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Why animals are not the perfect holiday gift

(CNN)With the festive season upon us, people are brainstorming for the perfect gift. The comfort and joy of a pet may seem like a great option, but global animal shelters and animal welfare organizations discourage giving animals.

No matter how much children may beg, Fraaß said, “do not gift animals!”
Taking in a pet is a permanent commitment, shelter administrators advise, and shouldn’t be done as a rash decision or as a surprise for someone.
    Several countries have stopped animal adoptions during the holidays to discourage careless adoptions that often lead to the animals being returned or abandoned.
    The world’s largest animal rights organization,People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, welcomes these moves, as “many people make rash decisions, especially during the festive period, to gift animals,” spokeswoman Jana Hoger said.
    Over the past decade, Germany’s large city-based animal rescues have seen a 40% jump in returns of dogs and a 50% increase in the returns of cats in January, compared with other months, Hoger said — an “exceptionally big amount.”
    Adopting a pet requires a lot of consideration. There are many costs associated with raising an animal, such as food and medical appointments, according to Fraaß. Costs can also exceed expectations if the pet gets sick and requires surgery, Hoger added.
    Pets require a lot of attention and care. Children can lose interest fast, and the deal over who will walk the dog or clean the cat’s litter box can easily become a point ofcontention, Fraaß said.
    How much space the animal needs and the right environment are also important considerations, according to Hoger.
    Adopting a pet will “completely change your lifestyle,” explained Steve Craddock, manager for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London. If someone is giving an animal “as a gift, it is likely they won’t have taken into consideration all those aspects, particularly not if it’s a surprise gift.”
    Germany’s second-largest animal rescue, the Hanover animal shelter, hasinstituted a temporary stop of animal adoptions over the Christmas period for several years. This year, animal lovers can’t adopt a companion between December 20 and 26. Instead, the shelter offers gift vouchers for an animal as an alternative Christmas present.
    Other large organizations have similar policies. Gaby Schwab, spokeswoman for the Bremen animal shelter, wrote in an email that “it is common for many animal shelters to not grant adoptions several days before Christmas.”
    The Bremen animal home has been applying a temporary adoption stop for nearly 20 years. It has been a positive, Schwab said, with fewer animals being abandoned after the holidays.
    Another reason the animal organization discourages adoptions over Christmas “is the stress during this festive period. Many families have guests, but the animals should settle into their new home in peace,” she said.
    The Berlin animal shelter is home to roughly 1,400 animals. It is also one of Europe’s largest shelters, spokeswoman Beate Kaminski wrote in an email. Here, people have to wait until December 27 to adopt animals. The temporary stop is “our way of working towards as few people as possible spontaneously using animals as Christmas presents,” Kaminski said.

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    But adoption restrictions do not solve the problem. The purchase of animals over the internet is often very cheap and from unknown or unethical sources. “Here in Germany, this is a massive problem,” Hoger said.
    Roughly 300,000 animals end up in animal shelters across Germany yearly, Hoger said. After the holidays, there is also a “second wave of returns” shortly before summer break. After the initial euphoria of having a pet wears off and it is time for summer vacation, many people don’t know what to do with their animal, and this leads to more returns, she said.
    Last year, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a charity focused on promoting animal welfare, found new homes for more than 44,611 animals and rescued 114,584.
      Since 2007, a law in England and Wales places legal obligations on the owners and keepers of animals to care for their pets properly.
      In the United States, 6.5 million animals enter animal shelters every year, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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      Here’s why college football teams use live animals as mascots

      (CNN)The Georgia Bulldogs took on the Texas Longhorns in the Sugar Bowl Tuesday night in New Orleans, and the clash wasn’t just on the gridiron.

      It was supposed to be a simple photo op, but nobody told Bevo, who promptly charged at Uga (and almost took out a few humans in the process).
      So, just why do college football teams have live animals mascots anyway?
        The answer is actually pretty simple, Michael Lewis, a marketing professor at Emory University in Atlanta, told CNN.
        “Human beings love animals,” said Lewis, who runs a podcast on sports analytics research. “They’re so much more compelling than a guy in a suit. The live animal mascots have some real advantages. I think of them as like a focal point for the fan community to get behind.”

        It all started with a dog

        On any given Saturday afternoon, you’ll find all manner of beast roaming the sidelines at games: Rameses the ram at North Carolina, Bill the goat at Navy, Traveler the horse at USC, the War Eagle at Auburn, Mike the tiger at LSU, Ralphie the buffalo at Colorado, Joy and Lady, the bears at Baylor.
        But it’s believed the first live animal college mascot was Yale’s Handsome Dan bulldog. A student from England named Andrew Graves brought the first Handsome Dan to football and baseball games in 1889, according to the Yale News. There’s been a continuous line of them ever since. An Olde English Bulldogge named Walter now represents Yale as Handsome Dan XVIII.
        Lewis says it’s no surprise that a dog was college football’s first live animal mascot.
        “Dogs are part of the family,” he said, so fans have a natural affinity for them.
        In the case of Uga, Georgia’s mascot, Lewis said the bulldog’s popularity extends beyond the university. It’s as though the “dog is almost owned by the community.”

        It’s not without controversy

        But not everyone thinks it’s healthy to use animals this way. Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says there’s not a really good reason to subject live animals to the stress of being a mascot for a school.
        “Big cats, bears, and other live-animal mascots don’t belong on college campuses,” PETA says on a blog post on its website entitled “Live-Animal Mascots Score an ‘F.'”
        “Even in the best circumstances, subjecting animals to a busy university environment and forcing them into close proximity to crowds of people day in and day out is stressful and cruel.”

        There have been injuries

        And animals do sometimes get hurt. Aurora the falcon, the mascot for the Air Force’s football team, was injured back in November during a prank before the service academy’s game with Army at West Point.
        Aurora suffered an injury to both wings but is expected to make a full recovery, according to the Air Force Times.
        Lewis said the use of live animals as mascots is becoming more controversial, as society as a whole becomes more conscious about the rights of animals. But the outrage isn’t evenly applied.
        “The dogs seem to be OK because they’re domesticated,” he said.

        How the game ended

        There’s a little more consternation over the use of livestock animals, like Texas’s Bevo, but Lewis said the real outrage seems to be for the use of predator animals — like tigers and lions — as mascots because many of them are caged on the sidelines and that just doesn’t set right with some.
        “That’s a real trigger point for some people,” he said.
        The pre-game scuffle between Bevo and Uga, in which the steer took it to the bulldog, seemed to be a preview of the game, which Texas won 28-21. Heck, the animal clash may have been the most entertaining thing anyone saw in a college football stadium that day.
          “For some folks that was the highlight of the New Year’s Day bowls,” Lewis chuckled.

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          All The Laws You Should Know About That Go Into Effect In 2019

          2019 will see the enactment of a slew of new laws across the country (in California alone, more than 1,000 will be added to the books). In some states, minimum wages will go up, guns will be harder to obtain, plastic straws will get the boot and hunters will get to wear pink for a change.

          Here are some of the noteworthy laws going into effect this year:

          Tighter gun restrictions in several states

          Following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last February, thousands of protesters across the nation demanded stricter gun control measures.

          In the wake of the shooting massacre at a Parkland, Florida, high school last year, California passed several measures to prevent domestic abusers and people with mental illness from obtaining guns. Californians who are involuntarily committed to a mental institution twice in a year, or who are convicted of certain domestic violence offenses, could face a lifetime gun ownership ban.

          Under an expanded Oregon law that went into effect on Jan. 1, domestic abuse offenders or people under restraining orders are banned from owning or purchasing a gun. In Illinois, authorities now have the right to seize firearms from people determined to be a danger to themselves or others. A similar “red flag” law will go into effect in New Jersey later this year.  

          At least six states — California, Washington, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois and Vermont — and the District of Columbia are raising the minimum age from 18 to 21 for the purchase of long guns this year, CNBC reported.

          Washington state will also be enforcing several other gun control measures, including enhanced background checks, secure gun storage laws and a requirement for gun purchasers to provide proof they’ve undergone firearm safety training.

          New ‘Me Too’ laws

          In 2018, the Me Too movement spurred many people to come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and abuse — and prompted several states to pass new laws targeting sexual violence.

          Several states are taking aim at workplace sexual harassment. California has banned nondisclosure provisions in settlements involving claims of sexual assault, harassment or discrimination based on sex. California employers will also no longer be allowed to compel workers to sign nondisparagement agreements as a condition of employment or in exchange for a raise or bonus.

          By the end of 2019, publicly held corporations in the Golden State will also need to have at least one woman on their board of directors. Depending on the size of the board, corporations will need to increase that number to at least two or three female board members by the end of 2021.

          In New York, all employees will be required to complete annual sexual harassment prevention training. Larger businesses in Delaware will have to provide such training to their workers, and legislators and their staff in Virginia will need to undergo such training every year.

          Minimum wages get a boost 

          Though the federal minimum wage has languished at $7.25 since 2009, at least 19 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Washington, will be raising their minimum wages this year. Each will boost its minimum wage to at least $12. Some cities like New York, Seattle and Palo Alto, California, will see their wage floors increase to $15.

          So long straws and stirrers!

          Under a new California law, restaurant customers will have to explicitly ask for a plastic straw if they want to use one.

          As public awareness mounts of the hazards of plastic waste pollution, cities and states around the country have been targeting a major source of the problem: single-use plastic products like straws and food containers.

          A new law in New York City bars restaurants, stores and manufacturers from using most foam products, including takeout containers, cups and packing peanuts.

          Eateries in the District of Columbia are now prohibited from giving out single-use plastic straws and stirrers. In California, restaurant patrons will need to ask explicitly for a plastic straw if they want to use one. Restaurants can be fined $25 a day for serving beverages with plastic straws that aren’t requested by customers.

          Former felons in Florida can head to the voting booth

          In November, Florida voted to approve a ballot measure that enabled more than 1 million former felons to regain their voting rights.

          On Jan. 8, Florida will restore the voting rights of all former felons except those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense. Some 1.4 million possible voters will be added to the rolls — an addition that could have a significant effect on elections in the swing state.

          Utah implements strictest DUI law in the country

          Utah has lowered its blood alcohol content standard for drunk driving to 0.05 percent — the lowest limit in the country.

          Under the new law, a driver who exceeds that limit and causes the death of another person will be charged with criminal homicide, a felony offense.

          As CNN notes, all other U.S. states have a blood alcohol concentration limit of 0.08 percent for noncommercial drivers. Since at least 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board has been pushing to lower the limit to 0.05 nationwide. 

          Pets to get more rights in California

          Pets in California will no longer be treated by courts as physical property in divorce cases. Instead, judges can decide who gets custody of the family pet.

          Under a separate California law, pet stores will no longer be allowed to sell cats, dogs or rabbits that aren’t from animal shelters or nonprofit rescue groups. That law, which took effect on Jan. 1, also requires that store owners maintain proper documentation of the backgrounds of the dogs, cats and rabbits they sell.

          Hawaii legalizes physician-assisted suicide

          Hawaii’s new law allowing physician-assisted suicide took effect on Tuesday.

          Tobacco targeted in several states

          Some states and cities are taking aim at tobacco products this year.

          Smoking will be banned at all New Jersey public beaches and parks starting in July.

          In New York City, a new ordinance bans pharmacies from selling cigarettes and other tobacco products. And Massachusetts has raised the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21.

          Nonbinary people can list their gender as ‘X’ in NYC

          People who identify as neither male nor female can now list their gender as “X” on birth certificates in New York City.

          New Jersey requires all residents to have health insurance

          A health insurance law in New Jersey that came into effect on Jan. 1 requires residents to maintain coverage or pay a penalty. It’s the second state in the country, after Massachusetts, to enact an individual health insurance mandate.

          Vermont is paying remote workers to move there

          In an effort to promote economic growth, Vermont has offered to pay some remote workers to relocate to the state.

          Qualified applicants can each apply for up to $10,000 in funding. The state has earmarked $500,000 for the initiative, The Associated Press reported.

          Hunters in Illinois can wear pink if they want to

          Not into the usual “blaze orange”? Hunters in Illinois can now wear equally eye-catching “blaze pink” under a new law.

          Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) said the new shade could be even more effective in helping hunters stand out.

          “[In the fall] we’re hunting in trees and in some fields, there are orange leaves. There is orange in the background, so it’s not always easy to see orange,” Rauner said, according to the Illinois News Network. “So we’re adding blaze pink to be one of the colors.”

          Ohio kids will soon be required to learn cursive

          In an age of text messaging and email, Ohio is attempting to keep the handwriting tradition of cursive alive. A new state law will require students to be able to write in cursive by the end of fifth grade. 

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          Homeless Man Goes To The Hospital, Staff Soon Realize That Hes Not Alone

          Hospital staff bear witness to some of the most intense and dramatic situations, saving and losing lives is a daily occurrence for these everyday heroes.

          With such a physically and emotionally draining occupation, it must come as a great relief to experience moments of pure and simple joy such as this one, shared by Brazilian nurse Cris Mamprim.

          Image credits: Cris Mamprim

          The scene unfolded at Hospital Regional Alto Vale, in the southern state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. At 3 am on a Sunday morning Cris was doing her night rounds when a homeless man called César was admitted to receive medication for an ongoing illness he has been fighting.

          However, she soon came to realize that while César might be in a difficult place right now, he’s not short of friends.

          Image credits: Cris Mamprim

          A small group of four dogs was at the hospital door, waiting patiently for César with slightly concerned looks while he received his treatment. Cris was to discover that these loyal pups are well looked after by César, who often goes without a meal himself to make sure that his furry friends get food in their bellies.

          “They are all well taken care of and chubby,” Cris told The Dodo. “Seeing them like that, waiting at the door, only shows how much they are cared for and loved.”

          Image credits: Cris Mamprim

          As César began to recover, staff invited the dogs in so they could be by his side. They offered him a meal, which he, of course, shared with his buddies. “Believe me, he ate some and saved a bit to give the dogs later,” Cris said. Soon after, César was free to go, back to his daily fight for survival on the streets. However, he is not alone.

          The reciprocal love and care that he shares with his canine companions are sure to help keep them all safe out there and is a heartwarming example of enduring kindness in a harsh, unforgiving world.

          Here’s what people had to say about the heartwarming story

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          Man tells wife, ‘You love those dogs more than you love me,’ before throwing pets off balcony, killing one

          Jerald Jeske faces one count of aggravated cruelty to animals in the death of a 16-year-old Chihuahua, authorities say. (Chicago Police Department )

          A Chicago-area attorney fed up with his wife’s love for her two Chihuahuas tossed the animals off her second-floor balcony, killing one, during an argument, Chicago police said.

          Jerald Jeske, 51, faces one count of aggravated cruelty to animals in the death of a 16-year-old Chihuahua found dead by police Monday evening, the WGN-TV in Chicago reported.

          Jeske’s wife told police the pair had been arguing in a vehicle when he slapped her twice and said, “You love those dogs more than you love me. … I’m going to kill those dogs,” according to reports.


          Jeske allegedly grabbed her keys, went inside her home and threw the dogs off the balcony.

          A 14-year-old Chihuahua named “Flo” who survived the fall and ran off had not been found as of Tuesday, a Chicago police spokesperson told the Chicago Tribune.

          A judge ordered Jeske held in Cook County jail on $10,000 bond.


          His next court appearance is scheduled for Monday.

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          Cop Demoted After Dumping His Retired K-9 Partner At Animal Shelter

          A Mississippi police officer has been busted down to patrol duty after ditching his retired K-9 partner, Ringo, at an animal shelter, according to police officials.

          The Jackson Police Department assumed that officer Carl Ellis, who was Ringo’s handler, had continued to care for the former K-9 officer at his home after the dog’s retirement in October. Officials were later surprised to learn otherwise after Ringo’s initial trainer, Randy Hare, spotted the dog up for adoption on the shelter’s website.

          “You get into this business because you appreciate dogs and what they’re able to do,” Hare told WAPT-TV. Ringo should never have landed in the shelter, added the trainer, who said dogs can often be treated like “equipment” by police departments. Hare has adopted Ringo.

          “The Jackson Police Department respects and holds our canines with high regard just as we do any other officer within our department,” the department said in a statement provided to the Jackson Clarion Ledger. “They are family, and we do not feel they deserve anything less than a loving home in retirement.”

          The 10-year-old dog sniffed out drugs for nine years for his department, and was also used in search and rescue operations, according to the newspaper.

          When Ringo and fellow canine officer Alpha were retired in October, a Jackson detective said at the ceremony that they “served the city very well” and were responsible for the seizure of narcotics worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. He added: “They can be a dog now.”

          The department also posted photos of Ringo and Alpha at the ceremony on its Facebook page, congratulating them on their “recent retirement from a job well [done]!”

          After officials learned of Ringo’s fate, new protocols were launched that will require quarterly welfare checks for all of the department’s dogs, both active-duty and retired, WLBT-TV reported.

          Ellis could not immediately be reached for comment.

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          50 Ways To Deal With Your Loneliness Besides Swiping Through Tinder And Crying Yourself To Sleep

          Cataloged in Self-Improvement

          50 Ways To Deal With Your Loneliness Besides Swiping Through Tinder And Crying Yourself To Sleep

          When you find yourself feeling lonely, Ask Reddit can help you cope.

          1. I hang out with myself! I go to events alone, I go on little adventures around the city alone, I try to try a new restaurant once or twice a month and get dressed up for the occasion. I’m only 19 years old so it kind of bums me out that I don’t have friends but I’m starting to really like being alone, I think part of being ok with being alone is enjoying your own company.

          2. I used to be lonely. But once I learned to forgive and love myself, I decided to get something for my place that I thought was really beautiful, to really liven up my apartment. It was relaxing and gave off a cozy atmosphere. After a while I ended up not only happy with who and where I was in life but I had an apartment that was a joy to come home and walk into. It made being there alone much much much better. I didn’t dread going home alone anymore. I was excited to go home and lay on my beautiful comfy couch and light my wonderfully scented new candles! Stuff like that. Then a boyfriend popped up when I least suspected it. Probably because I’d quit looking for it and gained some confidence.

          3. I realize that even if nobody wants to be my friend, I can be my own friend. I learned a lot of cool things about myself through being lonely.

          4. You learn to thrive on it. If you’re lonely that means you can do whatever you want whenever you want, so just pick something that interests you and dive into it.

          5. I talk to my dogs, as crazy as that sounds. I can’t get out of the house much due to my health so they’re as close to human interaction as I can get.

          6. I’m always trying to learn more things. It transforms the discontent of loneliness into the solace of solitude.

          7. It only bothers me when I think about it. I know that periods where I’m actually around friends, I feel a lot better, but life isn’t that bad without them around, either. Most of my close friends live away from me, so it’s like stepping into a magical fairytale world for me when they visit for a weekend, or I go out to visit one of them. But I know that’s not how our friendship would feel if we lived in the same city; we get the privilege of this blissful time because it is so scarce. The rest of the time, I often wish I had more people around, but books can help with that. The rest of my time I put into hobbies and things that generally fall under “improving myself”, although I’m not really interested in the general self-improvement fad stuff. I’ve started barbell training (SS) in the past few months and it requires a lot of effort for me both in the gym and out, so I don’t mind if all my free time is spent eating, watching videos on YouTube, and sleeping. The only thing I think about when I wake up and when I go to bed now is how many pounds I can load on my back, crouch down, and get back up with. It doesn’t mean much, ultimately, but I feel good about the progress, and the points have substantially more worth than in video games (one of my other main passtimes).

          Basically, think about why you’re “lonely” instead of just “alone”. A lot of it is a matter of perspective. I’m lonely when I’m around people, most of the time. I think what people really want is that contented feeling in their heart, and many people get it from relationships. But not everyone does, and some people do but can also find it elsewhere. I wouldn’t assume that finding people to hang around will improve your loneliness substantially. You may still feel empty and alone even with people around you.

          I really think that if you are lonely alone, you will probably be lonely together… this has definitely been the case for me, at the very least. That doesn’t mean, though, that there aren’t issues that are making you feel worse with people than you should, even if you feel fine alone (don’t assume the inverse). Just because you feel fine alone doesn’t mean you’re not lonely around other people — you could have social issues that make it hard to relate or communicate with other people. Those may require a lot more specific attention to address and I’m definitely not the person to help someone with that.

          8. Books. Nothing like good book to take your mind off the loneliness.

          9. I remind myself often that I would rather come to terms with my loneliness and learn to enjoy it instead of filling that empty void with another human being.

          10. Constantly reminding myself that the only person that the only person that I can always rely on to make myself feel better is myself.

          11. I try my best to distract myself by diving into super complex or involved movies, books, tv shows, video games, etc. to take my mind off of it.

          When I want somebody to talk to I go on reddit. You can usually find somebody wanting to talk.

          12. Focus on hobbies. Take an interest in your future and focus on bettering yourself. I have a small group of friends who are a little far away, but they know I need my space. I embrace the solitude but try to push myself to be social.

          13. I never even think about being lonely. I actually really love it. I mean I do see people on occasion and at work but I’m most happy alone. I like to work on myself, listen to music, do my own thing before going out again. There needs to be a balance. It made me very confident being myself and if anything I enjoy socializing even more because I’m myself and not the product of non-stop social drama. I’m calm and patient, I don’t care for he said she said bullshit and people seem attracted by that. I give great advice and people feel less anxious around me. You must find a balance of being alone and social. Too much of either is bad. I can always tell the ones who live for social attention. They are always uncomfortable, anxious and only talk about people instead of ideas. These people are scared to be left alone and it baffles me. Like I said, you have to find a balance that works for you. Avoid either extreme.

          14. I try to immerse myself in things that interest me. And I stay in touch with the very few people I do have in my life. It’s bittersweet to think about the past. But that’s life.

          15. Social media but don’t follow anyone you actually know in real life. Follow a bunch of uplifting accounts.

          16. Watch Netflix, cook yummy things, study, read, basically keep myself occupied rather than moping around.

          17. I comfort myself with the notion that in the end, no one can entertain me as well as I can.

          18. Sometimes when I get the feels, I remind myself its perfectly fine to feel that way, and its fine to be alone. Then I find something to do, whether I build something like a raised bed for my garden or a doghouse, attempt to draw, go for a jog, play video games, shoot hoops, listen to comedy, watch YouTube, read a book, etc.

          Other times, if I can’t fight it off with any of that, I’ll talk to family by text or call or go somewhere with lots of people just to people-watch and feel somewhat connected.

          If that doesn’t help, ill get on dating sites and talk to my matches or at least send messages.

          19. I try to avoid social media and remember that what people portray on there isn’t always how their life is.

          I talk to random strangers on the internet, listen to lots and lots of music, read, laugh at memes, spend hours on reddit, watching tv shows (less nowadays), I try to go to the gym 3 times a week – keep myself in shape and build my confidence.

          When uni kicks in I study really really hard and that takes my mind off the loneliness.

          Most importantly though, I try not to dwell on it and rather think of all the things I still want to do and learn on my own – like learning more about myself for example or spending time re-learning the drums/piano.

          20. Change the perspective. If you start feeling lonely — Flip it and reverse it. Think of the blessings you’ve been given (I’m not religious, just the best wording I can think of). What’s the problem No friends to chill out with? Well, Do you have food to eat? There’s something to be thankful for. No significant other/ spouse? Do you have a roof over your Head and somewhere to sleep? There’s something to be thankful for. No family at the holidays do you have employment? There’s something to be thankful for.

          The way I see it, (and this is definitely not in meant to minimize the hardships of others in any way) is that when I’m feeling lonely, it’s because I don’t have bigger problems at the moment, and I am grateful that I don’t.

          21. Multiplayer video games help a lot. Get paired with some randos and strike up a conversation. Play well enough and they’ll want to group.

          22. ANIME: now you might think this is stupid and I’m just turning you into a weeb but for me, finding out the existence of anime help me a lot. I have friends but none of them are really close to me so we never hang out. Sometime I would feel like I’m being ignored or left out(maybe my fault I don’t know). But when you find something you love that does not need friends to enjoy it, then you’ll no longer feel the loneliness. Sometime you even want to be lonely.

          23. Volunteering!

          24. Be as busy as possible. Watch twitch streamers to “hangout” with them and chat. Play video games. Do something active. Go mountain biking or hiking.

          25. I comfort myself by thinking that I’m not alone in my loneliness, and that I might meet people who are lonely too, and we won’t be lonely together.

          26. I tend to clean and turn up some music.

          27. I make a conscious effort to do things that make me happy. It’s surprisingly easy to just put it off.

          28. Meditate.

          29. I just accept it for now. I avoid things that can trigger it too.

          30. I realize that Star Wars does such a great job of capturing my imagination that it makes me forget about it as I get absorbed in a new world and problems that are different from my own.

          31. I’ve picked up playing D&D with groups online. It really helps. Gives me something social to look forward to at a regular time during the week, and people to talk to about it in between sessions.

          32. I got a dog. 11/10 times would recommend a pet.

          33. You are never alone if you love yourself.

          34. Lots of porn…

          35. You handle loneliness with sports, music, sleep, books, games, learning, cooking. You could find meaning in so many things in life, instead you chose to be alone and miserable. Loneliness is a choice.

          36. Sometimes when I’m alone I talk to myself. Helps me think a bit better and makes me feel less empty.

          37. Dog. Gym. Dog park. Books. More gym. Run. Run with dog. Work 40 hours a week.

          When I was single I was reading a book a week. Gym, dog and reading really helps.

          38. I work a lot. Try to travel some. Do stuff for other people. LOTS of internet.

          39. When one pad starts sinking you jump to another. Make lots of friends and you will never run out of lily pads.

          Always go out one day of the week with a friend/friends.

          Find a hobby or activity that involves people.

          40. If you are talking in terms of being alone, being at peace in your own company is a valuable “skill” to learn. You need to first accept internally that there is nothing wrong with being alone. If you are having trouble connecting with people or socializing and feel lonely because of this, try going on discord or some other voice chat enabled software and practice, get good enough to where you feel confident in face to face.

          41. I like being alone. More time for myself. Might be selfish, but I need it at the moment.

          42. I worked from 7am to 8pm today. Kept working through my lunch hour, just listened to music and worked on cars. Probably gonna do that tomorrow too. I do that quite a bit. On weekends I buy and work on cars then sell them.

          It’s also how I work through stress among other things.

          43. I think about how complicated it actually is to hang out with other people. How hard it is to come up with interesting things to say or do or talk about all the time.

          That works. All the time.

          44. Keep yourself occupied, hobbles, exercise, work if need be.

          If in the budget and have the time for it: a cat or dog. Sometimes can help build self worth

          45. I got anti depressants, and now its not so bad….i feel better about everything and so the need to fill that hole is no longer there. Honestly, its just not a good time for a girlfriend anyways.

          46. I plug my guitar and make some noise!

          47. Watch a horror movie before going to sleep. I’m definitely won’t be alone during that time.

          48. By messaging friends, but that doesn’t compete with physical presence.

          49. I suppose I deal with it by distracting myself with hobbies and whatnot, keep my mind off it, you know?

          50. I used to listen to the same podcasts everyday to the point where I felt like I was chatting with my friends. I slept with headphones on, listening to the same shows over and over just so I could hear another voice in the room.

          Image Credit: God & Man

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          50 Fun, Cheap Dates (That Arent Netflix)


          Cataloged in Romance / Dating

          50 Fun, Cheap Dates (That Aren’t Netflix)

          Author Chrissy Stockton shares with us 50 cheap date ideas.

          1. Cheer on an amateur sports team in your city. It’s just as fun as supporting a Real Team but tickets are dirt cheap. My city’s non-pro baseball team has a few dates during the summer where tickets are $5 and they have $1 beers all night. Also, until we got a new baseball stadium whenever there was a home game on a Wednesday you could get in for $3 with a student ID (mine didn’t include a date so no one knew I graduated ~3 years ago).

          2. Make a fire outside. This is free and hands down, the best date ever.

          3. Go through this list of questions and answer them all, back and forth. Or, use it as part of a game of truth or dare.

          4. Bowling is always a fun night out, and if you go during the week you can find somewhere to do it super cheap. The bar near my house has free bowling for ladies on Tuesdays and dudes can play for a reduced price ($5) too.

          5. Lots of cities are getting cheap and easy bikes you can rent around town and return at any number of vending locations. This is a great way to see your neighborhood differently.

          6. Go to a park where you can feed the ducks.

          7. Go to a local park and rent a canoe or paddleboards. This will be just $10-20 each at most places and beats the hell out of movie.

          8. Play a Monopoly game through until someone wins. Play music (not TV) in the background. You’ll have fun conversations and learn a lot about your partner’s business sense while doing it.

          9. Go to a flea market or hit some thrift stores. You don’t have to buy anything, it’s fun to look around at antiques and nostalgic products from the 90’s.


          10. If you do find things at the flea market/thrift store, you can fix them up together. I used a version of this tutorial to turn a junky 80’s coffee table into a beautiful beachy one, and it was a simple, fun project to do with another person.

          11. Hike anywhere nearby with a great view.

          12. Look up the events calendar of your local paper, there’s tons of free events like art shows, block parties, and festivals that you can go to together.

          13. My go-to cheap date is to grab some food from my apartment and walk to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and walk around/hang out on the grass. This works with a community garden or a regular park as well.

          14. Take a community education class together.

          15. Learn how to cook and spend time together at one of your homes making nice dinners and eating them over candlelight.

          16. Go to the beach.

          17. Volunteer at the Humane Society together and play with dogs that need extra love.

          18. This is not necessarily a cheap date, but a very cheap weekend away: my DNR rents cabins in state parks for just $50 a night and they are new on the inside and have real beds, a table, and a fire pit outside.


          19. Go for a walk downtown together on a Friday or Saturday night. There’s so much insane people watching as people get drunk and run around, you’ll have a ton to laugh about and Watching all the crazies will bring you closer together.

          20. On the first windy day of spring go buy the $4 kids kites from the grocery store and fly them in the park.

          21. If you live somewhere without light pollution, sit outside and try to identify as many constellations as you can. There’s some handy apps for this, or you can just try from memory and be creative.

          22. Build a fort and then make out inside it.

          23. Join a rec league and play on the same team together.

          24. Find a coffeehouse that has live music and go there for a night. Even if you have two drinks each coffee is inexpensive and you’ll have paid less than $10 each for a whole night’s activity.

          25. Go on a ghost hunt. Here’s a good how to.

          26. The gold standard of a cheap date: mini golf. It’s a fun outdoor activity that takes awhile to complete and forces you to have conversation while giving you something to talk about the entire time. If either of you is actually into golf, the driving range can be just as fun, but slightly more athletic.

          27. In the summer, get some ice cream and go for a walk through a fun neighborhood.

          28. Ice skating. Outdoor rinks in the winter are so romantic and beautiful. There’s a weird amount of privacy despite being around other people, so you can have good conversations without being forced into it. Tip: if you don’t skate a lot find a rink where you can rent skates for a few bucks, even if you have them. Skates that are worn a lot are a lot “softer” and your feet won’t hurt right away like they will with skates you haven’t worn in a year.

          29. Find out the free or reduced-price days to go to your local planetarium or museum.


          30. Learn to play pool if you don’t already know how. You can go to any bar and spend the whole night for very little money. You can get competitive and play each other or make friends by playing as a team against other couples.

          31. If you don’t like coffee, try a juice press shop.

          32. If you’re an extroverted couple: karaoke. If you’re not: watching other people karaoke.

          33. Go to and search for the area you live in. You’ll get a list of local farms where you can pick your own produce. Spend the day filling a bucket up with strawberries and then go home and make strawberry shortcake and/or jam.

          34. Most communities have some form of “movies in the park” going on in the summer months. It’s usually a free activity where they play movies in a local park on a giant screen. Just pack a blanket (and hey, maybe a secret bottle of wine) and the whole night is set.

          35. If either of you is interested in photography, spend the day walking around a nearby town or city, trading the camera back and forth and see who comes out with the best shots.

          36. Make and bottle a batch of salsa together. Figure out who likes it spicy and who likes it with corn added. Come up with a name for it.

          37. Go to a nature center on a day when they are doing some kind of guided tour. It can be interesting to learn the names of your local trees and plants that you’ve seen forever but known nothing about.

          38. Buy the ingredients for you to both make variations of the same dish and have a cooking competition.

          39. Buy two lottery tickets. Get a laptop out and dream up a bucket list of places you’ll visit and things you’ll do when you win.

          40. Go tubing down a lazy river in the summer.

          41. Go to bingo night somewhere. You’ll make tons of weird friends. Bingo people are a lot feistier and more interesting than you’d imagine.

          42. Strip chess.

          43. Internet comedy: spend a cozy night in watching funny YouTube videos and laughing your asses off. Here’s a good place to start.

          44. Google how to give a great massage and take turns perfecting your techniques.

          45. Go through each others phones or computers and share pictures of memorable trips or events from your life. Tell stories about what is important to you.

          46. Take up tennis — it’s free after you both have racquets and you get to spend time outside together.


          47. Indulge in a seasonal activity: pumpkin carving, making hot chocolate from scratch, grilling outside, etc.

          48. Wait for a night that has nice weather and go somewhere where you can see the city lights/skyline and just chill out. This could be from a scenic overlook in your car or just heading up to the roof of your apartment building.

          49. Buy a few different cheeses, some grapes, and some three-buck Chuck and have a mini wine and cheese party at home, just the two of you.

          50. Go on a tour of a local brewery or winery. Not only are they free and interesting, but usually you end the tour with a bunch of free samples.

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          Jersey Shore Family Vacation Finale Recap Betches

          Hello all, it is officially our LAST Jerzday for a while because it is the Jersey Shore Family Vacation FINALE. This season has gone on so long, I can’t even believe it. What did I used to do on Thursdays? Did I have hopes, dreams perhaps? Did I have friends? I will find out next week when I’m no longer enslaved to MTV.

          I wonder if this season has gone on so long because pretty much nothing interesting has happened. We open this episode in the middle of a crazy-ass fight between that one Fat Shamer guy that told Ronnie he has more money than him and his stripper girlfriend who hates Angelina. It’s like producers were like, “Oh finally, something happened! We can end the show now!”

          Angelina is trying to attack the other girl, Jenni threw a drink on her, there is screaming, chairs being thrown, pregnant Deena ran away, it is total chaos. The stripper and the guy are outside of the bar after security moved them out and the girl starts attacking the guy! Ronnie is like, “oh I totally would have punched him, oh well,” as the guy’s own gf punched him in the face.

          Ron: She had a great right hook!

          Snooki is so pleased with herself, she’s like stuffing her face with chips and is like, “We can still throw down, don’t f*ck with us.” Pretty sure she hid behind Jenni for the whole fight but okay. Ronnie is also patting himself on the back for doing nothing, in fact he compares himself to Moses.

          Ron: Yeah, everyone just followed me outside.
          Snooki: Didn’t Moses break the water?
          Ron: I’m very religious.
          Angelina: Moses had all the animals on the boat.
          Ron: That was Noah.
          Angelina: Nicole, Moses wasn’t the one with the animals, he’s the one with the-
          Snooki: That’s Adam and Eve.
          Ron: Moses parted the Red Sea, but I’m 95% sure that Jesus came first. Well Adam and Eve came, then Jesus-
          Snooki: I love Jesus.

          This has been Bible Study, Jerzday edition. I just lost a few brain cells. Vinny has had enough. It’s 4am and the Spiral Squad has irritated him to the point of getting out of bed.

          Angelina: Adam and Eve banged to make more people, then Moses parted the sea, so Noah built the ark for animals, and Jesus rode on the boat.

          Oh my God, you think this can’t get any dumber, but this is when Snooki informs Ang that Jesus flew in. Probably on Spirit Airlines, according to Ron. Oh hey, I just got that. Angelina is now describing how she loves to use the bathroom on airplanes and she’s pretty sure that her, um, excrement, flies off the plane and hits pedestrians in the face. I swear to God, I’m getting dumber watching this show. RIP to my last two brain cells. It’s been nice knowing ya.

          “The gang is going to some kind of blood foundation fundraiser thing with Deena and her family since her dad died of leukemia. They’re all like, “what a perfect end to our trip,” and I’m over here like, “huh that sounds super f*cking boring to watch.” I’m all for charity but like, they could have done this on their own time. I want to watch them get hammered and fight—that’s all I expect from these people.

          They’re all talking about who’s coming to the charity event and it leads to how Angelina’s sex life is garbage, which naturally leads to chanting “Angelina Hasn’t Gotten Plowed In A Long Time” in a cult-like fashion. This causes Vinny to get all riled up and he jumps on top of Angelina and begins to hump her. Wtf, Vinny, this might be why she thinks you want to f*ck her. Someone hose him off! He’s like one of my mom’s Yorkies. Calm yourself, man!

          Ang is concerned the roommates will sing their fun new song to Chris (aka Thumb Thumb), but like, maybe don’t sh*t on your sex life to other people (and hi, on TV) if you don’t want it to get back to him?

          Ronnie gets on his phone and rushes outside. What happened now? Who did Jen f*ck? Oh sh*t, Jen was robbed. I also learned via subtitles saying that Jen is on the phone that Jen is really “Jenn”. Of course that’s how she spells it. Okay, sorry, I won’t make fun of her rn, she was robbed!

          Some guy came in through the back door while she and the baby were home and ransacked the place. That is soooo scary. This is why people need dogs. Well like, one of a million reasons. It’s like, reason one: cute, reason two: cuddly, reason three: break-ins.

          Pauly thinks Jen, sorry, JENN is lying to talk to Ronnie. Jenn is staying in the house despite the break-in and Ron is like, “that makes no sense,” which fair point. Then Ron says that Jenn found a bag of bullets in the backyard? Ooookay, that is sounding pretty fake. Why would the robber just leave those? Also don’t most robbers watch the house first? Like, they know if someone is home. I watch a lot of true crime, I’m basically an expert here. So we have to ask ourselves: is Jenn that crazy? And you know what? She totally is!

          Mike: I’m befuddled if that’s a word.

          It’s totally a word. I’m mildly impressed he knows that. Okay wait. Here’s the tea. So Jenn moved out of Ronnie’s house. Then a DAY LATER she gets robbed at her house. The robber left a box of bullets on the Jacuzzi. Is he the worst robber ever? This house has been abandoned for months, and now is the time to rob it, when they’re clearly back living in it? So Ronnie told Jen to please go back to his house so she’s *safe*.

          Vinny is like, “I don’t want to be insensitive, but it sounds weird,” and Pauly shuts that down and is like, “none of this sh*t happened, it’s a big fat lie, Jenn’s a lying liar.” And Vin is all, “oh cool, I didn’t have to say it.” And Pauly’s like, “no robber would leave a box of bullets, like I rob houses for a living.” The girls want to know what was taken. Apparently all that is stolen is a phone and a laptop. To which they’re like, “why would anyone break into a house to steal a phone?” Solid point. Also phones can be tracked.

          The guys think this is so on brand for Jenn that they can’t even react seriously about it and are more concerned with whether Ron wants to come with them for a haircut. This doesn’t even make the list of Jenn’s Greatest Hits, which according to the guys, are as follows:

          • dragging Ron with a car
          • smashing the TVs with a golf club
          • slapping and spitting on Ron on TV

          The girls think it either is a complete lie or she had one of her friends do it. It’s only a matter of time before Ron gets sucked back into this sham of a relationship.

          Vin: There was Taken 1. Then Taken 2. Then Taken 3. Now there is… Taken Ronnie.

          Ronnie thinks the robbers stole her phone so she couldn’t call for help… but that’s like, the only thing they took. Deena tells him his life is a bad movie, and Ron is like, “no, it’s a television show. “Then he breaks the fourth wall and looks directly into the camera. I don’t appreciate Ron looking at me, make him stop it. And Deena is like, “NO RON, it’s a BAD movie.”

          The guys go to lunch with Ron and try to tell him that this robbery is clearly a lie. Mike tells him it’s just very unlikely to have a home invasion and get run over by a car in the same month. I don’t know the stats on that, but I cannot believe this has only been a month in Jersey time. So we’ve seen like their every waking moment then for a month for this season? Pauly straight-up tells him that this a story “conjured up”. Ronnie is like, “Jenn wouldn’t do that.”

          Anyone who’s witnessed even 10 seconds of Jenn’s actions:


          Vinny: I dated this girl who had asthma and every time I tried to break up with her she’d give herself an asthma attack and send herself to the hospital.

          I feel personally attacked rn. Ronnie doesn’t think she’d make that up with the baby around, but I think that’s all the more reason she would do it. She’s holding it over him to really freak him out and make him obsess over her and the baby.

          Deena thinks if it was her, she would immediately fly home and make sure her kid is okay, which like, good point. But also this is Jenn’s plan! Like in normal circumstances, that is 100% what he should do, but she is doing this to get him to freak out and go home.

          They all get ready and go to the fundraiser. They arrange conga line style and Pauly orchestrates them with his megaphone to chant their Angelina song while they fist pump out the door. Except now it sounds like Angelina-Ain’t-Got-Pounded-Out-In-A-Long-Time. Is that what they were always saying? Did I accidentally correct their grammar in my head because my poor, fragile ears could not take it? Angelina is joyously chanting along, because “it’s true”.

          The back of Vin’s shirt says Keto Guido, which makes this maybe his 11th shirt that is Keto-related. Pauly’s says Prank War Champion. I can’t see anyone else’s yet. The event is for Be The Match and they encourage people to donate cash and sign up to see if they’re a possible donor for the database, which is pretty cool. Danny shows up and made all the shirts for the event. Everyone’s families show up. Ron’s giving away Won Won Juice. Then Ang’s fiancé shows up and Vinny gets super jealous and is all, “no it’s not awkward, everything’s cool,” and then decides to organize everyone to do the Angelina chant on stage in front of  said fiancé. That’s just cruel.

          Yeah Vin, you’re definitely not trying to ruin their relationship. Pauly starts DJ-ing.  Vin is hosting the live auction and gets everyone up on stage. Ron’s shirt says Spiral Squad. The first auction item: Touch Pauly D’s blowout. Some chick straightup pays $875 to touch his hair. Where do these thots get so much spending money?

          Next item: Take a shot with Snooki. Are they aware they can just hang around any bar in Jersey and do this for free? According to Snooks, she’s now a “floor-amplithist”. So many people bid on this that Snooki has to take like 9 shots which is 100% how she will die of alcohol poisoning. She’s a tiny thing, she weighs like 11 pounds. Vinny calls her a work of art (but when I take 9 shots in a row I’m “bordering on alcoholism”… ok). Snooks does it and raises $2,400.

          Jenni’s contribution is to dance with someone. She raises $840. Angelina has a trash bag race and gets $725. Ronnie arm wrestles for $900, Mike has a meatball eating contest for $1,200. Like wtf Mike, you could have paid your taxes if you knew this was what the people wanted.

          You might think that Vinny is so involved with raising money for a great cause that he forgets he’s a petty, petty bitch. You would be wrong. Because that’s when Vinny decides to broadcast via microphone to everyone that Angelina’s sex life sucks.

          Jenni: [Angelina] might as well go on to her fourth engagement because this isn’t going to last after that song.

          Vinny then coerces the crowd into a chant directly to Chris that ANGELINA-AIN’T-GOT-POUNDED-OUT-IN-A-LONG-TIME. Chris looks humiliated and Vinny is super pleased with himself. They raised $40,145, which is crazy but also awesome.

          They’re all like, everything is sunshine and rainbows, we’re ending on a high note, blah blah blah. This is boring af. And then it just ends. They finish the episode with “in memory of” Deena’s father and Vin’s uncle and it’s all just a bit too WHOLESOME for me. But like, good for you guys.

          And just like that we’re free of the horrors of the Jersey Shore for probably like three weeks before it starts again because MTV does not want us to be free. Let me know what you thought of this season in the comments, and if you’ll be back for season 3! Now if you need me I’m going to pound shots.

          Images: Giphy; MTV

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