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T (1648 posts)
Given the importance of catching HIV early to get the care necessary to prevent it from becoming AIDS (and to prevent passing it along), I was glad to see the volunteers. Getting tested for something as serious as HIV can be intimidating, and—as many of us know from experience—it can be easy to put off. By approaching all passersby and urging them to take responsibility for their health, these volunteers made HIV tests seem like another ordinary, responsible habit for conscientious adults.
The Black Women's Health Imperative is also trying to get people talking openly about HIV. In honor of National HIV Testing Day, the BWHI's Elevate campaign has organized a "blog-a-thon" to "elevate the conversation about black women and HIV." They've asked popular African-American female bloggers to weigh in on the topic. We especially enjoyed this music video featuring a Lil Wayne look-alike (complete with grill and Auto-Tune). It addresses the elevated HIV risks of the African-American population while cheerfully spreading the catchy message that women and men of all ethnicities should get tested. You'll be humming this tune all the way home...or to a testing center in your area.
Chanel's chic nail polishes generate waiting lists a mile long, and we have a feeling that this intoxicating new shade will be no exception. Since it's named after one of our favorite brunchtime cocktails, we think this is the perfect shade to be wearing at all your lazy Sunday morning meals (and the best way to cure today's 3 o'clock slump).
Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Mimosa, $25 (Chanel.com)
Every Monday, we're rounding up things—small and big—that made us stop and think. Today, we were captivated by a gospel singer's defense of love songs, a comedian's advice to his TV daughter, a therapist coming forward to talk about her personal struggles and more...
* Kim Burrell, influential younger gospel singer, responds to criticism over her new "crossover" album that includes covers of nongospel love songs:
"What is our common ground of love outside of the four walls of the church? What is our conversation of love with people that are not of our fold? ... That's what The Love Album is about."
* Marsha M. Linehan, the therapist and psychology professor who created a now widely used treatment for severely suicidal patients, publicly acknowledges her own mental illness for the first time:
"I honestly didn't realize at the time that I was dealing with myself. ... But I suppose it's true that I developed a therapy that provides the things I needed for so many years and never got."
* Comedian Louis C.K. in the season premiere of Louie breaks down the rules of fairness to his younger daughter:
"The only time you look into your neighbor's bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don't look into your neighbor's bowl to make sure you have as much as them."
* New York State Senator Roy McDonald, the second Republican to support the newly passed marriage equality bill (after previously expressing opposition), explains his change of heart to reporters:
"You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn't black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing. ... I'm trying to do the right thing."
* Beyoncé on the value of female friendships:
"I grew up around women; I believe that we can teach each other so much. I'm always thinking about how unselfish we are and the things we need to hear and how much pressure there is being a woman."
This morning, MSNBC's The Body Odd posted a story on whether you can die from laughter. (Spoiler: You can in cases of intense overexcitement, plus you can also black out from "overbreathing.")
But I prefer to think about the upside of cracking up. Laughter can lower your heart rate and blood pressure as well as reduce the constriction in your blood vessels. It can also help with your mental health. The problem is, we don't do it enough.
Enter psychologist Dr. Steve Wilson, founder of the World Laughter Tour, who trains nurses, doctors, social workers and lay people to run group therapy laughter circles. "Like music, art and certain physical movements," says Wilson, "laughter can help you work through emotional issues or simply help you feel better. But sometimes in life, we're told that our laughter is too loud, or too snorty. We're told to stop doing it. And we do.""
Surprisingly, he doesn't use jokes to help clients refind their inner laugh. Jokes can make the listener feel obligated to respond. "Fake crying doesn't help anybody," he says. "Why should fake laughter?"
Wilson, who formerly worked with celebrated laughter yoga guru Dr. Madan Kataria, uses a series of exercises designed to make you chortle, chuckle and just plain giggle like a fool. For example, there's the Hawaiian Handshake, where you say a rolling "aloha-a-a-a" which turns into a "ha ha" burst of laughter. Or there's the Burning Hot Sand, during which you imagine you're tiptoeing across boiling sand (ah, oo, oo, ah) ending in an ah-ha-ha. Over the phone, he demonstrated the Roller Coaster, ending in a long, sputtering round of ho-ho-hos. It wasn't funny. But I laughed. I couldn't stop, in fact.
"All humans are born to laugh," he claims. "Look at a baby. He lies in his crib, laughing at nothing. He's doesn't even have a sense of humor yet."
Groups, though, are the most effective way to get the laughter rolling. Accordingly, Wilson has been asked to run his workshops at weddings and bar mitzvahs, to bring family members together. I am considering inviting him to my mother's Fourth of July barbecue, sometime before Mom gives my kids their third red-white-and-blue Popsicle for breakfast but after my husband tries to grill on her tiny, toppling, coal grill from the '70s which requires an entire bottle of mind-numbing lighter fluid to produce sufficient flames for one very black hot dog.
It's Friday afternoon. That means it's gratitude journal time. Thank you, thank you, thank you for...
Suryia the orangutan and Roscoe the bluetick hound, who wrote a book together and held their very own book signing (via The Washington Post)
Kids acting like kids, even when (or especially because) it involves playing dress-up
The 90-year-old woman who started online dating, met an 82-year-old man, and, dear reader, she married him
The possibility of an everlasting laptop battery. One that would be powered by typing?
When that day comes, we will blog like the wind. Until then...what's on your list of things to be happy about?
[After the jump, learn more about the diet drawbacks of "sensible snacking."]
Men! What are they thinking? We can't always answer that, but we'll be posting our favorite glimpses into their world in this space every Thursday.
* "Bank shots took the form of therapy. I was angry about my dad dying—even if I didn't show it—and I needed to hurl the ball against the backboard. But I was in a tender enough emotional state that I needed to be good at something too. The fiberglass backboard came through on both counts." — Bryan Curtis, from his moving essay "The Fiberglass Backboard" for Grantland
* Del Monte turned former Baywatch star David Hasselhoff into a Hoffsicle to celebrate National Ice Cream Week. Watch a ridiculous (and hilarious) video of him posing with the summer treat—which, naturally, is sporting a Knight Rider jacket. (Via Foodiggity)
* As H&H, the beloved Manhattan bagel institution, closed its doors, Thomas Beller looked back on his time working there: "I could feel myself falling, gleefully falling in H&H bagels, into its reality, the beautiful, sensuous, arduous world of bagel making." ("Portrait of the Bagel as a Young Man," from How to Be a Man)
* If Bad Teacher stars Justin Timberlake and Jason Segel could be real teachers, what class would they choose? Whatever it would be, we know we'd take it. (Via MTV)