend.”

Watch the clip above to hear more of the couple’s story, including how they intend to raise their future kids in both religions. 

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These 4 Dogs Have Been Patiently Waiting for More Than a Year for Forever Homes — Adopt Them?

Every pet deserves a warm bed and an even warmer hug.

Unfortunately, there are countless pets in this world that are homeless and yearning to make a human’s life better. Shelter and rescues like Best Friends Animal Society, the largest no-kill animal organization in the country, help many of these cats, dogs and other critters find that forever home, providing them with the medical care, attention and diets they need until that happens.

This magical moment of “finding their human” occurs at different times for every pet. Some are only in the shelter for one day, but others are left to patiently wait for months, sometimes even years.

In honor of Adopt a Shelter Pet Day we want to highlight four superb canines that have been living with Best Friends for more than one year, hoping to find their forever. Maybe their wait is almost over.

Duke

“Handsome Duke is looking for a kingdom to reign over. This noble shepherd/Chow Chow mix is well-mannered and super smart. Duke likes to spend his time running around, playing, hoping for ear scratches and napping in his very own fashion: upside down, feet straight up to the sky. Duke is great with most other dogs and such a sweetie. He’d be a fabulous companion for any big dog lover,” gushed his current caretakers. 

If you think this active gentleman is for you, contact Best Friends Animal Society – Los Angeles at (818) 643-3989. 

Nina

Best Friends says, “Pretty Nina is a fun, active gal and the perfect exercise pal. She loves long walks, hikes and play time in the yard. Nina adores people and can play nicely with most other large dogs, too. She was recently in a foster home and was described as: ‘An absolute star! Nina’s an energetic, affectionate 75-pound lap dog.’ This special girl is so ready to be your best friend.” 

To learn more about this large lap dog, contact Best Friends Animal Society – Los Angeles at (818) 643-3989. 

Tyler

Best Friends describes 2-year-old Tyler as a young, lovable retriever mix that is smart, playful and super active. And he’s a smarty-pants who already knows sit, down and give paw! He has been in an amazing foster home with a trainer who is teaching him extra manners and commands so he can be your ideal companion. Tyler loves learning new things and going for long walks in the park. Tyler is a typical busy-body teenager and is looking for someone who shares his zest for life and is happy to help him work on his training. He loves other dogs but can be a little too wacky and wild for some.

If Tyler sounds like a perfect fit for your home, contact Best Friends Animal Society – New York (347) 762-3678.

Churchill

Churchill is a man of simple pleasures. This American bulldog mix just wants your love, some yummy treats and the occasional belly rub. Churchill takes a little extra time to warm up to new people, but with some extra TLC and patience (and treats!) he’ll be your bro, too. He’s got the most ridiculous and adorable underbite that makes him look like a character from Lord of the Rings. And he has the sweetest brown eyes. Churchill has also decided that he’s all the dog that anybody should really need and prefers to be the only dog in his home.

To become Churchill’s human, contact Best Friends Animal Society – New York (347) 762-3678.


PEOPLE.com

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A History Of All-Girl Bands And The Rock World That Tried To Keep Them Out

It was 1964 and singer Genyusha “Goldie” Zelkowitz had a problem. The all-girl band she formed in 1962 with drummer Ginger Bianco, Goldie and the Gingerbreads, had a major label record contract and an upcoming Las Vegas stint ― but the bassist, Nancy Peterman, had just told the band that she was pregnant. She’d formed an attachment to the organist of a band they’d been performing with; things had taken their natural course. In the 1960s, birth control for unmarried women was still illegal in certain states. Roe v. Wade was not yet a glimmer in the Supreme Court’s eye, and an attempt to get her an illicit procedure fell through. The situation was unsurprising, and the conclusion was unfortunate: Peterman had to leave the band.

Zelkowitz, who now goes by Genya Ravan, practically explodes with laughter remembering the incident now, 50 years later, during a phone conversation. “She kept saying she was ‘so lonely’!” Ravan hoots. “Had I known I would have bought her a vibrator.” A vibrator and a career, or a sexual partner and parenthood: That’s a choice The Beatles likely never had to make.

For Ravan, who was determined to make it in the music business, settling down wasn’t an option. After forming Goldie and the Gingerbreads, she saw the branding benefits of keeping the lineup all women, to capitalize on the exotic appeal of an all-girl rock ’n’ roll band. But over the years, they lost members, and it was difficult to fill all the parts in the group with women.

“A lot of the girls that were canned down the line … they wanted to have a family, they wanted to have children,” said Ravan. “There’s no room for that here.”

Womanhood used to usher women off the stage in fairly obvious, biological ways. But it’s 2017. Seven years ago, Pink put in a rousing performance at the American Music Awards while expecting a baby. In February of this year, Beyoncé performed gravity-defying moves during a Grammy performance while pregnant ― with twins.

Nonetheless, pockets of the music world remain startlingly male. Our greatest pop stars today might be women, but in instrument-heavy rock ― indie, punk, metal and beyond ― the standard-issue band is still a group of three to six guys. Less common: a group of male musicians with a female vocalist, or even a female keyboardist or bassist. Least common: a band comprised primarily or entirely of female musicians.

The music internet periodically offers up listicles of all-women bands to check out, which feature a common core cast of incredible indie groups: Hinds, Ex Hex, The Prettiots, Chastity Belt, Warpaint and so on. Plenty has been written about the the chart-topping pop-rock sister group Haim, but even in a diverse musical landscape of EDM, hip-hop, pop and hybrid music, a wide variety of all-male bands still flourishes. Why is the all-female band relatively elusive?

One might be tempted to blame women as a group. Perhaps we’re biologically uninterested in playing electric guitar, much like advanced algebra and video games. Maybe there simply aren’t girls out there with the chops and dedication to succeed. But ― much as with mathematics and video games ― a closer look at the picture suggests that the problem isn’t that women are rejecting rock. It’s that rock is rejecting women.

But how is the music world fencing women out? Picking on the visible gatekeepers is easy, and in many ways fair: Record labels, magazines and music festivals don’t tend to give women artists an equal platform. Last year, a HuffPost analysis of the gender breakdown of acts at 10 major festivals over the past five years found that the vast majority of performers were male. “[A]ll-male acts make up the overwhelming majority of festival lineups, ranging from 66 percent of all performers (Outside Lands and Governors Ball) to 93 percent (Electric Zoo),” HuffPost Women’s Editor Alanna Vagianos concluded. An LA Times piece on Coachella’s specific problems with women noted that, at the time it was written, only one female act had ever headlined the festival, out of over 40 headliners in its history. 

Music media seems little better. In 2016, KQED Arts pointed out in December, exactly zero women made the cover of Rolling Stone ― no Beyoncé, no Rihanna, no Alessia Cara, no Hayley Williams. Women who do snag coverage by major outlets routinely see their musical chops downplayed in favor of their sex appeal, or wind up relegated to special women’s issues or listicles.

The problem, though, starts way before the point when the organizers of Coachella or Bonnaroo are scouting acts, and before magazines are picking out cover models. This isn’t an excuse for their paltry lineups of female artists; it’s just to say that there are other pressures guiding tastemakers toward men and guiding women to give up rock stardom.

Bands made up of all women are rare not because of a lack of talent, dedication or interest, but because women have been siphoned out of the pipeline at nearly every step of the way.

Getting The Band Together

For young boys, forming a crappy band is as elemental a part of growing up as playing baseball, or quitting the baseball team to spend more time smoking pot. If you’ve ever known a handful of teenage boys, you probably know at least one who’s been in a jam band inspired by Phish, or a dude rock band inspired by Dave Matthews, or an indie rock band inspired by Weezer. Guys in bands stand to benefit from male bonding, creative self-expression, and cultivating a rock god image to attract romantic interests. As Alex Pall of The Chainsmokers told Billboard in 2016, “Even before success, pussy was number one … I wanted to hook up with hotter girls.”

The flip side, however, is that this gendered adolescent experience rarely includes a space for girls to be anything but doting audiences and, at worst, “pussy.”

To me that was just kind of a given, guys were always starting bands and playing guitar in their bedrooms,” Allison Wolfe, the former lead singer of riot grrrl band Bratmobile and, most recently, Sex Stains, told me. She grew up in Olympia, home of artsy, crunchy Evergreen State College in Washington State, in the midst of the burgeoning ‘90s DIY punk scene. “I went to a lot of punk shows and saw guys playing. Olympia and Eugene were cool, not super macho like a lot of other places, but it still made me feel like I couldn’t really be a part of it.”

Suzie Zeldin, of the indie band The Narrative, spent her teenage years attending hardcore shows across the country, in Long Island, New York, that were packed with both male and female fans ― but vanishingly few female artists. “It was pretty rare actually to see a girl onstage,” she recalled.

And this was in the late ‘80s to early aughts. Decades ago, when rock ’n’ roll was really taking off, the scene was almost entirely male. “You go back to the ‘60s, and you’re talking about the dark ages of women in music, because the light that you’re putting out, there’s nothing to reflect it back,” said June Millington, co-founder and lead guitarist of the pioneering 1970s band Fanny. “You had to have the courage to walk into that cave that was completely dark.”

Her bandmate, drummer Alice DeBuhr, was blunt: “We didn’t think of ourselves as the beginning of or part of a tradition of women musicians. Because there weren’t any.” 

As with any boys’ club, some determined and talented women have always fought their way in. But bands aren’t just about individual moxie. Forming a band requires collaboration. As a teenage bassist in Australia, music writer Anwen Crawford, author of a New Yorker article titled “The World Needs Female Rock Critics,” wanted that classic, adolescent band experience. The only problem? “I could never find other girls to play with, in those crucial years when you’re forming bands,” she told me. “Your teacher is likely to be male, your peers are likely to be male. It’s quite isolating.”

Just playing with her male peers wasn’t a solution either, she pointed out: “The boys around me didn’t really take me seriously, or thought I was a novelty.”

For many years, and even, to some extent, today, women who did seriously pursue rock music were less likely to find a thriving community of female peers to play with. Female stars like P.J. Harvey, Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks, Crawford noted, typically ended up as solo artists or the sole women in mostly male bands. After Goldie and the Gingerbreads disbanded in 1967, Ravan joined a mostly-male band and later built a solo career.

The creeping, pervasive assumption that little boys learn drums and grow up to be rock stars while little girls play Barbies and grow up to be groupies can isolate and stifle young girls who do pursue music, or it can simply delay their start. Many talented female musicians don’t begin their careers until early adulthood, at the age when young people are exploring who they really are outside of their rigidly defined peer groups. By then, many of their male peers have been mucking around with their instruments and amateur bands for a decade ― but that gap isn’t an insurmountable obstacle.

Augusta Koch, the guitarist and vocalist of the pop-punk band Cayetana, readily admits that she “didn’t know how to play guitar” when Cayetana was born five years ago. Koch and her bandmates were all out of college and dreaming of starting a band when they met at a party in Philadelphia. They decided to join forces and polished their skills together, through years of intense solo and band practice.

Mindy Abovitz, drummer and founder of Tom Tom Magazine, started her first band in college, not long after she’d surreptitiously begun to learn drums. It would have made zero sense to be in a band with a guy at that time, because all my guy friends who were musicians had been in bands since they were 12,” she told me.

“I played music in school band, clarinet and bass clarinet, but it wasn’t until much later that I thought I could do something like be in a band,” recalled Bratmobile’s Wolfe. “But I think I was very lucky to grow up in Olympia.” In the midst of a music scene that prided itself on counter-culturalism and anti-professionalism,anyone could do anything, and it would be considered music,” she said.

Wolfe went to Eugene to attend the University of Oregon, but many weekends she’d return to Olympia with her friend and future bandmate, Molly Neuman, to hang around the music scene. They met Kathleen Hanna, then a student at Evergreen. Wolfe began to notice that women around her were forming their own bands ― and not cute, smiley bands. One day, the summer before college, she peeked into Hanna’s art gallery, Reko Muse, and saw a band rehearsal in progress. “There was Kathleen, onstage,” recalled Wolfe, “and she was just yelling at the top of her lungs, with her veins popping out of her neck, and her face was all red … It was really confrontational, and intense.” Hanna’s band, Bikini Kill, ended up becoming early supporters of Wolfe and Neuman’s nascent group.

Wolfe and Neuman wanted to be involved in the scene ― they were already referring to themselves as a band around Olympia ― but they didn’t actually begin writing and performing music until a friend asked them to play a show he was booking. Despite Bratmobile’s slapdash beginnings, their first show was a rousing success.

“I don’t think it would have happened outside the Olympia scene, because I don’t think we would have had the encouragement,” she admitted. “People would have laughed us off the stage. But instead we had Bikini Kill there cheering us on.”

Keeping The Band Together

Getting an all-girl band together is a magical achievement, but it’s only step one. Rock bands are notoriously fragile things. Internal power struggles, ego trips and artistic disagreements tear many of them apart. For women, though, the stress of fending off inappropriate behavior, condescension and disdain rooted in their gender often ends up compounding the ordinary struggles faced by every band.

Having overcome years of overt or implicit discouragement to choose a musical career, female musicians face exhausting assumptions: That they don’t understand their own gear or craft; that, if they came later to mastering the art form, they are perpetual amateurs; that they’re just hanging around the scene to get male attention. Cayetana’s drummer, Kelly Olsen, pointed out that “women getting into relationships with musicians… get looked at in a very different way than men that do. And I know that we have been judged by who we date, like, you’re just doing that to get close to this band. And it’s like, actually, no! I have my own self and my own power in my own scene.” 

The assumption, however, generally remains that women don’t belong onstage unless they’re accompanied and overseen by men. Lydia Night, the teenage frontwoman of The Regrettes, caught the rock fever early ― she’s been playing guitar since the age of six and has not only attended years of music classes but performed in several bands. Nonetheless, she’s noticed, sound technicians often assume she can’t handle her own equipment. The sexism is difficult to ignore thanks to one simple fact: The band has one male member, drummer Maxx Morando. “We’ve met so many amazing sound people,” she told me, “but we’ve met so many annoying sound people who just assume that … oh, of course Maxx knows how to set up his drums, but she must not know how to set up her amp.”

Though many of the women I spoke to said that they felt respected and appreciated by their male peers in the industry, the spaces men make for themselves aren’t always welcoming. Women might be left out of bands and tours by men who want to keep the fratty vibe, or who don’t want their significant others to worry about infidelity. “Tour buses are definitely places where women get excluded,” Abovitz said, referencing a situation she’d recently advised another female musician about. “They don’t get hired. They just get left off.” Her acquaintance and the other woman in her band weren’t invited on a bus due to this reasoning; in the end, they had to drive themselves separately for the entire tour.

When it’s not the men directly involved in the industry, it’s the press. Music journalism, a field that was carved out and is still largely populated by white men, has historically been hostile at worst, and patronizing at best, to female artists. “The assumption [was] that interviewers and other people could treat us with condescension and that was the norm,” says Millington. “That condescension was pretty lethal, because it can come at you in so many different ways, even the subtle ways cut ― at least 50 percent, 60 percent or more of the time, the condescension had to be there even if [critics] said they liked us.”

Critics and journalists might cover a girl band with a tone of surprise that a group of women could even play competently, or fixate on the band members’ sex appeal and gendered characteristics.  

Plus, female artists were played off each other, creating the impression that in the massive rock universe, there was only room for one woman star. “It was never about the music,” Raven remembered of her early reviews. “They always had to compare me with somebody.” Usually, the times being what they were, that somebody was Janis Joplin. In 1969, legendary rock critic Robert Christgau described her as “this group’s resident Janis Joplin” in a review of Ten Wheel Drive, a jazz-rock band she joined after Goldie and the Gingerbreads broke up. Joplin comes up yet again in his review of one of her solo albums, “Urban Desire,” in addition to the accusation that “she oversings.” (Christgau’s oeuvre is a trove of chauvinistic criticism, which is rarely subtle; he takes pains to graciously judge that Fanny’s “execution is competent enough.”)

In the early days of rock ’n’ roll, even audiences who presumably showed up to enjoy these shows were sexist by default. Millington and DeBuhr both vividly recalled one particular compliment from male listeners that seemed to dog Fanny throughout its run: “Not bad for chicks!”

No matter where they performed, “that was the best compliment we could get through the early ‘70s. Isn’t that incredible?” Millington told me. “And we almost always smiled and said ‘Thank you.’” Worse, Fanny often confronted the assumption that they couldn’t play their own songs. “I can’t remember how many times people asked us, ‘Who were the male musicians playing on the album?’” DeBuhr remembered. To a group of women who practiced and performed tirelessly and who took pride in their music, this question was particularly galling.

In the punk era, disdainful audiences could be more aggressive. Wolfe half-seriously insisted that her nearsightedness and poor hearing protected her ego from the vitriol of sexist crowds. “A lot of the time I was saved by the fact that I couldn’t see or hear what was going on in the audience,” she said. After Bratmobile’s second show, Kathleen Hanna met them offstage and asked if they were OK. Unbeknownst to them, some “scary metalhead dudes” in the crowd had been hollering death threats at the band throughout their set.

Harder to ignore: An incident at a show during Wolfe’s time in the late-’90s band Cold Cold Hearts, when a man grabbed her ass while she performed. “I actually started laughing, because it was just too shocking,” she said.

Some women involved with the music world saw a relatively egalitarian, non-threatening environment, at least in specific scenes. Punk historian Gillian McCain, co-author of the oral history Please Kill Me, pushed back on the idea that the early punk scene could be sexually exploitative. “The girls were enjoying their sexual freedom as much as the boys were,” she wrote in an email. “None of the women we interviewed saw themselves as victims.”

But there’s no denying that some women in the music industry have been victimized, and that the experience can directly affect their careers. Pop star and songwriter Kesha, the most infamous recent example, follows in a long line of women whose voices were snuffed out thanks to male exploitation. Due to her ironclad contract and current legal battle with her former producer, Dr. Luke, whom she has accused of sexual and other abuse, Kesha is reported to be sitting on at least 22 new songs she’s not allowed to bring out. 

In 2015, the original bassist of The Runaways, Jackie Fuchs, accused the band’s late manager, Kim Fowley, of raping her soon after she joined the band in 1975. She quit in 1977. In a HuffPost Highline feature, Jason Cherkis documented multiple alleged victims of Fowley’s sexual violence, primarily Fuchs and Kari Krome, a precocious songwriter Fowley began grooming at just 13 years old. By the time Cherkis spoke to Krome, some 40 years later, she had been out of the music business since her teen years, instead writing boxes full of unpublished lyrics. “[S]he couldn’t shake the idea that Fowley never believed in her talent, that he only wanted to sleep with her,” he wrote. “She ended up abandoning her dreams of becoming a successful songwriter.” 

Though it’s impossible to say how many women’s careers have been stunted or destroyed by sexual predation, even those who remain and succeed continue to face gendered criticism and abuse. With few other options, women musicians often embrace determinedly nonchalant attitudes toward their harassers and critics. “It’s hard to play a show when someone screams ‘you can’t play guitar’ or ‘you’re hot,’ but at the same time,” said Koch, “we try to not let it ruin us.”

During the riot grrrl movement of the ‘90s, women on the scene tried to find safety in solidarity. After the butt-grabbing incident at her Cold Cold Hearts show, Wolfe remembered, “The amazing thing is I didn’t have to do anything. It was a girl power show; all the women bounced him out in two seconds.” By urging “girls to the front” and forefronting feminism, riot grrrl created a safer space for women in rock ― at least temporarily.  In other times, in other cases, playing through the pain simply led to burnout. “I left Fanny in ‘73, because I was just tired,” Millington told me.

When women aren’t kept out of rock genres through sheer discouragement, exclusion or harassment, the malleable nature of the genre can also be used against them. Women artists may be edited out of the rock annals simply through gendered perceptions ― what men play is rock and what women play is pop. Nowhere is this more evidently the case than with black women, who, like black men, often find themselves reflexively categorized as R&B simply because of their race. As Rolling Stone’s Brittany Spanos wrote in 2016, the white appropriation of rock has been so total that it “box[es] black performers into R&B and soul categories no matter how genre-bending they are.”

“Though largely forgotten in our whitewashed annals of history,” LaTonya Pennington wrote in The Establishment, “black women helped create the genre of rock, which has its roots in blues, country, jazz, gospel and R&B.” Just as many pioneers of rock were black men ― Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Little Richard and Bo Diddley ― many of the early female pioneers, like “Godmother of Rock ’n’ Roll” Sister Rosetta Tharpe, were black. White women were also often complicit in undercutting black women performers. The first recording of “Piece of My Heart” was performed by Erma Franklin ― known as an R&B singer ― yet it was white singer Janis Joplin ― known as a rocker ― whose rendition rose to fame.

The contributions of black women have been routinely swept under the rug and written out of rock history. But Pennington, Spanos and other critics have seen black women reclaiming their place in the rock genre in recent years, from undeniably rock acts such as The Alabama Shakes (fronted by vocalist and guitarist Brittany Howard) to indie darling Santigold to, yes, Beyoncé.

In “Lemonade,” the pop icon dabbled in country and rock ’n’ roll to great effect. “Beyoncé… provided one of the year’s most memorable rock moments with ‘[Don’t] Hurt Yourself,’” Crawford argued. “Here we have a song by a black woman artist (Beyoncé), who has not typically been ‘seen’ as a rock musician, which appropriates white rock masculinity in order to emphasize that the origins of rock music (in the blues) lie with black women, whose music was, in turn, appropriated by white men.” The all-important visuals work fluidly with the song to reinforce this message, she added. “The film clip … which begins and ends with a young black woman sitting behind a drum kit, makes literally visible this lineage of largely disregarded and historically invisible black female musicianship.”

Passing The Torch

With all the obstacles and forms of discouragement women in rock have faced over the decades, rock is no longer the coolest nor freshest genre. Does it even matter how inclusive it is to women anymore? Crawford, though she qualifies that it’s important for women to have equal opportunity in any genre, suggests women look elsewhere. The masculinization of the scene has been so entrenched, and the genre itself seems so archaic, that she “wouldn’t necessarily advise [a young woman today] to pick up a guitar. I think of rock music like the realist novel ― it’s fun, people are still doing it, but why?” And though “other genres have their own problems,” she pointed out, there’s a less lengthy and calcified history of exclusion to undo. Women have been making huge amounts of exciting, boundary-pushing music in electronic music, in pop and beyond ― rock just hasn’t been as welcoming.

Conversely, McCain downplayed the severity of the obstacles faced by women in punk rock ― though the punk scene was predominantly male. “Unfortunately that’s the case in a lot of vocations,” she wrote in an email. “I think there were barriers to both men and women making it in punk music! […] In some ways the women may have held an advantage as far as getting more media attention.” McCain cited breakout female stars of the era, from Patti Smith to Tina Weymouth, who remain popular today. As Ravan realized in the 1960s, being a woman in a man’s world could be a great marketing tool.  

Still, staking a visible claim to rock music isn’t just an ego trip for marginalized artists: It clears the path to stardom for those that follow. Not only does it make it easier for audiences and critics to conceptualize, for example, black and female artists as rockers, but it helps future musicians to avoid the derision, harassment and sense of alienation that has afflicted many.

Even today, women deal with gendered belittlement and abuse on tour. But audiences have seen enough female rock musicians to mitigate the level of scorn faced by individual artists. Where Fanny and Goldie and the Gingerbreads often felt like their gender was so unusual that it was simply treated as a gimmick ― the only reason people bothered to book them as opposed to the many male bands ― women who are currently early in their music careers see a more diverse scene. Night told me that The Regrettes perform alongside “a lot of women … super badass women.”

Zeldin has also toured with a number of bands with one or more woman. “There are a lot of bands that have at least some female presence. It’s nice to see that happening more and more,” she said.

Part of the more welcoming environment for women and gender non-binary individuals in rock has to do with changing norms, like a better understanding of the harm caused by sexual assault. Recalling her time in Fanny in the ‘70s, DeBuhr describes a scene that was not only permissive of male urges, but that lacked a language to talk about it critically. Though sometimes she felt deeply uncomfortable with the sexualized atmosphere, she told me, “At the time, I don’t think we called it sexual harassment … It was creepy, I didn’t like it.” Creepy behavior might still be fairly common in the music industry, but women musicians do have the vocabulary to talk about it. Take music publicist Heathcliff Berru, once a power player in the field. He fell precipitously from grace after a raft of female musicians and industry professionals ― most notably Amber Coffman of Dirty Projectors ― publicly accused him of various forms of sexual misconduct.

Even the idea that women can be rebels and artists as well as homemakers, mothers and playthings needed to emerge over the past few decades. Not only were the first all-girl bands were presented as gimmicks, they were often presented as sexualized ones. Fowley notoriously positioned The Runaways as a clique of sexy jailbait rather than serious musicians ― and that’s a temporary brand at best.

During high school, in 1960s Iowa, DeBuhr played in a girl band called Women. (“We were a gimmick,” explained. “That was the attraction, it was all girls.”) While at an Iowan club, teenage DeBuhr saw a female drummer in a jazz trio. The drummer was older, “maybe 40,” she recalled. “I said, ‘I will quit when I‘m 30. I won’t be an old lady playing the drums.” She did end up hanging up her drumsticks not long after Fanny broke up. Now, she says, she regrets it.

To a young DeBuhr, that solitary, middle-aged woman drummer may have seemed like an oddity at the time; the lack of visible female rock icons inevitably perpetuates the assumption that women don’t belong onstage, unless they’re go-go dancers or sultry vocalists. Even serious bands like Fanny and the Gingerbreads faced pressure to go onstage scantily clad ― which they resisted to varying degrees.

Perhaps the most important evolution has been the determined, serious incursion of women into the genre, a genre that at first seemed to have no place for them. Though Ravan and Millington cite a few forerunners as inspirations ― Etta James, Lillian Briggs ― they saw their own music as something different. They were playing rock ’n’ roll in bands, just like the boys.

Today, budding musicians have a pantheon of women rockstars to draw inspiration from and emulate. “When I was five, my dad took me to a Donnas concert … and I just fell in love with it,” Night told me. “The turning point for me ― I think I was 10 ― my mom took me to see a movie about the drummer of Hole. I started listening to a lot of Hole, Bikini Kill, Babes in Toyland.” 

A push for mostly all-women bands may be unlikely today because, in a more inclusive scene, female musicians see less of a need to huddle together. When Night initially fell in love with The Donnas, she longed to start an all-girl band; now, she says, she doesn’t even think about gender when forming a band. Zeldin, who has always worked with male musicians, felt the same. “I’d totally be down to do a girl band,” she told me. But she wouldn’t be motivated to do sojust because it would be all girls.”

The success of “girl rock” can come in waves. For groups like Fanny and Bratmobile, being all women was part of the point; at those times, it felt like both safety in solidarity and a way of making political statement. “If the whole point was giving voice to girls, then yeah, we wanted to play with other girls,” said Wolfe. After the overtly feminist, but flawed, riot grrrl scene faded, punk and indie rock seemed to contract around men again.

“I feel like riot grrrl ended in the mid-’90s, and by the late-‘90s there was a lot of backlash,” said Wolfe. “Suddenly there were a lot fewer girl bands in the punk scene, and it was like, what happened?” The backlash to riot grrrl, which she concedes had its own problems, still felt “like sexism. Or just dissing feminism.”

Though juggernaut all-women bands like Sleater-Kinney arose from and survived riot grrrl, they were more the exception than the rule. By the early aughts, critics were commenting on the almost startling sexism of the ascendant emo and punk scene. Andy Greenwald’s Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo noted the dearth of women on popular emo labels, as well as the overtly resentful and objectifying view emo artists took of women: “Now emo songwriters were one-sided victims of heartbreak, utterly wronged and ready to sing about it, with the women having no chance to respond.”

In an essay on emo misogyny from her 2015 book The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic, titled “Where the Girls Aren’t,” music journalist and critic Jessica Hopper remembered growing up in the era of riot grrrl. “For me, even as a teenage autodidact who thought her every idea was worthy of expression and an audience,” she wrote, “it did not occur to me to start a band until I saw other women in one.” Watching female fans at emo shows where all-male artists sang about cardboard-cutout women who had hurt them, she thought, “I don’t want these front row girls to miss that. I don’t want girls leaving clubs denied of encouragement and potential.” 

The clock couldn’t simply be turned back to the 1950s after the riot grrrl era ended, though. Bikini Kill records were still out there. We knew about the Bangles. Zeldin, who grew up frequenting the emo and hardcore scene, took the rarity of women onstage at those shows as a challenge. “I think that’s probably partially what drove me to do it, aside from having the inclination,” she told me. “It was more like ― I don’t see girls doing so let’s do it.”

Abovitz, who launched a whole publication to cover female drummers, believes fervently in the power of modeling. “There’s this sort of thing that every female drummer I know does: Go out and play a show not just for herself, but for every other female drummer,” she said. “You just want to do it, so that people will get over it already.”

The scene already looks less homogenous than it did 10 years ago, despite the daunting machismo of the aughts. Earlier generations of women musicians have sought to further their gains by promoting their own legacies, and even by educating new generations. Millington started the Institute for the Musical Arts (IMA) with her partner, Ann F. Hackler, in 1986. The institute runs rock camps for young girls, among other initiatives to support women in music. Camps like the IMA’s have begun to bear fruit ― like Night’s The Regrettes, formed by three girls and a boy who met in an LA School of Rock.

Though the genre has put up walls against women for decades, women have refused to stay out ― and the more they refuse, the more open the music industry becomes to all women.  

You gotta keep writing songs that speak out about this stuff, or keep being in bands, or whatever it is that you do,” said Wolfe. “Being there, inserting yourself in a space that isn’t common for women to be.”

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How WWE’s Natalya Preps for Wrestlemania, ‘The Grandest Stage of Them All’

WWE wrestlers travel the globe year-round for bouts, but none are as big as Wrestlemania, what fighter Natalya “Nattie” Neidhart calls, “the grandest stage of them all.”

To prep for the sport’s biggest day of the year, Neidhart, 34, focuses on cutting down her diet and kicking up her workouts in the days right before she hits the ring.

“The days leading up to Wrestlemania we really watch what we eat, and I hit the gym no matter what,” she tells PEOPLE. “When you’re walking out in front of 70,000 people you want to look your absolute best, because it’s not just those people that are watching you live, it’s 170-plus countries around the globe that are tuning in.”

But her diet — what Neidhart says is the key to staying in tip-top shape — doesn’t change too much.

“The thing about WWE is we’re on year-round, there’s no off-season. So bodybuilders can diet down for a show, and then eat normally, but we have to maintain our physiques 365 days a year,” she says. “And 90 percent of the struggle is in the diet. I love to exercise, but you can’t out work a bad diet. If you’re not eating properly, than you’re definitely not going to look your best.”

The constant traveling for WWE can make it tough to stick to a diet and get to a gym, but Neidhart and her fellow wrestlers have it figured out.

“Thank goodness we have Yelp and we have Google to find these places,” she says. “The second that we land, the first thing I do is find food, and a gym. Our bodies are part of our job, so we have to look good and we have to maintain.”

From Coinage: 4 Ways to Work Out Without Killing Your Wallet

 

At the gym, she focuses on Olympic lifting, and says her favorite move is the clean and jerk.

“You’re lifting weight off the ground and you’re throwing it up, so you’re giving your body a whole-body workout,” Neidhart says. “And it definitely imitates us throwing people down in the ring!”

And though she’s slamming the other WWE Divas to the ground on stage, the truth is they’re all good friends.

“While we’re in the ring we’re all fierce competitors, everyone wants to win, but behind the curtain we’re all friends,” Neidhart says. “There’s a little dance that we do — myself, Alexia Bliss, and Carmela — any time that Nikki James’ music comes on, and it really gets us going before the match. I call us the Three Disgruntled Blondes. It just loosens you up and makes you laugh.”

WrestleMania airs live on Sunday, April 2 at 7 p.m. ET on WWE Network. Fans can also see Nattie compete every Tuesday night on SmackDown Live on USA Network at 8 p.m. ET.


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‘It Just Dawned On Me To Make A Cross Out Of Them’

Ronald Freeman simply wants someone to see what he had done.

For a year, Freeman had pondered how best to memorialize the nine black parishioners killed at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. He was working a lot with wood and he knew that he wanted to draw their images on wood. But how should he portray all them together in one piece of art?

“It just dawned on me to make a cross out of them,” he told The Huffington Post.

The materials sat in his studio for a while as Freeman battled with his own emotions. “There is a bit of sadness involved when I get to drawing people who have lost their lives in a violent way,” the artist said, adding that he also worried that their families might feel disrespected by it.

He finished building the wooden cross this past July. He drew the faces using charcoal pencils. A Bible at the center of the 6 feet high by 5 feet wide cross symbolizes the Bible Study service at which the victims lost their lives.

Six women and three men died in the shooting at Mother Emanuel: Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson, Ethel Lance, Rev. Daniel Simmons, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor and Susie Jackson. 

Their killer, a white supremacist named Dylann Roof, was convicted earlier this month.

Freeman, who lives in New Jersey, has only been creating art seriously for five years after being laid off from a corporate job at Verizon Wireless. When he completed the cross, he wanted people to see it. A video detailing his artwork has appeared in a New Jersey art gallery, but Freeman hopes the work can be shown more widely, including to the victims’ families.

“Even though I don’t know them, I was thinking about them and their families,” Freeman said.

He tried to contact the church itself but wasn’t able to get any substantial leads. Regardless, he thinks his artwork can help people heal while serving as a constant reminder of what happened on June 17, 2015.

The families of those killed surprised many by quickly forgiving Roof. Forgiveness is a hallmark of black Christianity and often a way for black people to battle through racial trauma.

“I don’t know if I could forgive this guy like that. But … this is so rooted deep in religion and faith,” Freeman said. “They’re taught to forgive.”

He noted that the parishioners were also demonstrating their Christian faith when they graciously welcomed Roof, a stranger, into their Bible study service. “They had no suspicion in the world,” he said.  

Roof laughed as he confessed shortly after his arrest. He’d fired at least 74 shots and used seven magazines, according to evidence found at the crime scene. “Somebody had to do it,” he told police officers, adding that “black people are killing white people every day. …. What I did is so minuscule compared to what they do to white people every day.”

One final aspect of the horrific story that really stands out for Freeman is how Roof was arrested.

“The fact that he didn’t get shot, a bullet that also rings out because they shoot so many unarmed black males,” Freeman said. “So you got this guy with a gun, he’s a suspect, they pull him over in the car and they didn’t so much as pull out their guns.”

In fact, some officers did pull out their weapons, but it is shocking to see how quickly they re-holstered them ― well before Roof was under their control.

“It speaks to race, inequality and where we’re at right now as far as the inequality of African-Americans,” Freeman said. “We got black men being killed for just holding up their hands and they’re getting shot to death, running away and they’re getting shot to death.”

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Netflix Knows About Your Binging Breathers, And What You Do With Them

Fulfilling its role as wise omnipotent narrator, Netflix has surveyed its vast subscriber base of 86 million happy couch potatoes and discovered patterns in our binging once again.

We like TV. But we still aren’t bored with movies. After we finish watching all available seasons of a TV show on Netflix, most of us (59 percent) take at least a one-day breather ― the average is three days ― before committing to another show.

In a report released Wednesday, Netflix says most people who take breaks (61 percent) like to watch a movie or documentary during that time between shows “to keep the binge feeling alive,” a statement reads. The streaming service also noted the types of movies viewers are likely to go for based on which series they’ve just finished. 

For a lot of TV-movie pairings, the rationale is clear. After “House of Cards,” some moved on to “Beasts of No Nation,” which features a different ruthless leader, and after “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” some move on to “The Princess Bride,” another quirky comedy. Many “Gilmore Girls” viewers moved on to pop culture classics “Sixteen Candles” and “Dirty Dancing”; many “Luke Cage” viewers switched to U.S. criminal justice documentary “13th.”

The exception is when viewers choose a comedy flick. According to Netflix, people tend to choose comedies when they need a change of pace ― after watching the scary series “American Horror Story” or “Stranger Things,” for example. 

“It’s interesting that in this golden age of television, movies are consistently in demand on Netflix,” said Ted Sarandos, the company’s chief content officer. “What we’ve come to figure out is that movies are really an important part of people’s viewing routines and complementary to the way they watch and enjoy TV.”

Take a look at some of their other findings below:

The company looked at viewership data from 86 million subscribers. To find popular TV-movie pairings, Netflix analyzed over 100 TV series to identify which movies were paired “most frequently per market.”

The report comes on the heels of an announcement this week that Netflix will spend a cool $ 6 billion on original content in 2017, up from a measly $ 5 billion in 2016.

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Golf Clubs and How to Use Them (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Golf Clubs and How to Use Them Prefaces are often boring, and so very seldom touch upon real issues, that I make no apology for the brevity of mine to this work. But, I would like to emphasize that when all our leading authorities on the orthodox in golf disagree here and there in little matters, then surely the unorthodox golfer is entitled to his opinion or opinions. Suffice it to say that I never was orthodox even as a small boy in Jersey, and one may say that either because of, or despite, this persistence of mine in keeping away from stereotyped golfing methods, I have attained a small measure of success in that Royal and Ancient game. On each of my tours in America, and very often in this country, I have been asked how I accounted for a player of my style – a style in many ways breaking the canons of golf – achieving success now and then, and I have invariably indulged in the Caledonian characteristic of answering one question by asking another: “How do you think I would fare were I to drop my present style?” About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www. forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.

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Trillions of Digital Photos Stored in “Clouds” But “Inkdot” Brings Them Back to Stunning Life on New Mediums

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Photos, photos everywhere…and, not one to hold. Inkdot’s changing that!

With the NFL season kicking off this week (September 10), it means summer is evolving into colorful Autumn, and people will be snapping photos of sports events, favorite concerts, fall weddings, first day of school for the kiddos, cute pets and breathtaking travel scenes, while taking the ubiquitous selfie. We just can’t seem to get enough of taking photos. Yet, the oldest known photograph with a person was only taken in 1838, depicting a man in Paris getting his shoes shined.

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Boulevard du Temple – by Louis Daguerre in Paris 1838

Now it’s estimated there’ll be one trillion photos taken this year, and the total number of photos stored may reach 4.9 trillion in 2017. Hello, that’s a lot of terabytes! Indeed, the recent World Photo Day (August 19) underscored our growing fascination with snapping everything and everybody.

And although eccentric British photographer David Bailey once suggested that it “takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer,” quality photography has indeed come to us masses.

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John & Nate Larkin bring memorable digital images to life in dramatic mediums

Chicago-based John Larkin, co-founder with his brother Nate of cutting edge and specialized online print company “Inkdot,” says that the invention of camera phones, especially the iPhone, has changed the whole game.

Every day there’s an incredible photo that comes through that was taken on an iPhone. Now everyone is able to capture quality shots, with a professional look about them. They don’t have to carry around a big camera, so it’s super convenient, they’re grabbing these spontaneous, quality moments and the images deserve to come to life again, in a tactile, creative and fun way — instead of only being shared on Facebook or Instagram.

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Sunrise captured on 24×36 Wood Print

The Larkin brothers were introduced to me by an associate of mine and a marketing expert Jonathan Stuart, whom I’ve worked with on several high profile athlete blogs for international platforms. Jonathan, whose Greay Area consultancy service helps clients cut through the noise, says the key to Inkdot’s success is its focus on creating distinctive and premium products, as opposed to churning out sub-par prints like many online photo-printing-sites.

So I checked out some of Inkdot’s unique products and discovered that by uploading one of your cool digital images from Instagram, Facebook or your computer to their website, you can pick hip “material” options for sporting your great image, including: immortalize your favorite event (like a sports score celebration or outstanding concert) by getting the shot printed on cool coasters or on a square print; create a memorable piece of art out of your stored wedding pix or recent vacation photos printed directly into natural wood; you can embed your back-to-school kids’ images off your phone into aluminum, giving it a long-lasting vibrancy; better still, do yourself a solid, grab a cute pet photo, and impress your lady by splashing her pooch’s mug on a throw pillow or tote bag; or to really rock out, use Stiick, a special magnetic frame to show off your special photos.

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Wedding bliss and shenanigans on Coasters!

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Holding a vacation memory on a Square Paper Print

Nate Larkin offers:

People take photos and the only feedback is from sharing on social media platforms and getting likes. But with Inkdot, people can see their photos printed in a tactile, tangible way, something you can hold in your hand, and easily put up in your house, something you can experience every day. The nice thing about the Wood Print is that it comes ready to hang, you don’t need to put it in a frame and pay extra. And, our distinctive printed products return you to that memory, and help bring the stories behind the photos back to life again.

The Larkins, who have a wide-format printing background working in their father’s business, feel they’ve caught the right wave with their business, brought on by the affordability and progress of printer technology and the growth of high quality photos.

John explains, “We didn’t want to focus on printing every photo but wanted to print those unique images — while also thinking, let’s pair it with some really cool, high-end materials.” Nate smoothly continues, “We were really testing the assumption that you can only print on certain materials, like paper. By using different grades of wood, we were creating our own medium to print on.”

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On the wall, Golden Gate Bridge captured on 24×36 Wood Print

In their ongoing goal to create new mediums and a new sort of art, the brothers also feature select artists and designers whose related products are available to customers in Inkdot’s “marketplace.” John explains, “By hosting different digital artists, we’re promoting their designs to work in combination with what our clients want.”

But the Larkins have also glommed onto another change, as Nate suggests:

There’s been a lull in printing, with people storing all those digital photos. But now it’s coming back to people remembering those photo albums they used to go through at their parents’ house, and now wanting to experience that again. We see this push back to printing physical photos. And the response we’re getting, especially with material like our Wood Prints and Metal Prints, people are blown away by the quality. We’re not here to print every photo that’s taken on an iPhone. We’re here to print those special photos that mean a lot, and need to be shared with loved ones, friends and family.

2015-09-04-1441388992-8107099-1.jpeg

Sharing special and fun photos on 12×12 Wood Prints

Speaking of family, the Larkin brothers pride themselves on being a family business with John adding:

We’re constantly making sure our products are the best and really take satisfaction in what we do. It’s a family business and we’re going to be around for awhile. We want to grow an awareness about what’s possible. People often leave their photos in the ‘App’ and they don’t actually have the original image stored anywhere. Or, they still aren’t sure that they can print their photos from Instagram. Or that iPhone quality is now good enough to blow up to 24 x 36 size print. So bring us your wedding, memorable event, travel, cute kid or pet images, and we’ll creatively bring your stories and memories back to life.

Follow Inkdot on Instagram and Facebook.

Ashley Jude Collie is a big fan of Inkdot’s artistic creations.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




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The Worst Bridal Emergencies (and How to Fix Them)

A graceful bride isn’t the one who goes the whole night without spilling wine on her dress—it’s the one who doesn’t lose her shit if she does. Here, Allure‘s guide to handling every possible wedding emergency like a champ.
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Mighty No. 9 Beat Them at Their Own Game: Debut Trailer

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Our first look at Mighty No. 9 is here with their debut trailer.
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26 Stunning Photos Of Women’s Tattoos — And The Stories Behind Them

Tattoo artist Kat Von D once said, “I am a canvas of my experiences, my story is etched in lines and shading, and you can read it on my arms, my legs, my shoulders, and my stomach.”

Tattoos are stories — marked in ink and blood — quietly traveling around us all day on shoulder blades and wrists and across entire backs. These stories can be powerful, uplifting and even heart-wrenching. They can symbolize a life-changing event, they can be in memory of someone special, or they might exist simply because they’re beautiful.

We spoke with 26 women who shared photographs of their tattoos and the varied reasons they got them. Some tattoos came out of heartbreak, others from moments of celebration.

Here are 26 gorgeous images of women’s tattoos and the stories behind each of them:

These interviews have been edited and condensed.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Watch People Try To Pronounce Medical Terms, And Utterly Mangle Them

If medical terminology is Greek to you, you’re not alone.

Obscure terms like “sphygmomanometer” and “ankylosing spondylitis” can be tricky to pronounce even for those who do have a background in medicine. What hope is there for the rest of us?

In the video above, you can watch so-called “regular,” as in non-medical, people, try to sound out — and utterly mangle — words like these, and also guess what they mean.

In case you’re wondering: ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory disorder of the skeleton, and a sphygmomanometer measures your blood pressure (not how much phlegm is in your throat or how much of a man you are.)

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Killing Them Softly

Killing Them Softly


Devin James and Avonte Petrocelli become sexually involved with Qianna Patterson; a very beautiful, but unstable woman, fresh out of prison with a history of violence. Together they plan a murder for insurance money. Once the deadly deed is done, their real intentions come to the forefront, and the drama and murders begin.

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Every Single Outfit From Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” Music Video (All 36 of Them!)

Thank goodness last night’s Billboard Music Awards opened with the premiere of Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” video because let’s be honest—the world couldn’t have waited much longer (there was seriously that much hype). All the cameos from Taylor’s high-powered posse of pals meant there were a ton of different outfits and, spoiler alert, every single one was pretty sexy.

Outfit #1: Taylor’s nude bustier and skirt
taylor-swift-bad-blood-video-latex-bustier
The video opened with so much action that we didn’t get a good look at Taylor’s first outfit until she got pushed through a window. With a nude latex bustier, miniskirt, garter belt, and thigh-highs, it started things off plenty steamy.

Outfit #2: Selena Gomez’s pussy-bow blouse and miniskirt
taylor-swift-bad-blood-video-selena-gomez
Selena got retro-cool in black tights and pumps, plus a swing mini and necktie blouse.

Outfit #3 and #4: Kendrick Lamar’s black suit and Taylor’s white latex two-piece
taylor-swift-bad-blood-white-latex
Kendrick wore a black suiting to sit behind a desk, boss-style, and Taylor wore white latex with buckles to log time in a sci-fi machine that appeared to fix any wounds she sustained from Selena.

Outfit #5: Lena Dunham’s scene-stealing gloves
taylor-swift-bad-blood-video-lena-dunham
We didn’t get to see Lena’s entire outfit, but her most major accessory was on full display: those buttery soft black leather gloves.

Outfit #6 and #7: Hailee Steinfeld’s white suit, and Taylor’s armor plates and crazy boots
taylor-swift-bad-blood-hailee-steinfeld
For her part in the trio of healers, Hailee wore all white (all the way down to her chunky-heeled Chelsea boots) and helped outfit Tay in those sick armored pieces. Also worth noting here: Taylor’s crazy, Lady Gaga-esque boots.

Outfit #8: Serayah’s bondage bra and cutout bodysuit
taylor-swift-bad-blood-video-serayah
Straps were everywhere on Serayah’s sexy number—they hugged her sides, crisscrossed at the shoulder, and replaced regular bra straps.

Outfit #9: Gigi Hadid’s bra, body harness, and over-the-knee boots
taylor-swift-bad-blood-video-gigi-hadid
High-waisted shorts mixed with a harness and tall boots that felt like high-fashion armor.

Outfit #10: Ellie Goulding’s long-sleeve top, shorts, and wide belt
taylor-swift-bad-blood-video-ellie-goulding
The thing that pushed Ellie’s look from basic LBD to something seriously dangerous? That wide belt, complete with three straps and a ton of buckles and hoops.

Outfit #11: Martha Hunt’s full-coverage bodysuit
taylor-swift-bad-blood-video-martha-hunt
Victoria’s Secret beauty Martha was the vid’s most ninja-like warrior, spinning and twisting in long-sleeve leather.

Outfit #12 and #13: Kendrick’s suit and Taylor’s sexy black lingerie
taylor-swift-bad-blood-video-lingerie
A baseball cap made Kendrick’s earlier look more casual for a ride around the training facility, while Taylor got extra saucy in black lingerie and sexy stockings.

Outfit #14 and #15: Cara Delevingne’s bandage cage one-piece and Taylor’s silver spike bra
taylor-swift-bad-blood-video-cara-delevingne
Cara made her appearance in a bandage bathing suit, while Taylor got fierce with a spiked bra top and wrist-length leather gloves.

Outfit #16 and #17: Zendaya’s bra, biker shorts, and platform boots, and Taylor’s turtleneck and platform boots
taylor-swift-bad-blood-video-zendaya
There was a ’90s vibe going on for Zendaya, who rocked biker shorts, high socks, and chunky platforms. Taylor rocked the same shoes but had a Princess Leia thing going with her billowy sleeve onesie.

Outfit #18 and #19: Hayley Williams’ blue cutout bodysuit and Taylor’s leather leotard and over-the-knee boots
taylor-swift-bad-blood-video-paramour
As one of the few ladies permitted to wear non-black, Paramour’s Hayley really stood out in blue leather. Taylor stood by in another leather leotard and tall boots.

Outfit #20: Taylor’s white jumpsuit and fur hood
taylor-swift-bad-blood-video-snow-suit
For her turn out of all-black, Taylor wore a white short suit (that looked, shape-wise, a lot like this red carpet pick).

Outfit #21: Lily Aldridge’s white zippered two-piece, fur hood, and fur arm warmers
taylor-swift-bad-blood-video-lily-aldridge
Lily’s outfit mimicked Taylor’s, though there were key differences. Hers was a two-piece with metallic silver accents and featured more fuzz on her arm warmers.

Outfit #22 and #23: Karlie Kloss’s and Taylor’s all-black boxing outfits
taylor-swift-bad-blood-video-karlie-kloss-boxing
The real-life pals battled in the ring in tiny one-pieces that could be marketed as super-sexy singlets.

Outfit #24 and #25: Jessica Alba’s and Taylor’s leather motorcycle racing jumpsuits
taylor-swift-bad-blood-video-leather-suit-motorcycle
For the video’s fastest scene (speed racers!), Taylor and Jessica both wore slick leather racing suits.

Outfit #26: Taylor’s latex and leather jumpsuit
taylor-swift-bad-blood-video-leather-jumpsuit
A matte leather jumpsuit with geometric latex lines would have stood out, flare or no flare.

Outfit #27and #28: Mariska Hargitay’s fringed jacket and Ellen Pompeo’s bold shoulders
taylor-swift-bad-blood-video-mariska-hargitay-ellen-pompeo
Mariska’s statement jacket featured trendy fringe all over, while Ellen showed off some sharp shoulders with her structured shrug.

Outfit #29: Cindy Crawford’s leather bodysuit and body harness
taylor-swift-bad-blood-video-cindy-crawford
Cindy looked every inch the glamazon warrior princess in high-shine leather with a harness and leg holster on her thigh.

Outfit #s 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, and 35: Lots of leather, lots of metal accents
taylor-swift-bad-blood-video-finale
For the mini movie’s big battle scene, Taylor and her ladies rallied in uniforms ready for high-fashion fighting. From left to right, Hayley, Zendaya, Gigi, Tay, Martha, Serayah, and Cara all showed off a mix of leather shorts, bustiers, and boots.

Outfit #36: Selena’s black bustier
taylor-swift-bad-blood-selena-gomez-bustier
As the leader of the opposite army, Selena had the same vibe going on: a sexy bra top with sheer long sleeves and skinny straps.

Ready to watch the video again?

Now, watch Taylor’s Glamour cover shoot video:





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This Music Festival Knows It Can’t Stop People From Doing Drugs, So It’s Trying To Keep Them Safe Instead

The upcoming Lightning in a Bottle Music Festival, which starts Thursday in Bradley, California, is a drug-free event. But rather than pretend this label and any effort to enforce it will create a drug-repellant force field around the festival, organizers say they’re preparing for the inevitable: They know some drugs will find their way through security and into people’s bodies, so they’re offering a host of resources to help minimize the potential negative effects on users.

As part of this effort, Lightning in a Bottle and its coordinators at the Do Lab are partnering with two groups, DanceSafe — a health organization that focuses on harm reduction and education at music festivals and nightlife venues — and the Zendo Project — a program sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies that offers help to anyone going through a difficult experience while on psychedelic drugs.

Part of DanceSafe’s operation involves providing a judgment-free space to proactively address drug dangers before they emerge. The group believes educating people about potential problem signs associated with recreational drug use — often simple things like heat stroke, dehydration and even hyponatremia, a life-threatening condition brought on by drinking too much water — will help users seek treatment earlier rather than later. DanceSafe also offers condoms, earplugs, free water and an open line of communication to anyone who wants to talk about how they can make sure their good time doesn’t become a bad time.

Meanwhile, the Zendo Project offers what Stefanie Jones, nightlife community engagement manager for Drug Policy Alliance, a progressive nonprofit that advocates for drug policy reform, referred to as “mental health services” for people on psychedelic drugs. Anyone who may find themselves confused, upset, uncomfortable or in need of help anywhere else along their psychedelic trip can turn to one of the project’s trained therapists.

DanceSafe has also made a name for itself by offering on-site drug checking, which tells users which substances they actually have and how to use them responsibly. Jones told The Huffington Post that these services will not be available at Lightning in a Bottle due to concerns that organizers could be prosecuted under a federal law that prohibits the “maintaining of a drug-involved premise.”

Music festivals have attracted scrutiny in recent years following a spate of drug overdoses and drug-related deaths. With the growth of cheaper and ever-changing synthetic substances, the music festival drug market — where baggies of different colored powders and pills are often passed between strangers in porta-potties — is only getting harder and more risky to navigate.

Last year, a documentary filmmaker followed a group that offered drug testing services at popular festivals and found that 100 percent of the people who came to them thinking they had MDMA, also called “molly” or “ecstasy,” actually had bath salts, a term that has come to refer to any of a number of popular synthetic drugs. They also found examples of drugs being cut with powerful or dangerous adulterants that would almost certainly change a user’s predicted experience.

While these trends are frightening, they don’t mean fewer people are experimenting with drugs at festivals. This has led to some differing opinions on how to approach the problem.

In New York, the popular electronic music festival Electric Zoo rebooted in 2014, a year after two drug-related deaths made national headlines and forced the event to shut down a day early. Hoping to avoid another death or PR disaster, organizers opted for an enforcement-first approach. Here’s how Billboard described the scene:

In an effort to prevent against casualties, the festival has overcorrected and made widely known its use of high-tech cameras, drug-sniffing dogs and ramped-up security. The substance checkpoints are more thorough, requiring attendees to remove shoes, and cops — both in uniform and undercover — seemed to almost outnumber the fans.

Festival-goers were also required to watch an anti-drug PSA before attending, and organizers dispatched a group of medical students called “Zookeepers” to help with any emerging issues.

In past years, Lightning in a Bottle has also been targeted by intense drug enforcement activity. In 2013, when the event was held in Temecula, California, undercover officers arrested 58 people for drug-related offenses. Many of the suspects claimed they were coerced into selling drugs and accused officers of calling them “hippies” and “brain-dead retards.”

Organizers at Lightning in a Bottle have limited control over how law enforcement chooses to get involved with their event, but they are being more vocal than in years past about their harm-reduction policies.

While DanceSafe has been present at Lightning in a Bottle since 2013 and the Zendo Project joined last year, the festival is making a greater effort this time around to let attendees know that these services are available. They’ve built a “harm reduction” section into the festival’s official code of conduct and, according to DPA, will link to the page in a newsletter they send to attendees. The Zendo Project has also scheduled a basic training on Friday to tell attendees about its services.

After the festival ends, organizers will coordinate with Mutual Aid Response Services, a risk management consulting company, to evaluate the effectiveness of the services and the efforts to promote them, and to determine ways to better integrate these approaches into future events.

Harm reduction is one of many issues being championed by Lightning in a Bottle, which, according to its website, include encouraging people to think hard about whether they should wear a Native American headdress to the festival. To anyone coming from Coachella, the answer is no.

Jones said Lightning in a Bottle is one of the first festivals to get on board with DPA’s push to encourage groups to take more pragmatic approaches to drug use. A guide released by the group lays out the essential considerations and strategies for anyone planning a large-scale event.

And while Jones admitted there is still work to do to break the stigma surrounding drug use — including allowing for on-site drug checking so people can make sure they’re not about to eat rat poison — she praised Lightning in a Bottle for taking such an open and comprehensive stance to harm reduction.

“What they’re doing is a heroic,” Jones said. “They’re making every effort in a tough environment to keep their attendees safe.”

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Little Big Town Reveals Their Girl (and Guy) Crush and What Has Them Fired Up About Country Music

It seems like everyone has a crush on Little Big Town, and that's no surprise given that their latest single, "Girl Crush," is currently in the top spot on the Billboard Hot Country Songs and…




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9 Met Gala Dresses You Won’t Appreciate Until You See Them From the Back

Hate to see her go but love to watch her leave was another trend at Monday’s Met Gala. Stylish celebs went all out with trains and many of them, like Sarah Jessica Parker, had helpers to get them and their elaborate trains climb up those epic stairs. “I’m on train duty,” said SJP’s date Andy Cohen, who dutifully followed her with a helping hand. Lady Rihanna had no fewer than three people lifting her showstopping Guo Pei cloak. When asked about the challenges of wearing the look, Rihanna, who seemed to take all her might to get to the top, exclaimed “It’s heavy!”.

Beyonce, who arrived more than an hour after all the guests had settled into dinner inside, had stylist Ty Hunter following her every sashay, arranging her jewel-encrusted tulle train just so. Kim Kardashian’s feathered confection didn’t fare quite as well. While Kanye carefully helped her up the steps, her train left a trail of white feathers in her path. Kind of fitting for Kim, who always leaves her mark. Be sure to see all the dresses here.

beyonce-metBeyonce in Givenchy.

sarah-jessica-parker-met-gala-dress-2015Sarah Jessica Parker in H&M.

kerry-washington-pink-prada-dress-met-gala-2015Kerry Washington in Prada.

bee-shaffer-red-white-met-gala-dress-2015Bee Shaffer in Alexander McQueen.

fan-bing-bing-dress-met-gala-2015Fan Bingbing in Chris by Christopher Bu.

allison-williams-red-dress-met-gala-2015Allison Williams in Giambattista Valli.

miley-cyrus-back-of-dress-met-gala-2015Miley Cyrus in Alexander Wang.

kim-kardashian-white-roberto-cavalli-dress-met-gala-2015Kim Kardashian West in Roberto Cavalli.

ivanka-trump-blue-white-met-gala-dress-2015Ivanka Trump in Prabal Gurung.

lady-gaga-alexander-wang-dress-met-gala-2015Lady Gaga in Balenciaga.

See all the best dresses from last night.





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You’ll Soon Grow Into Them, Titch

You’ll Soon Grow Into Them, Titch


Used – Titch is sick of having clothes passed down to him, to be told that he’ll soon grow into them – until the day he gets his own new clothes, and the chance to cast off his old ones – to the baby. By the author/illustrator of “Where’s the Baby?”, “Silly Billy!” and “Tidy Titch”.

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22 Terrifying and Magical Capabilities Someone Has When You Fall For Them

Love is terrifying, and terror is love.

How exceptional is falling in love? How breathtakingly incredible? How painful and enchanted it is to have your heart opened. It presents so many chances for overwhelming pain, and also for captivating joy. It’s a double-edged sword that can release your innermost desires and also your deepest fears.

Oh, love. How petrifying and wondrous is the single most infinite component of human life. Here are 22 powers your beloved has when you first fall for them:

  1. They see who you really are. Your insecurities and flaws lie exposed like an open wound.
  2. They want you, regardless. You know that what you see as ugliness is lovable to them. You know you’re perfectly imperfect to them, and few things in life match that comfort.
  3. They can leave you and you know you’ll feel a little lost if they do.
  4. They can stay. They can be there when no one else is.
  5. They can hold you back in life when you focus too much on them.
  6. They can support and push you. They can directly aid in the pursuit of your dreams.
  7. They have expectations for you that you could not be able to meet, and you worry you could become a disappointment.
  8. You could fulfill every hope of theirs and then some. You could be gratifying and refreshing in all that you are.
  9. They could be unfaithful to you and embarrass you.
  10. They’re choosing you and only you. Being with you means they want you. You’re wanted solely and exclusively, which is worth the risk.
  11. They can hurt you.
  12. They can heal you.
  13. They can expose and exploit you.
  14. They can listen to and keep every one of your secrets. They can be your safe home and endless confidant.
  15. They can take you from the people in your life.
  16. They can encourage you to spend time with the people you love, and also introduce you to new and exciting people.
  17. They can painfully reject your opinions and beliefs.
  18. They can open your mind to new perspectives.
  19. They can easily break you down.
  20. They can easily build you up.
  21. Everything could change.
  22. Or, they can change everything.



For more, check out my personal blog at Serendipity and Creativity.

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You’ll Soon Grow Into Them, Titch

You’ll Soon Grow Into Them, Titch


Used – Titch is sick of having clothes passed down to him, to be told that he’ll soon grow into them – until the day he gets his own new clothes, and the chance to cast off his old ones – to the baby. By the author/illustrator of “Where’s the Baby?”, “Silly Billy!” and “Tidy Titch”.

Price: $
Sold by Alibris UK: books, movies

Running Injuries: How to Prevent and Overcome Them

Running Injuries: How to Prevent and Overcome Them


New – This book has earned its place as an invaluable hand-book of injury prevention and treatment for all runners–whether they are elite athletes, twice-a-week joggers, athletes at school level, or those who run mainly to build fitness for other sports. Fully updated in the Second Edition, this popular and well-established book offers the latest medical research, tips on injury prevention, injury profiles of international and South African athletes, medical drawings to help you locate and unde

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Let Them Wait

Let Them Wait


I am a man with sorrows behind me, and battles, too. I have regrets of which I seldom speak, nor too often think. For me, danger became a way of life-an accepted facet in the natural order of things. There is no bravado in wearing a gun-it was, at the time, a necessity of life. A man could no more survive without a weapon than he could live without a horse or food. I was fourteen years old when they attacked me under cover of darkness and while I was in my own home. The only weapon I owned was a big, double-barreled eight-gauge shotgun that we used for small game and varmints; so, the night they came I killed my first two men with a borrowed pistol. That started my crusade. My search for justice, or maybe it was only for justification, led to more men joining the first two. Soon after, I began to acquire an unwanted and I felt, undeserved reputation as a gunman. I did not want to shoot people-except one, I truly wanted to shoot him. But the others kept coming for me and I had wrongs to right. In the end, I hunted them.

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Just Got Gifted a Ton of Gift Cards? Here’s How Smart Shoppers Use Them

Is your wallet feeling a little fatter with some just-received gift cards by chance? Mine, too. It’s a sweet present since the giver’s making sure you get something you actually want, but there can be a little bit of stress with figuring out, “well, what the heck do I want?”

j-crew-red-flannel-shirt

By far, the biggest mistake I see friends making when shopping with a gift card is that they’re looking for an item that’s just at that amount (or a little under). It’s limiting and much more likely to result in you picking a gift that you’re okay with, but don’t love. Your budget’s your budget, but don’t blind yourself to just seeing the amount stored on your gift certificate. Think about how much extra you could afford to spend and then allow yourself to check out items up to that price range. Just think about it: friends I’ve shop-counseled have realized they’re much happier knocking a chunk off that pair of shoes they’ve been eyeing than buying a random pair that they’re okay with, but wouldn’t have bought otherwise.

The other biggest tip is to avoid thinking of the gift card like free money, but your money. Shop the same way you would if you were using your own cash: check out the sale section, look for extra discount codes, or heck, even book an appointment with a free personal shopper and be up front, telling them how much you have on a gift card and that you’re looking for a wise way to spend it. I rounded up some of the very best end-of-year sales before the holiday and most are still going on. Rather than tucking your gift card way for a rainy day, see if there’s a majorly reduced item you could scoop up now.

Did you get any good gift cards as presents? What’s your favorite brand to receive a certificate from?





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3 New Year’s Resolution Remixes: How to Actually Enjoy Them This Time

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again. A time where we take a break from work, spend time with friends and family, and refocus on what’s important. But unfortunately, it’s also a time where we sometimes eat and drink things in huge quantities, spend too much money, and secretly worry about what we are doing. Many of us, in an effort to make up for how we’ve splurged in December, make promises to ourselves for self-betterment in the new year.

The end goal for most New Year’s resolutions is living a better life, and I’d like to suggest the key to a better life is not cutting out something you love doing; rather, it’s deliberately crafting a balanced life you enjoy. What people enjoy differs from individual to individual, but I think what people want to get out of their enjoyment is the feeling of happiness. To point out the obvious, people want to be in-joy.

Below find the three New Year’s goals I most commonly hear, and an alternative, more balanced goal that allows you to both enjoy the moments that pass throughout the year and feel great on Dec. 31. Be warned! The substitutions proposed below are probably much harder than the more regularly set goals. Balance is tricky.

Giving Up Something I Enjoy

Instead of giving something up entirely, try committing to learning to trust your body, mind, and intuition.

If you’re considering giving up something you enjoy, like alcohol or sweets, instead commit to trusting yourself to listen to your intuition and make responsible decisions depending on the situation. That might mean at a Christmas party where alcohol is free, you have a gut feeling it wouldn’t be worth the headache to drink at all. It also might mean when you’re out to dinner with an old friend, it might be worth it to go for that second bottle of wine (and then cab home). For sweets, it might mean passing on the box of cookies going around the office, but waking up one morning, realizing you really want a donut, and then enjoying it guilt-free!

I Want to Lose Weight

Instead, commit to adding something positive to your life, something you enjoy, like exercise, mediation, or a balanced eating routine.

If you’re like many and concerned about the extra pounds you’ve slowly added on over the holidays, reframe your goal to be more positive. Instead of wanting to lose weight, commit to add something you enjoy that will also make you healthy. Clear your mind of any arbitrary pound shedding ideals and replace them with thoughts of making a point to get together with friends for a weekly yoga class and dinner. You’ll naturally begin to look and feel amazing!

I Am Going to Spend Less and Save More

Instead, I’m going to develop a healthy relationship with money.

No matter how much money you have, spending money and saving money can make anyone feel weird. Developing a healthy relationship with money is important, and just like with any healthy relationship, communication is vital. The communication begins internally. Take some time before the year is over and understand what it is you value. Do you value experiences like going out for dinner or do you value more tangible things like new clothes? Also, take some time to think about situations that have come up in the past that made you uncomfortable about money. It’s a great starting point for figuring out what you do not care to spend money on. Once you know what you value, commit to do doing the tough thing and sharing your spending preferences with people you know you’ll be spending money with. It might be a bit awkward at first, but it’s likely you’ll open up the floor for interesting conversation and they’ll share their preferences, too!

Have more New Year’s resolution remixes? Add them in the comments below!
GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN!-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News-
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The Making of Them: TV Documentary Review (belated)

I revisited my childhood yesterday. I have been reading Wounded Leaders: British Elitism and the Entitlement Illusion, a recent book by Nick Duffel, (I’ll have more to say about the book in a later post) and came across a reference to a video made in 1994 for the BBC, The Making of Them. I had an exchange of correspondence with Nick Duffell some fifteen years ago, at the time of the publication of my own memoir, While I Am Not Afraid: Secrets of a Man’s Heart. I’m no longer sure how it came about, but I heard about the organization he had founded, Boarding School Survivors, and the title immediately struck a chord. I am, myself, a “survivor” of the British boarding school system, and was pleased to learn that someone was seriously addressing the issues I had been struggling with for my entire adult life.

“The Making of Them” is about the earliest stage of the private boarding school system, the “prep” school. Boys–and girls, but I was obviously at an all-boys school; my sister has a similar story–are sent there by their parents at the age of seven or eight, and spend their early education there until about age twelve, when they move on to “public”. i.e. private boarding school. What I remember most from that time in my life is the intense loneliness, the homesickness, the sense of alienation and difference from all the other boys. In retrospect, much later, I learned to acknowledge that I was suffering, but would have been unable to formulate such a recognition at the time. As an act of self-preservation, if nothing else, it was necessary to conceal it. Vulnerability was not an option. I created for myself a fine, extremely effective coat of armor–and wore it for another four decades. I still find myself, today, shielding myself from the unkind world out there! I am still uncomfortable with my body. I still “hold myself in.”

The BBC documentary brought these memories and feelings back with force. At several points, I found myself holding back (see?!) the tears. Granted, things had changed much between 1994 and when I first went to boarding school, in 1943. I was seven years old. Funny, I often hear myself saying I was six, but I must have been seven by then. These days, to judge from the documentary, the teachers and staff make a far greater effort to be kind and compassionate. I watched with interest, for example, how a small group of the boys themselves gathered protectively around a little lad who was suffering from homesickness. In my day, that kind of vulnerability would have been met with jeers and teasing. Even the school environment seemed friendlier, more open to individuality and expressive freedom. The periods of separation from the parents seemed much shorter: three weeks was mentioned. My own terms lasted an three interminable months, three times a year. With luck, your parents might come down at mid-term to take you out to lunch.

I watched those parents in the video, thinking of my own. How they felt, said, persuaded themselves that this was “the best thing” for their children. But their facial expressions and body language betrayed quite different feelings than their words. I noticed how a mother, picking her son up to bring him home, asked the leading question, “Was it wonderful?” To which the boy could only answer, yes. The discordance between words and body language on the part of both the parents and their sons is, at times, painful to watch. Like these young boys, I was unable to be truthful with my parents: at huge sacrifice, they were buying me the best education they could think of; it was my job to be grateful, not to whine. But at what cost, to live so great a lie?

So it’s a slightly more enlightened time, I think. At one moment, I watched with envy how a mother hugged her little boy in a genuine effusion of affection, and told him–in parting!–that she loved him. How, he must have been thinking, if she loved him, could she drive off and leave him? My own mother could never have hugged me in that way at Victoria Station, where they left me off. My father would shake my hand to say goodbye. So, yes, things have changed in many ways for the better. But still… the impact of the documentary is unmistakable: the institution of the boarding school is no substitute for what young children need most at this time in their lives, the love of their parents and the security of home. (I’m tempted to add that it’s not only boarding schools that cause the childhood wounds which, unless we work to heal them, we carry around with us for life. But that’s another story…)

I note with curiosity that there are two ways of hearing that title phrase. Until I watched this documentary I had heard only one of them–“The Making of Them”–the one with the emphasis on the last word: Them. The boarding school system is geared to creating a specific class of people, them, a peculiarly British elite, the ones who go on to Oxford or Cambridge and who generally end up running the country. O lucky me! I am one of them, and I have traveled many miles on my nice educated English accent, my charm, my finely educated mind. I “should be grateful,” and in so many ways I am. I account myself one of Them.

But then I heard one of the mothers say the words in a quite different way: “It’s the making of them,” she said. I registered the difference with a shock. It was like one of those optical illusions, where you can’t see one aspect of the image until you blink your eyes, and then can’t see the other. Of course. I had never heard it, in my mind, with this particular emphasis. This way, it gets to be the justification, a positive rather than a negative. This way, the mother could allow herself to believe that the experience was a fine way for her son to build the character he’d need to be successful in his future life.

In this context, I’ll confess to a part of myself that listened to the grown men in this powerful and moving documentary, products of the boarding school system, with the knee-jerk response: they’re “wet,” to resort to the boys’ school terminology; they’re “pathetic.” These extraordinarily privileged men actually feel sorry for themselves. Such was my conditioned reaction; and in this way was my conditioning so powerful, it triggered that judgment over decades of sometimes deep inner work and reflection. Because I recognized myself in them, these men who had come to understand the depth of the wound they had sustained, and the lasting effects it can have on a man’s life–including, but not limited to the ability to form trusting relationships and engage in simple expressions of love. Like the hugs my wife reminds me again this morning, as I write, I am too reticent to share…

Please note: you don’t have to be a “boarding school survivor” to find deep resonance in this documentary. You just need to have survived your childhood. Which, likely, if you are reading this, you have done.
Arts – The Huffington Post
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Drug Muggers: Which Medications Are Robbing Your Body of Essential Nutrientsand Natural Ways to Restore Them

Drug Muggers: Which Medications Are Robbing Your Body of Essential Nutrientsand Natural Ways to Restore Them


Unpleasant, uncomfortable, and unexplained side effects? Drug Muggers is your side effect solution.Prescription and over-the-counter drugs help millions of people with devastating diseases and chronic conditions. But in the process, these medications can also deplete the bodys natural stores of vitamins, minerals, and hormonesthe very nutrients you need to keep energy levels high, fend off infections, and be healthy. Pharmacist Suzy Cohen calls these medications drug muggers, and she says its essential to replenish what a drug mugger steals from your body in order to feel your best and avoid side effects. Not understanding the drug-mugging effect may lead to new diseases and possibly catastrophic health con-sequences.Youll discover: How to relieve uncomfortable or potentially serious side effects How to remain compliant with your medication and still feel well Which foods and drinks to avoid if you take certain medications How to install a nutrient security system with vitamins, minerals, and food choicesPlus! Improve your energy levels Learn which minerals you need if you take heartburn medicine Improve digestion and relieve constipation with a simple nutrient Discover the antioxidant you must have to save your heart Get your hair and nails to grow faster by replenishing nutrients Find out which vitamins and minerals are the purest and highest quality Learn which vitamins outperform medications in some casesDrug Muggers is an eye-opener! It reveals why you may be feeling so poorly and how to improve your well-being with affordable nutrients that are sold over the counter. You can (and will) improve the way you feelwhether or not you take medicine!

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Give Them an “E” For Effort

Despite what some people think, storytelling is very much an acquired skill. Not everyone does a good job of it. Some folks are incapable of even launching a narrative.

How one develops a story and delivers it to an audience are key components to its dramatic success. If a playwright is sure of his artistic vision and has complete artistic control over his product, there’s a strong chance that he will be able to shape a compelling narrative.

When charismatic monologists such as Martin Dockery, Dan Hoyle, Mike Daisey and Ann Randolph perform their own material, audiences react with vociferous applause and laughter. Consider these clips of slam poet Taylor Mali performing at the Bowery Poetry Club and speaking to attendees at the 2013 Big Ideas Fest in Half Moon Bay, California.

When writing for the stage, a playwright has any number of tools at his disposal.

  • If, while working with a skilled director, he can sculpt and shape his narrative into a format that makes audiences lean in, eager to catch every word he has written, he will most probably have a hit on his hands.
  • Conversely, if his technique relies too heavily on structural gimmicks, he might end up using them to beat his characters and plot twists like a dead horse.

Two recent Bay area premieres demonstrated what can happen when carefully conceived evenings of storytelling fail to reach a critical temperature. While each play was obviously crafted with great care and love (and included very specific geographical references), in the final analysis these productions only earned an “E” for effort.

* * * * * * * * * *

Many writers love to do research. Not only does it lead to new thoughts and discoveries, it offers their fertile minds plenty of chances to wallow in new possibilities. Too much research, however, can lead to a situation wherein a writer must choose which ideas and characters to cut from his narrative. In most cases, they end up being his most cherished material.

Commissioned by the Shotgun Players, Daylighting: The Berkeley Stories Project is the third installment in the Berkeley theatre company’s Community Stories Project. Having relocated from San Francisco to Berkeley, playwright Dan Wolf and director Rebecca Novick were eager to explore the spirit of contemporary Berkeley and see how the city has changed in recent years.

Both artists spent three years collecting stories about Berkeley from its residents, using the story circle model developed by the Cornerstone Theatre Company as their technique for gathering material. As Novick explains:

“Dan had hundreds of hours of recordings, piles of notes, and more suggestions than he could handle. We began to wonder if this was a play at all. Was it a series of documentaries or just a project we could keep doing forever? How do you tell the story of a place? It turns out you can only do that by telling the story of a few people who live there.”

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Tim Redmond (Tim) and Juan Amador (Neighbor)
in a scene from Daylighting (Photo by: Pak Han)

Identifying which stories have the most dramatic viability and trying to form them into a continuing narrative takes a great deal of skill and imagination. Wolf describes his inspiration for the play as follows:

Daylighting is a love poem, a gut check, and a challenge that asks us: What is Berkeley today? Who lives here? Why did we come and why do we stay? How can the most progressive place on earth remain connected to the past without losing its way in the future?

The play started in the dirt in my backyard, between layers of sediment and weeds and fallen leaves. It came to me in the night, amidst the sounds of West Berkeley trains and thumping truck subwoofers. It emerged from the fog in the form of all the spirits that make this city special. As I crawled around on my hands and knees, pulling out the ivy that was invading my garden, the action of pulling the long vines got me thinking about all the people who had battled the ivy before me. It made me think about the native people who once worked this land and the Spanish settlers who came after them. About the creation of a city from two distinct communities and how those ghosts still haunt us today.”

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Christina Chu (Tessa), Brit Frazier (Bee), and Juan Amador
(Manuel) in a scene from Daylighting (Photo by: Pak Han)

Unfortunately, the finished product feels less like a dramatic tapestry and more like a series of lamely strung-together vignettes that have been arranged like a carefully sorted pile of index cards. The protagonist is a young woman named Bee (Brit Frazier) who is graduating from high school and planning to leave for the East Coast (where she has a scholarship to attend NYU). Meanwhile, her grandfather, James (Donald Lacy), has seized the opportunity to sell his house while the market is strong.

As the play unfolds, the audience meets a variety of characters ranging from Bee’s homeless, drug-addicted mother to her grandfather’s new neighbors, Tim (Tim Redmond) and Celia (Karina Gutierrez); from old friends and acquaintances of her grandfather’s — such as his close confidante, Suzy (Mary Baird) – to Fred (Paul Loomis), a volatile former friend with whom James now refuses to speak.

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Mary Baird (Suzy) and Donald Lacey (James) in
a scene from Daylighting (Photo by: Pak Han)

Others in Shotgun’s ensemble include Christina Chu and Megan Schirle. Abhi Kris has a nice scene as a cab driver who feels he must work night shifts in order to avoid bringing shame on his family.

While one can applaud Daylighting as a community outreach project, the sad truth is that Wolf’s play lacks electricity. Its moments of urgency rarely ring true. Most of its characters seem as confused to have been dropped onstage as the audience that greets them. As I watched Daylighting, I often felt as if I was watching a grad student’s unsuccessful attempt to create a local version of In The Heights.

* * * * * * * * * *

Written by Philip Dawkins and directed by Jasson Minadakis, the Marin Theatre Company recently presented the West Coast premiere of Failure: A Love Story. In his production notes, Dawkins encourages stage directors to be as creative as they wish when casting his play.

“The chorus can take any number of shapes. Multiple people, one person, puppets… Make it as simple or complex as you see fit. Feel free to reassign some or all of the chorus’ lines to other characters. You want the two dead parents to comprise the chorus? Go for it. You want a trio of hear-no/see-no/speak-no evil monkeys narrating the story? Rock on. It is possible to tell this story with as few as four actors or as many as fifty. So, have fun.”

2014-07-15-failure1.jpg

Megan Smith, Patrick Kelly Jones, and Brian Herndon in a
scene from Failure: A Love Story (Photo by: Kevin Berne)

An extremely high-spirited romp set in Chicago during the early 20th century, Failure: A Love Story is fairly bursting with moxie. Working on Nina Ball’s intriguingly flexible set, MTC’s ensemble sings, chirps, swims, dances, and hisses (isn’t that what pythons do?) with a grand sense of determination and panache. From the outset, the audience is informed that two immigrants had their last name changed at Ellis Island, moved to Chicago, and set up a clock repair shop in the storefront below their apartment. When the couple drowned in a bizarre automobile accident, they left behind four children:

  • Nelly (Kathryn Zdan), a jazz baby with flapper tendencies, who will die from being hit in the head with a blunt object.
  • Jenny June (Liz Sklar), who is determined to make her name as a competitive lake swimmer but will drown in the brief moment that her coach averts his gaze.
  • Gertrude (Megan Smith), who will die of consumption; and
  • John N. (Patrick Kelly Jones), their adopted son who was found floating down the Chicago River with a snake in his basket.

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Liz Sklar, Megan Smith, and Kathryn Zdan portray the three Fail
sisters (Jenny June, Gertrude, and Nelly) in Failure: A Love Story
(Photo by: Kevin Berne)

Never mind the fact that all three Fail sisters will die before the play ends, along with a pet python named Moses (who doesn’t “supposes”). This cast of mildly crazed characters is eager to entertain you even if it kills them (which it does with an astonishingly high level of accuracy and a relentlessly jovial kind of satisfaction).

2014-07-15-failure3.jpg

In his note from the artistic director, Minadakis explains that:

“Every so often, a play crosses my desk with language and imagery that so deeply connects with my imagination that the entire world of the play mushrooms into existence. Those plays are the plays that I fight to put on our stage (they are also plays that I try to direct). Failure: A Love Story is one of those plays. In the middle of my first reading, I knew I wanted to stage the play using actors who could both sing and play multiple instruments. I knew I needed our frequent collaborator, Chris Houston, to orchestrate arrangements for the songs listed in the play as well as compose additional music that would nearly turn our production into a musical. So much of what you will experience seemed to create itself. That’s what great playwrights inspire: a blossoming of ideas.”

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Jenny June Fail (Liz Sklar) trains to swim across Lake Michigan
in Failure: A Love Story (Photo by: Kevin Berne)

As Mortimer Mortimer (the man who serially and tragically falls in love with each of the Fail sisters), Brian Herndon has a jolly good time onstage. However, when faced with the unrelenting optimism of the Fail sisters (as opposed to Chekhov’s gloomy trio), failure is never really an option. The play does, however, suffer from several peculiar problems.

  • Because there is so much repetition of text for stylistic purposes, one often feels as if the playwright is beating a dead leitmotif into the ground.
  • With the small ensemble taking on numerous roles and switching back and forth from Fail family characters to momentary narrators, the choral form of narration eventually wears thin and starts to run out of steam.
  • Once it becomes obvious that Dawkins plans to leave no character alive, it’s easy for audiences to fall into the trap of waiting to see who croaks next.
  • After a while, the production’s extensive use of musical instruments, puppets, and other devices makes it seem as if Failure: A Love Story is more about the production’s inventiveness and use of clever props (hat tip to Seren Helday) than about its human characters.

Whether coping with a pair of green monk parakeets or trying to keep focused as the ensemble imitates the different clocks in the family shop that are simultaneously striking the hour, MTC’s production of Failure: A Love Story offers up a dizzying amount of entertainment. There are times, however, when you might feel as if you’ve been trapped in a perverse Midwestern version of Disney’s “It’s A Small World” ride in which everyone kicks the bucket.

To read more of George Heymont go to My Cultural Landscape
Arts – The Huffington Post
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Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto and How to Observe Them

Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto and How to Observe Them


This book is for two groups of people: those who want to study the remote planets with amateur astronomical equipment, and those who are just interested in learning about our knowledge of the remote planets. The Remote Planets, and How to Observe them is unique in that it gives a completely up-to-date summary of our current knowledge of the remote planets, and also explains how amateur astronomers can contribute to our knowledge of the remote planets. Readers are given some inspiring examples of people who, with modest commercially-made equipment, have made important contributions to our scientific knowledge. The observational section goes into great detail, including optical and CCD photometry, occultation measurements, imaging (including stacking and enhancement techniques) and polarization measurements. There are finder charts (from 2010 to 2026), complete with two sets of star-magnitudes in an appendix (one set of magnitudes are for photoelectric photometry and the other set is for visual photometry)

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Hangovers: We Road-Test Them

There are many hangovers on the market, ranging in strength and complexity from ‘just grab a couple of paracetamol‘ to ‘might actually have given myself a disease‘. But with all this variety, which one to choose? To find out we conducted a series of controlled hangover trials; drink nothing but the singular type of alcohol in question, achieve a level of drunkenness where you would happily hump a Volkswagen Jetta and then, bang, head for bed.  Points were awarded for depth, longevity and memorability with bonus points for artistic merit. These were all added together in order to achieve a final all round viciousness value which we hope will aid in your selection.

GIN
Result: Appear to have thrown up in own shoe. Dog is looking at me funny. Took a while to figure out why. Think I may have drunk his water. God I hope that’s what it was. Skin has gone a funny colour. Think I’ve got jaundice. Landlord tests fire alarm system. Not directly gin’s fault but not improving matters. Beg Girlfriend to kill me. Girlfriend says she’s thinking about it. 
Viciousness Value: 8/10

RUM: 
Result: Tried to open eyes. One eye is in agony. Other one won’t open. Think this stuff has turned me into a cyclops. Cover functioning eye and attempt to reach bathroom. Attempt fails. Now foot hurts too. Weird taste in mouth. Tastes like a weasel has crawled in there and died. Parts of brain no longer functioning. Appears to be parts involved with speech. Would write to communicate need for ambulance but would mean opening eyes. Lie very still and pray to newly reaffirmed deity for mercy. None appears forthcoming.
Viciousness Value:  8/10

CHAMPAGNE: 
Result: Awake to lingering feeling of shame. May have exposed myself to neighbor. Neighbor is ninety-two and has a heart condition, so may have killed neighbor. No answer at her door. GF starts shouting about how much longer this is going to go on for. Can’t answer, crying. Look in wallet and find receipts from previous evening. Crying intensifies. 
Viciousness Value: 7/10

BEER: 
Result: I have been peeing for three hours straight. Also strong possibility I threw up in own mouth. Shortness of breath. Not sure what I ate last night but pretty sure it wants out. Groin aches. Not sure if this is related. Think I may have permanently injured something.
Viciousness Value: 7/10

VODKA:
Result: Whoever said you don’t get a hangover from vodka is a lying b*****d. Feels like someone has committed a crime of outrage in my mouth. Remember insisting on telling all bartenders I was a bartender. Think they may have poisoned me. Girlfriend storms out of room. Girlfriend starts vacuuming. Girlfriend is a b***h.
Viciousness Value: 7/10

BOURBON/WHISKEY: 
Result: Open eyes. Scream like the chick in Psycho. Close eyes. Doesn’t help. Place pillow over eyes. Still doesn’t help. Lock myself in cupboard. Helping. Smells funny. Some panic. Regret every decision that brought me to this place. 
Viciousness Value: 9/10

BRANDY:
Result: Sweating. Have soaked sheets. God I hope it’s sweat. Move to couch. Girlfriend won’t let me on couch because of what I did to bed. Curl into ball by radiator. Warm. Drank so many Sidecars, have half a litre of lemon juice in stomach. Want to die, but on plus side have zero chance of scurvy. GF threatens to beat me unless I pack this experiment in soon.
Viciousness Value: 8/10

WINE (White)
Result: Thought I had dodged the bullet on this one. Stayed very still in case It noticed I was awake. Nothing. Got up. Took shower. Still nothing. Ate Coco Pops. Faint pain in head. Ponder if I am actually still drunk. Get one leg in trousers…head explodes in pain! Dawning realization of being tricked. It’s The Dreaded Creeper! Flail in agony. Trousers tangle round feet. Fall on floor. Throw up on floor. Raise head pitifully to see GF glaring at me. Throw up on girlfriend. Girlfriend not happy.  
Viciousness Value: 8/10

WINE (Red)
Result: The thirst! The unquenchable thirst! Have drunk all my water. Would sell left kidney for a Gatorade right now. Not sure kidney is worth much but offer would be there. Beg GF to get me a glass of water. GF starts laughing hysterically. Think I may have broken her. Lick condensation off window whilst mewling pitifully. Would cry but lack moisture to effectively generate tears. Crawl to shower. Activate shower. Lie on floor in shower. Open mouth. Not leaving shower. 
Viciousness Value: 9/10

And the winner is;
The final result was a respectable draw between Bourbon/Whiskey and Wine (Red.) Red wine’s combination of sheer naked thirst and pitiful mewling, added to a desire to sing sad songs to myself in the dark, was quite breathtaking; whilst the sheer unadulterated agony of Bourbon/Whiskey, akin in many ways to having a rabid beaver let loose in your own skull made it difficult to overlook. Congratulations to both.

If you have ever test-driven a particularly virulent hangover and would like to share please let us know in the comments section below, via bezerkskrankenhaus.com or tweet us @bezerkskhaus.

The very best will feature in upcoming article, Hangovers: The World Speaks.
Comedy – The Huffington Post
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