Youre Allowed To Leave

“If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave. Mo Willems.

Youre allowed to leave any story you dont find yourself in. Youre allowed to leave any story you dont yourself in.

Youre allowed to leave a city that has dimmed your light instead of making you shine brighter, youre allowed to pack all your bags and start over somewhere else and youre allowed to redefine the of your life.

Youre allowed to quit the job you hate even if the world tells you not to and youre allowed to search for something that makes you look forward to tomorrow and to the rest of your life.

Youre allowed to leave someone you love if theyre treating you poorly, youre allowed to put yourself first if youre settling and youre allowed to walk away when youve tried over and over again butnothing has changed.

Youre allowed to let toxic friends go, youre allowed to surround yourself with love, and people who encourage and nurture you. Youre allowed to pick the kind of you need in your life.

Youre allowed to forgive yourself for your biggest and smallestmistakes and youre allowed to be kind to yourself, youre allowed to look in the mirror and actually the person you see.

Youre allowed to set yourself free from your own expectations.

We sometimes look at leaving as a bad thing or associate it with giving up or quitting, but sometimes leaving is the best thing you can do for yourself.

Leaving allows you to change directions, to start over, to rediscover yourself and the world. Leaving sometimes saves you from staying stuck in the wrong place with the wrong people.

Leaving opens a new door for change, growth, opportunities and

You always have thechoice to leave until you find where you belong and what makes you happy.

Youre even allowed to leave the old behind and reinvent yourself.

Rania Naim is a poet and author of the new book , available here.

Read more: http://thoughtcatalog.com/rania-naim/2016/07/youre-allowed-to-leave/

10 Crowdfunded Products That Really Work (See For Yourself)

This piece was written by the people who run the Cracked Store to tell you about products that are being sold there.

Although crowdfunding is a great way to get an entire industry to hate Zach Braff, it’s an even better platform for consumer product pre-orders. But sometimes backers can get duped into shelling out cash for useless applications of technology, like the much-maligned beverage-sensing cup Vessyl, an item for people who can’t count their trips to the sink. So what are the best ways to avoid these expensive blunders? You should simply wait until the product is actually released and has been shipped out to consumers.

Take a look at some novel gear that actually made it down the production pipeline:

Micro Drone 3.0

Although “VR Drone” sounds like two tech buzzwords picked out of a hat, this is an actual product. See through the eyes of your drone in glorious 720p, and live out your dreams of having a detachable flying head. (Shut up. We totally weren’t the only ones that had those dreams.) This quadcopter streams 3D video to a separate headset, and can be piloted by the bundled controller or with your smartphone. Get the Micro Drone 3.0 here for 32 percent off it’s usual price — just $145.

Mous Limitless Ultra-Slim iPhone Cases

If you are a habitual phone-dropper or are just paranoid about scratching the device that controls every facet of your life, this case adds some robust protection without making it look like you’re lugging around a smart brick. Feel free to huck your phone safely down the stairs whenever you get mad, thanks to the rugged leather padding and tiny, impact-absorbing air pockets. The Mous Limitless Ultra-Slim iPhone Case is $34.99, and comes with a magnetic mount, so you can dock it on your fridge as you use both hands to desperately scrounge for food.

HUDWAY Glass Heads-Up Navigation Display

Fans of Top Gun and Microsoft Flight rejoice. Now you can add a HUD to your dash for maximum navigation awareness. This glass monitor displays speed and turn-by-turn directions from your phone, and can keep track of the road in low visibility. So if Obi-Wan ever pops into your head to babble on about targeting computers, Force-flip him the bird and keep cruising, because this baby looks dope. To simulate the rush of a 4G inverted dive opposite a MiG28 while driving to the grocery store, pick up a HUDWAY Glass Heads-Up Navigation Display for $49.95.

Bomber Barrel Duffel Bag

Whether you want to use it for high-stakes casino heists or a pleasant weekend trip, this Bomber Barrel Duffel Bag provides a weatherproof container for your luggage. This bag is made of military-grade materials, which means that you’ll have the most rugged travel bag at the corporate beach retreat. It also has some carefully designed pockets to keep your spy equipment in order while you crawl through the air ducts. Grab a Bomber Barrel Duffel for 65 percent off, just $69.99.

Bragi Dash Truly Wireless Smart Earphones

These earbuds are the perfect companion for your retro ’00s Bluetooth headset. They even come with a built-in iPod that holds 1,000 songs, so you can listen to hours of Vanessa Carlton, Ashanti, and George W. Bush’s “Axis of Evil” speech without needing a separate device. The Bragi Dash Truly Wireless Smart Earphones also monitor workout activity and offer passive noise cancelling. (Which is like active noise cancelling, but with more Zen.) You can grab a pair here for $192.

PackLite Inflatable USB Lanterns

These inflatable lanterns are the just the right kind of optimistic response to rising sea levels. If our coastline creeps up to Reno, this lantern could wind up saving your life. And on the off chance humanity gets its act together, they look rad when arranged around a pool, too. They include an onboard high-efficiency solar panel to charge during overcast conditions, and can be powered over USB. Prepare for the worst with one of these adorable PackLite Inflatable USB Lanterns, available here for $19.99.

Ticwatch 2 Active Smartwatch

The idea of having a smartwatch almost seems redundant to some people. “I have a phone right here? Why would I want to check my Candy Crush notifications on my wrist? But the Ticwatch also gives you a wrist-mounted GPS and fitness tracker that works without a smartphone. If you want a wearable that doesn’t try to hypnotize you with animated Mickey Mouse hands or bombard you with updates from Clash Of Clans, the Ticwatch 2 is in our store for $169.99 — 15 percent off the usual price.

EcoQube C Aquarium

Caring for non-mammalian pets typically involves a lot of maintenance that the guy giving away goldfish at the carnival never warned you about. But while experience with the unconditional love of dogs and the elegant indifference of cats might not prepare you for aquatic janitorial duties, you won’t need it with the EcoQube aquarium. This fish tank is designed around an aquaponic filter that keeps the water fresh with household plants like mint and basil. The lowest-maintenance pet in the world just got even more low-maintenance-er. Give your home a sustainable fish ecosystem for just $99.99.

IllumiBowl 2.0

Getting out of bed to go blindly pee in the middle of the night is a necessity sometimes. If only there was some kind of toilet night light … Oh! That’s THIS entry! Huzzah! The IllumiBowl 2.0 is motion-activated and emits a variety of glowing hues to illuminate your toilet bowl. So even if you don’t need a respite from the shame of inadequate bladder control, you can still get the most tricked-out toilet bowl around for $12.99.

TrapTap Speed Trap Indicator

Following the speed limit signs doesn’t make you some kind of road narc, but even the most dutiful of duty-bound citizens can fall for the occasional speed trap. But now you can get speed trap alerts from the TrapTap and never again worry if you’re about to be subject to law enforcement’s lowliest sting operation. The TrapTap also knows where to find school zones and red light cameras, so you can burn rubber without all the tickets. Great for diehard motorheads and Uber drivers alike, the TrapTap can be had for just $149.

Look, you can keep chasing the cheese in The Great Conspiracy that is corporate culture like a bad reenactment of American Psycho. Or you can “Bale” out of there and start your own project. Be your own boss and live life like it was MEANT to be lived. That’s the true path to Billionaire Playboy status these days.

But if the rat race is (somehow) still for you, check out Land Your Dream Job (With Help From The Cracked Dispensary).

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/tired-falling-crowdfunding-scams-check-these-out/

This Is How You Love Someone With Anxiety

Someone with anxiety is inclined to assume everyone is going to leave. So much so, sometimes they might be the ones to ruin a relationship. The truth is they battle something they cant control and there is a sense of insecurity within themselves when it comes to relationships. They know its difficult and they dont want to burden you with their irrational thoughts and worries. So instead, they push you away before you get the chance to leave yourself.

Remember theyre worth fighting for.

It might be hard sometimes. There might be stupid fights of scenarios theyve created in their own head. But more than anything, they’re worth fighting for. The toughest people usually are. And if you can fight with them through this, itll come back to you ten folds.

The phrase, Its okay, can never be used enough.

Its two words. Two words that stop every thought running through their head. And honestly, you can never say it enough.

Sometimes you just have to listen.

Theyre going to play out these situations in their mind. Theyre going to jump from point A to point B and sometimes youre not even going to know how they got there. The best thing you can do is let them go off on their tangent. Even if theres no solution or a fear they worry about in the future, the act of listening will help.

Dont tell them, ‘youre overreacting.’

To you, it might seem irrational. But to them whatever they open up to you about, it’s something that actually keeps them up at night. So just take it as best you can.

They probably wont sleep through the night.

Whether it takes them a while to fall asleep or stay asleep, youll be woken up by them at 3 am as they lay there wide awake. Just hold them close and the comfort in your presence might be enough to get them back to sleep.

Remember its not that they dont trust you. Theyre scared.

You say its an ex and in their mind, they jump to cheating. You say its a friend and in their mind, its someone trying to break you too up. Its not you and your relationship that isnt trusted, its every worse case scenario automatically playing out in their head and they hate themselves for it.

Answering texts timely does help more than you know.

Youve probably noticed they answer embarrassingly fast and they know not everyone is like them but it helps when people understand it. It helps when you say I cant talk now this is why Ill text you later. Silence kills anyone with anxiety. It creates problems in their mind that arent even there. It ends in apologies that arent even needed. And it adds a layer of stress to their life they wish they could control.

Dont be mad if they send a double text.

You might turn your phone on, to four texts. If you can remember its not that theyre trying to be annoying. They care. They care too much and they know it makes them look bad.

Sometimes they just wont be up for going out.

They might cancel last minute or freeze in the middle of a night out and just not be able to do it. If they tell you they have to leave dont feel a sense of guilt or obligation to go with them. Just know they tried and for whatever reason, they couldnt handle it. What sets people with anxiety off can be many things but for a lot of people, parties in which they dont know someone ends in two ways, theyll either be quiet and awkward or youll be carrying them out as they chose vodka to ease their worries.

Accept their apologies even you don’t understand.

Whether its a night out gone wrong, a triple text, saying or doing the wrong thing, they are so observant. They will pick up on the slightest shift in you and before you even realize you might be upset and they will apologize for it.

Help when you can but know when you can’t.

They would rather have ten meltdowns, biting off more than they can chew and they will never admit they can’t handle something. Theyll always say yes. Theyll never turn anyone away. And in those moments where it seems like they are going to fall apart and break just hold them. Help them if you can but know they’re inclined to not ask for help. They’re used to dealing with things on their own.

Once trust is gained theyll love you unbelievably hard.

While uncompleted to lists, plans getting messed up, texts going answered, might overwhelm someone with anxiety, if there is something they are good at it’s love. If theres something they’re strong in, its their ability to show you how much they adore and appreciate you. It might take them a while to trust you but once they do their capacity to love you will fill you in ways, you didnt know you were empty or even missing something.

Read more: http://thoughtcatalog.com/kirsten-corley/2017/01/this-is-how-you-love-someone-with-anxiety/

Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

A lecture explaining why using our imaginations, and providing for others to use theirs, is an obligation for all citizens

Its important for people to tell you what side they are on and why, and whether they might be biased. A declaration of members interests, of a sort. So, I am going to be talking to you about reading. Im going to tell you that libraries are important. Im going to suggest that reading fiction, that reading for pleasure, is one of the most important things one can do. Im going to make an impassioned plea for people to understand what libraries and librarians are, and to preserve both of these things.

And I am biased, obviously and enormously: Im an author, often an author of fiction. I write for children and for adults. For about 30 years I have been earning my living through my words, mostly by making things up and writing them down. It is obviously in my interest for people to read, for them to read fiction, for libraries and librarians to exist and help foster a love of reading and places in which reading can occur.

So Im biased as a writer. But I am much, much more biased as a reader. And I am even more biased as a British citizen.

And Im here giving this talk tonight, under the auspices of the Reading Agency: a charity whose mission is to give everyone an equal chance in life by helping people become confident and enthusiastic readers. Which supports literacy programs, and libraries and individuals and nakedly and wantonly encourages the act of reading. Because, they tell us, everything changes when we read.

And its that change, and that act of reading that Im here to talk about tonight. I want to talk about what reading does. What its good for.

I was once in New York, and I listened to a talk about the building of private prisons a huge growth industry in America. The prison industry needs to plan its future growth how many cells are they going to need? How many prisoners are there going to be, 15 years from now? And they found they could predict it very easily, using a pretty simple algorithm, based on asking what percentage of 10 and 11-year-olds couldnt read. And certainly couldnt read for pleasure.

Its not one to one: you cant say that a literate society has no criminality. But there are very real correlations.

And I think some of those correlations, the simplest, come from something very simple. Literate people read fiction.

Fiction has two uses. Firstly, its a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if its hard, because someones in trouble and you have to know how its all going to end thats a very real drive. And it forces you to learn new words, to think new thoughts, to keep going. To discover that reading per se is pleasurable. Once you learn that, youre on the road to reading everything. And reading is key. There were noises made briefly, a few years ago, about the idea that we were living in a post-literate world, in which the ability to make sense out of written words was somehow redundant, but those days are gone: words are more important than they ever were: we navigate the world with words, and as the world slips onto the web, we need to follow, to communicate and to comprehend what we are reading. People who cannot understand each other cannot exchange ideas, cannot communicate, and translation programs only go so far.

The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.

I dont think there is such a thing as a bad book for children. Every now and again it becomes fashionable among some adults to point at a subset of childrens books, a genre, perhaps, or an author, and to declare them bad books, books that children should be stopped from reading. Ive seen it happen over and over; Enid Blyton was declared a bad author, so was RL Stine, so were dozens of others. Comics have been decried as fostering illiteracy.

Enid
No such thing as a bad writer… Enid Blytons Famous Five. Photograph: Greg Balfour Evans/Alamy

Its tosh. Its snobbery and its foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different. They can find the stories they need to, and they bring themselves to stories. A hackneyed, worn-out idea isnt hackneyed and worn out to them. This is the first time the child has encountered it. Do not discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is a route to other books you may prefer. And not everyone has the same taste as you.

Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a childs love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian improving literature. Youll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant.

We need our children to get onto the reading ladder: anything that they enjoy reading will move them up, rung by rung, into literacy. (Also, do not do what this author did when his 11-year-old daughter was into RL Stine, which is to go and get a copy of Stephen Kings Carrie, saying if you liked those youll love this! Holly read nothing but safe stories of settlers on prairies for the rest of her teenage years, and still glares at me when Stephen Kings name is mentioned.)

And the second thing fiction does is to build empathy. When you watch TV or see a film, you are looking at things happening to other people. Prose fiction is something you build up from 26 letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you, and you alone, using your imagination, create a world and people it and look out through other eyes. You get to feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know. You learn that everyone else out there is a me, as well. Youre being someone else, and when you return to your own world, youre going to be slightly changed.

Empathy is a tool for building people into groups, for allowing us to function as more than self-obsessed individuals.

Youre also finding out something as you read vitally important for making your way in the world. And its this:

The world doesnt have to be like this. Things can be different.

I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed?

Its simple, he told me. The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.

Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere youve never been. Once youve visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.

And while were on the subject, Id like to say a few words about escapism. I hear the term bandied about as if its a bad thing. As if escapist fiction is a cheap opiate used by the muddled and the foolish and the deluded, and the only fiction that is worthy, for adults or for children, is mimetic fiction, mirroring the worst of the world the reader finds herself in.

If you were trapped in an impossible situation, in an unpleasant place, with people who meant you ill, and someone offered you a temporary escape, why wouldnt you take it? And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with(and books are real places, make no mistake about that); and more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison. Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real.

As JRR Tolkien reminded us, the only people who inveigh against escape are jailers.

Tolkien's
Tolkiens illustration of Bilbos home, Bag End. Photograph: HarperCollins

Another way to destroy a childs love of reading, of course, is to make sure there are no books of any kind around. And to give them nowhere to read those books. I was lucky. I had an excellent local library growing up. I had the kind of parents who could be persuaded to drop me off in the library on their way to work in summer holidays, and the kind of librarians who did not mind a small, unaccompanied boy heading back into the childrens library every morning and working his way through the card catalogue, looking for books with ghosts or magic or rockets in them, looking for vampires or detectives or witches or wonders. And when I had finished reading the childrens library I began on the adult books.

They were good librarians. They liked books and they liked the books being read. They taught me how to order books from other libraries on inter-library loans. They had no snobbery about anything I read. They just seemed to like that there was this wide-eyed little boy who loved to read, and would talk to me about the books I was reading, they would find me other books in a series, they would help. They treated me as another reader nothing less or more which meant they treated me with respect. I was not used to being treated with respect as an eight-year-old.

But libraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education (which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university), about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information.

I worry that here in the 21st century people misunderstand what libraries are and the purpose of them. If you perceive a library as a shelf of books, it may seem antiquated or outdated in a world in which most, but not all, books in print exist digitally. But that is to miss the point fundamentally.

I think it has to do with nature of information. Information has value, and the right information has enormous value. For all of human history, we have lived in a time of information scarcity, and having the needed information was always important, and always worth something: when to plant crops, where to find things, maps and histories and stories they were always good for a meal and company. Information was a valuable thing, and those who had it or could obtain it could charge for that service.

In the last few years, weve moved from an information-scarce economy to one driven by an information glut. According to Eric Schmidt of Google, every two days now the human race creates as much information as we did from the dawn of civilisation until 2003. Thats about five exobytes of data a day, for those of you keeping score. The challenge becomes, not finding that scarce plant growing in the desert, but finding a specific plant growing in a jungle. We are going to need help navigating that information to find the thing we actually need.

A
Photograph: Alamy

Libraries are places that people go to for information. Books are only the tip of the information iceberg: they are there, and libraries can provide you freely and legally with books. More children are borrowing books from libraries than ever before books of all kinds: paper and digital and audio. But libraries are also, for example, places that people, who may not have computers, who may not have internet connections, can go online without paying anything: hugely important when the way you find out about jobs, apply for jobs or apply for benefits is increasingly migrating exclusively online. Librarians can help these people navigate that world.

I do not believe that all books will or should migrate onto screens: as Douglas Adams once pointed out to me, more than 20 years before the Kindle turned up, a physical book is like a shark. Sharks are old: there were sharks in the ocean before the dinosaurs. And the reason there are still sharks around is that sharks are better at being sharks than anything else is. Physical books are tough, hard to destroy, bath-resistant, solar-operated, feel good in your hand: they are good at being books, and there will always be a place for them. They belong in libraries, just as libraries have already become places you can go to get access to ebooks, and audiobooks and DVDs and web content.

A library is a place that is a repository of information and gives every citizen equal access to it. That includes health information. And mental health information. Its a community space. Its a place of safety, a haven from the world. Its a place with librarians in it. What the libraries of the future will be like is something we should be imagining now.

Literacy is more important than ever it was, in this world of text and email, a world of written information. We need to read and write, we need global citizens who can read comfortably, comprehend what they are reading, understand nuance, and make themselves understood.

Libraries really are the gates to the future. So it is unfortunate that, round the world, we observe local authorities seizing the opportunity to close libraries as an easy way to save money, without realising that they are stealing from the future to pay for today. They are closing the gates that should be open.

According to a recent study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, England is the only country where the oldest age group has higher proficiency in both literacy and numeracy than the youngest group, after other factors, such as gender, socio-economic backgrounds and type of occupations are taken into account.

Or to put it another way, our children and our grandchildren are less literate and less numerate than we are. They are less able to navigate the world, to understand it to solve problems. They can be more easily lied to and misled, will be less able to change the world in which they find themselves, be less employable. All of these things. And as a country, England will fall behind other developed nations because it will lack a skilled workforce.

Books are the way that we communicate with the dead. The way that we learn lessons from those who are no longer with us, that humanity has built on itself, progressed, made knowledge incremental rather than something that has to be relearned, over and over. There are tales that are older than most countries, tales that have long outlasted the cultures and the buildings in which they were first told.

I think we have responsibilities to the future. Responsibilities and obligations to children, to the adults those children will become, to the world they will find themselves inhabiting. All of us as readers, as writers, as citizens have obligations. I thought Id try and spell out some of these obligations here.

I believe we have an obligation to read for pleasure, in private and in public places. If we read for pleasure, if others see us reading, then we learn, we exercise our imaginations. We show others that reading is a good thing.

We have an obligation to support libraries. To use libraries, to encourage others to use libraries, to protest the closure of libraries. If you do not value libraries then you do not value information or culture or wisdom. You are silencing the voices of the past and you are damaging the future.

We have an obligation to read aloud to our children. To read them things they enjoy. To read to them stories we are already tired of. To do the voices, to make it interesting, and not to stop reading to them just because they learn to read to themselves. Use reading-aloud time as bonding time, as time when no phones are being checked, when the distractions of the world are put aside.

We have an obligation to use the language. To push ourselves: to find out what words mean and how to deploy them, to communicate clearly, to say what we mean. We must not to attempt to freeze language, or to pretend it is a dead thing that must be revered, but we should use it as a living thing, that flows, that borrows words, that allows meanings and pronunciations to change with time.

We writers and especially writers for children, but all writers have an obligation to our readers: its the obligation to write true things, especially important when we are creating tales of people who do not exist in places that never were to understand that truth is not in what happens but what it tells us about who we are. Fiction is the lie that tells the truth, after all. We have an obligation not to bore our readers, but to make them need to turn the pages. One of the best cures for a reluctant reader, after all, is a tale they cannot stop themselves from reading. And while we must tell our readers true things and give them weapons and give them armour and pass on whatever wisdom we have gleaned from our short stay on this green world, we have an obligation not to preach, not to lecture, not to force predigested morals and messages down our readers throats like adult birds feeding their babies pre-masticated maggots; and we have an obligation never, ever, under any circumstances, to write anything for children that we would not want to read ourselves.

We have an obligation to understand and to acknowledge that as writers for children we are doing important work, because if we mess it up and write dull books that turn children away from reading and from books, we ve lessened our own future and diminished theirs.

We all adults and children, writers and readers have an obligation to daydream. We have an obligation to imagine. It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that we are in a world in which society is huge and the individual is less than nothing: an atom in a wall, a grain of rice in a rice field. But the truth is, individuals change their world over and over, individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different.

Look around you: I mean it. Pause, for a moment and look around the room that you are in. Im going to point out something so obvious that it tends to be forgotten. Its this: that everything you can see, including the walls, was, at some point, imagined. Someone decided it was easier to sit on a chair than on the ground and imagined the chair. Someone had to imagine a way that I could talk to you in London right now without us all getting rained on.This room and the things in it, and all the other things in this building, this city, exist because, over and over and over, people imagined things.

We have an obligation to make things beautiful. Not to leave the world uglier than we found it, not to empty the oceans, not to leave our problems for the next generation. We have an obligation to clean up after ourselves, and not leave our children with a world weve shortsightedly messed up, shortchanged, and crippled.

We have an obligation to tell our politicians what we want, to vote against politicians of whatever party who do not understand the value of reading in creating worthwhile citizens, who do not want to act to preserve and protect knowledge and encourage literacy. This is not a matter of party politics. This is a matter of common humanity.

Albert Einstein was asked once how we could make our children intelligent. His reply was both simple and wise. If you want your children to be intelligent, he said, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales. He understood the value of reading, and of imagining. I hope we can give our children a world in which they will read, and be read to, and imagine, and understand.

This is an edited version of Neil Gaimans lecture for the Reading Agency, delivered on Monday October 14 at the Barbican in London. The Reading Agencys annual lecture series was initiated in 2012 as a platform for leading writers and thinkers to share original, challenging ideas about reading and libraries.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/15/neil-gaiman-future-libraries-reading-daydreaming

Guacamole gone wrong: 7 of the most common guac-making mistakes

Look, we know you all have a lot of ~feelings~ about guacamole. Like politics and religion, its a sensitive subject thats best approached with tact (or better yet, not at all. Definitely never on a first date).

But whether or not you put peas in your guac or not, there are a few non-negotiable rules to this Mexican staple.

Here are the most common things people screw up when making it, according to senior food editor (and guacamole Jedi master) Rick Martinez.

1. Using Under-, Over- or Not-Uniformly Ripe Avocados

In a perfect world, we would all be blessed with perfectly ripe avocados whenever the urge to make a batch of guac strikes. But lifes not like that, so Martinez advises planning ahead: Most grocery stores sell under-ripe avocados; buy them a couple of days in advance and let them ripen on the countertop. Theyve reached optimal ripeness when they have a little give, but arent soft or mushy. In a pinch, Martinez has made guac with under-ripe avocadoes (Just mash the [—] out of them), but thats, of course, not ideal. Additionally, never combine avocados with different levels of ripeness. The textures wont meld together, leaving you with hard little icebergs of avocado floating in a sea of mushy guac. You can do better than that.

2. Not Using Hass Avocados

When it comes to the lusciously creamy texture we associate with guacamole, there can only be one variety: Hass, the king of all avocados. Hass avocados have a richer and more concentrated flavor than other varieties, like the larger but more watery Florida avocado. Luckily, the options most commonly available in grocery stores are Hass. Theyre smaller with dark green, pebbled skin.

3. Not Cutting Out the Blemishes

A bruise or brown and mushy spot on your avocado isnt a deal-breaker (unlike mold on bread, it wont contaminate the whole thing). However, it will turn the rest of your guacamole dirty swamp green, according to Martinez. Ensure your guac stays brilliantly verdant by spending an extra 30 seconds cutting out the blemished spots.

More From Bon Appetit

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/2017/06/19/guacamole-gone-wrong-7-most-common-guac-making-mistakes.html

Sir Bruce Forsyth: TV legend dies aged 89 – BBC News

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Media captionHow Brucie entertained us for decades

Sir Bruce Forsyth, the veteran entertainer and presenter of many successful TV shows, has died aged 89.

The former Strictly Come Dancing host had been unwell for some time and was in hospital earlier this year after a severe chest infection.

His long career in showbusiness began when he was aged just 14.

He became Britain’s best-paid TV star, famous for hosting game shows like The Generation Game, Play Your Cards Right and The Price is Right.

He also presented BBC One’s Strictly with Tess Daly from 2004 to 2014.

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Media captionFormer BBC chairman Lord Grade: Sir Bruce “still had twinkle in eye”

A statement from his manager Ian Wilson said he died “peacefully at his home surrounded by his wife Wilnelia and all his children”.

“A couple of weeks ago, a friend visited him and asked him what he had been doing these last 18 months. With a twinkle in his eye, he responded, ‘I’ve been very, very busy… being ill!'” he added.

Sir Bruce’s family thanked “the many people who have sent cards and letters to Bruce wishing him well over his long illness”, adding there would be no further comment at the moment.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sir Bruce was a household name by the 1960s

Tributes have been paid by his friends and admirers in the showbusiness world. Sir Bruce’s Strictly co-host Tess Daly said she was “heartbroken”.

“From the moment we met, Bruce and I did nothing but laugh our way through a decade of working together on Strictly Come Dancing and I will never forget his generosity, his brilliant sense of humour and his drive to entertain the audiences he so loved,” she said.

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Media captionHow Sir Bruce Forsyth wound up Sir Sean Connery – and other stories

Former Strictly judge Len Goodman also paid tribute, saying: “As long as I can remember there has always been Bruce on our TV.

“His work ethic, professionalism and charm will be with me forever. Bruce it was nice to see you to see you nice.”

Strictly presenter Claudia Winkleman, who replaced Sir Bruce after he left the show, tweeted that he was “the King of TV, the Prince of performers and the most generous of people… all toe-tapping twinkle, all kindness, all love….

“The Bruce you saw really was the man he was. We’ll miss him so much.”

Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood added: “Extremely sad to hear the news of Bruce’s passing. A true legend and national treasure. He will be deeply missed but always remembered.”

Former judge Arlene Phillips said the entertainer was an “indestructible titan, tap dancing his way through life”.

She added: “Working with him on Strictly was personally a joy. His endless teasing of my judging style, particularly with strong sportsmen, was an ongoing joke.

“His enormous support after I was let go from the Strictly panel meant so much.”

Sir Bruce Forsyth 1928-2017

Longest TV career of any male entertainer

1939

First TV performance, Come and Be Televised

2015

Last TV performance, Strictly Children in Need Special

  • 5 years The Bruce Forsyth Show

  • 10 years The Generation Game

  • 14 years Play your cards right

  • 2 catchphrases Didn't he do well? Nice to see you, to see you nice.

PA

In a tweet, Prime Minister Theresa May said the country had “lost a national treasure”, adding: “Like millions of others, for years I watched Sir Bruce dance, sing, joke & laugh. He will be sorely missed.”

BBC director general Lord Hall described Sir Bruce as “one of the greatest entertainers our country has ever known”.

Comedian Jimmy Tarbuck added: “He could do it all. He was magnificent and he was a great entertainer. He could dance, he was a very nice pianist, he was good at sketches, he was the greatest moaner in the world on the golf course, and he was a unique friend to me.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Sir Bruce and Lady Forsyth married in 1983

Former chat show host Sir Michael Parkinson described the entertainer as “funny” and “irrepressible”.

Sir Michael also praised Sir Bruce’s ability to manage his career, saying: “He was very canny – we only know about the shows he said yes to, what we don’t know are the hundreds of ideas he said, ‘That’s not for me.’ He had the smartness – that’s the sign of a great star.”

BBC Radio 4 presenter Nicholas Parsons added that he was “devoted” to Sir Bruce.

“He had great charm, great humour – he was an all-round performer. He was one of the country’s most talented players – a great dancer, great singer and a comedian and also very good actor. The way he ran a game show was exceptional – a unique talent. He was a lovely man.”

The Beano tweeted a picture of Sir Bruce which appeared in the comic in 2008, describing him as an “entertainment legend”.

Image copyright Beano/Twitter

Sir Bruce had not been seen in public recently, due to ill health. He was too frail to attend the funerals of close friends Ronnie Corbett and Sir Terry Wogan last year.

In 2015, the presenter underwent keyhole surgery after suffering two aneurysms, which were discovered following a fall at his Surrey home.


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Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40978576

‘Beer yoga’ is a real thing, now, because of course it is

Hmm, beer.
Image: bieryoga/facebook

Nothing like putting down an icy cold beer. Except, of course, achieving a higher state of being and eventual transcendence of the Self through the practice of yoga.

But what if you could do both, at the same time?

Yes: Beer yoga is here. After being enjoyed by Berlin hipsters, it’s now found its way to Australian shoresa land where beer’s most definitely a religious practice, at least as much as yoga. And not in the best way.

Germany’s BierYoga A.K.A BeerYoga bills itself as the “marriage of two great lovesbeer and yoga. Both are centuries-old therapies for mind, body and soul,” according to its website.

And if you think they’re just being cute, think again.

Image: bieryoga/facebook

“BeerYoga is fun but it’s no joke,” founder and yogi Jhula writes. “We take the philosophies of yoga and pair it with the pleasure of beer-drinking to reach your highest level of consciousness.”

But even Jhula wasn’t the first person to promote enlightenment through yoga under the influence of alcohol. The instructor told Ex Berliner they first saw it done at (American culture festival/desert apocalypse party shitshow) Burning Man.

But wherever it came from, it’s definitely now a thing, and a thing being marketed unironically Down Under.

Two special sessions of beer meets asana will take place in Sydney this weekend, where students can learn yoga poses involving “beer salutations” and balancing beer bottles on one’s headjust watch out for bottle smashes.

The event page assures would-be attendees that no yoga experience is necessary. Just an “open mind and a love of beer.”

And if you think that all this does nothing to curb binge-drinking and/or cheapens a legitimate and sadly oft-perverted spiritual practice, then you can just Namaste away.

[h/t Broadsheet]

BONUS: NBD, just a massive alligator out for a stroll

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/01/17/beer-yoga-comes-to-australia-of-course/

What Its Like To Be In Love When You Have Depression

No one will love you until you learn to love yourself is an easy enough phrase to believe is true. But its terrifying, especially when you have depression. What if you never learn? As a teenager, it made me fear for my life as an adult. I was certain I would never be capable of being in a relationship, but I was very wrong. Honestly, I do not like myself very much, and in August of 2013, a boy fell very, very much in love with me.

I have dealt with depression for as long as I can remember. Ive been on and off medications, been to therapy, but its still alive and well, comfortable in its home in my bones. I can feel it every day, a tiny inkling that causes breathtaking emotional pain at the most inconvenient of times.

My depression doesnt care that I am in a relationship with a boy who makes me laugh, tells me Im beautiful 20 times a day, and cares more deeply for me than any other boy has. I am grateful for the nights he holds me while I cry for hours for no reason. I am thankful that he puts up with my random periods of irritability. He constantly attempts to comfort me if I am suddenly uncomfortable when were out in public. He fills me with hope for the future when I lead myself down the darkest of paths, plays with my hair when Im having trouble sleeping, and encourages me to eat when I have no appetite. He takes care of me and I never even had to explain myself. I still consciously think to myself, nine months into this relationship, Wow, someone is in love with me. I often think about how lucky I am to be loved, regardless of my flaws in chemistry.

This intense love is frightening, because every day, I fear that one more thing will push him over the edge. That one more time of me rolling over in bed, teary-eyed, for no reason, could push him away. I know it upsets him, and I reassure him through my salty, blurred vision that its not his fault. I am often overcome with guilt and I hate that my feelings about myself cause any pain on his part. Sometimes he is not easily convinced, but I try as hard as I can with the little energy I have. Some of our nights end in a tight hug and an Im sorry mumbled from my lips, but Im just thankful that he is still happy to wake up to me every morning.

Every day is a struggle. I am constantly on edge, going back and forth between caring too much and not caring at all, wondering when he will have enough. He is quick to remind me how much he loves me, but I am just as quick to be overcome with crippling doubt. We both know that this is how forever will be, and if he hasnt given up yet, Im certain that he is 100% all in.

Never let anyone tell you that you are not worth being loved if you dont love yourself. Never let anyone tell you that your mental illness is the reason why you are not in a relationship. Never let anyone tell you that you should smile more, fix your hair, or wear more color. Never let anyone makes you feel bad about what you cant always control.

Someone will be in love with you regardless of your most comfortable state, and if that happens to be curled up on the floor of your room, crying as you listen to your favorite sad songs, then you have found true love.

featured image – Bhumika Bhatia

Read more: http://thoughtcatalog.com/holly-everett/2014/06/what-its-like-to-be-in-love-when-you-have-depression/

What Anxiety Actually Is, Because Its More Than Just Worrying

Anxiety is the restless nights of sleep, as you toss and turn. Its your brain never being able to shut off. Its the thoughts you over-think before bedtime and all of your worst fears become a reality in dreams and nightmares.

Its waking up tired even though your day just started.

Anxiety is learning how to function with sleep deprivation because it took you until 2 am to shut your eyes.

Its every text you wonder Its a double or triple text in case you messed up. Anxiety is answering texts embarrassingly fast.

Anxiety is the time you spend waiting for an answer as a scenario plays out in your mind of what they could be thinking or are they mad?

Anxiety is an unanswered text that kills you inside

even though you tell yourself,

Anxiety is that critical voice that says It’s believing every negative scenario you can come up with.

Anxiety is waiting. It always feels like you’re waiting.

Its the inaccurate conclusions drawn as your mind takes off and you have no choice but to follow its destructive lead.

Anxiety is apologizing for things that dont even require the words,

Anxiety is self-doubt and a lack of confidence both in you, yourself and those around you.

Anxiety is being hyper aware of everyone and everything. So much so, you can tell if theres a shift in someone merely by their tone or word choice.

Anxiety is ruining relationships before they even begin. It tells you, Then you jump to conclusions and ruin it.

Anxiety is a constant state of worrying and panicking and being on the edge. Its irrational fears.

Its thinking too much, its caring too much. Because the root of people with anxiety is caring.

Its sweaty palms and a racing heart. But on the outside, no one can see it. You appear calm and at ease and smiling but underneath is anything but that.

Anxiety is the art of deception for people who dont know you. And for the people who do, its a constant stream of phrases like, or or Its friends listening to these conclusions youve drawn and not really understanding how you got there. But they’re there trying to support you, as things go from bad to worse in your mind.

Anxiety is wanting to fix something that isnt even a problem.

Its the stream of questions that make you doubt yourself.

Its turning back around just to double check.

Anxiety is the uneasiness at a party because you think all eyes are on you and no one wants you there. Anxiety is that extra shot you take and it seems like youre finally relaxing. Until you wake up the next day hungover, full of regret and wondering what you said to who and do you owe them an apology?

Anxiety is the overcompensating and trying too hard to please people.

Anxiety is being everywhere on time because the thought of being late would put you over the edge.

Anxiety is the fear of failure and striving for perfection. Then beating yourself up when you fall short.

Its always needing a schedule or a plan.

Anxiety is that voice inside your head thats saying

Its trying to exceed peoples expectations even if youre killing yourself to do so. Anxiety is taking on more than you can handle just so you are distracted and not overthinking something.

Anxiety is procrastination because you’re paralyzed with fear of failing so you hold it off.

Its the triggers that set you off.

Its breaking down in private and crying when youre overwhelmed but no one will ever see that side of you. Anxiety is picking up and trying again because the only thing worse than overcoming other people is overcoming you and your own demons.

Its beating that critical voice that says,

Anxiety is the want and the need to control things because it feels like this thing in your life is outside of your control and you have to learn to live with it.

But more than anything anxiety is caring. Its never wanting to hurt someones feelings. Its never wanting to do something wrong. More than anything, its the want and need to simply be accepted and liked. So you try too hard sometimes.

And when you come across friends who begin to understand, they help you through it.

Read more: http://thoughtcatalog.com/kirsten-corley/2017/01/what-anxiety-actually-is-because-its-more-than-just-worrying/