She captivated millions with nothing but her guitar and an iconic voice.
While a catchy hook might make a song go viral, very few songs create such a unifying impact that they achieve timeless resonance. Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” is one of those songs.
So much courage and raw honesty is packed into the lyrics, only to be elevated by Chapman’s signature androgynous and soulful voice. Imagine being in the crowd and seeing her as a relatively unknown talent and hearing that song for the first time. Would you instantly recognize that you were witnessing a pivotal moment in musical history?
For concert goers at Wembley Stadium in the late 80s, this was the scenario.
The year was 1988. Seventy-two thousand people gathered—along with 600 million more watching along on their televisions—to see headliner Stevie Wonder as part of Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday tribute concert.
However, technical difficulties (or perhaps some divine timing) rendered Wonder unable to perform his act. Chapman had already played a three-song set earlier in the afternoon, and yet she agreed to step up to the microphone.
Armed with nothing but herself and a guitar, the shy and stoic Chapman captivated everyone to silence. And the rest is history.
Using just a simple story, “Fast Car” conveyed a million different themes—the challenges of class and poverty, seeking escape from a small town and yearning for freedom and new opportunity. It’s easy to see why some find the song heartbreaking, while others find it hopeful.
After the Mandela gig, the song became a worldwide hit, earning Chapman Grammy awards and shooting her to stardom. What’s more, she introduced a new wave of socially-conscious music filled with gentle, yet brutally truthful introspection. Since that fateful day, her name is forever synonymous with a quiet revolution. We are quite lucky to get to experience it so many years later.
The kids' staple was an afterthought.
It’s hard to imagine growing up in America without Tater Tots. They are one of the most popular kiddie foods, right up there with chicken nuggets, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and macaroni and cheese. The funny thing is the only reason Tater Tots exist is that their creators needed something to do with leftover food waste.
The Tater Tot is the brainchild of two Mormon brothers, F. Nephi and Golden Grigg, who started a factory on the Oregon-Idaho border that they appropriately named Ore-Ida. The brothers started the factory in 1951 after being convinced that frozen foods were the next big thing.
According to Eater, between 1945 and 1946, Americans bought 800 million pounds of frozen food.
The brothers soon became the country's top producers of frozen corn, but their cash cow was frozen french fries. The problem with french fries was that separating the part of the potato used for the fry from the rest of the scraps took a lot of work. But that was fixed after a door-to-door salesman sold them on using a prune sorter.
Ore-Ida founder Nephi Grigg.
via Mormon Wiki
Not wanting to waste all the leftover potatoes, the brothers fed the scraps to their cattle but had to stop when all the starch made the livestock too big. The brothers decided they could try to sell the potato scraps by pressing them into a new shape.
To make their new culinary creation, they chopped the potatoes into bits, extruded them into logs, blanched them and coated them in oil so they wouldn’t stick in the bag. The brothers held a contest among their employees and friends to create a name. The winning name, Tater Tots, was the idea of Clora Lay Orton, who took the slang name for potatoes and added an alliterative term referring to their size, and a staple of the American diet was born.
An Ore-Ida Tater Tots truck.
Tater Tots arrived in supermarkets in 1956, but they weren’t very popular initially because customers assumed they were worthless because of the low price. After Ore-Ida raised the price, the perceived value of the Tot rose and they were a hit. Initially, the brothers thought that people would fry Tater Tots in oil, but soon learned that they tasted just as good coming out of the oven.
Ore-Ida trademarked the name Tater Tots, so other companies sell them under another name, such as Tater Treats and Tater Puffs.
By 1964, Ore-Ida was making $31 million annually, but after complaints of nepotism within the company, the Grigg brothers sold it to Heinz for $30 million the following year.
These days, Tater Tots aren’t just for kids. They’ve become a popular dish in upscale restaurants, whether fancied up as Duck Poutine Tots at Sandpiper at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, Tuna & Tots at Cabra in Los Angeles, or as Kaluga Caviar and Tots at Ernest in San Francisco.
The Tater Tot was once an afterthought but has grown to be a food staple in the U.S. If there’s a lesson in the story, it goes to show that what some people may see as meaningless waste, others may see as an opportunity.
No, you're probably not losing your hearing.
It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.
So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.
They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.
But with today's technology, microphones are so small they can be strapped just about anywhere on an actor. This allows the actor to move about the set freely and speak at a normal volume without worrying that their words won't be picked up. So then why can't we hear them? Turns out it's super complicated…and also not.
"A lot of people will ask, 'Why don't you just turn the dialogue up?' Like, 'Just turn it up.' And...if only it were that simple," Kendrick said before explaining, "If you have your dialogue that's going to be at the same volume as an explosion that immediately follows it, the explosion is not going to feel as big. You need that contrast in volume in order to give your ear a sense of scale."
Sure, you may be thinking, well that kinda explains it, but why do the music and other cinematic noises sound like they're beating on your eardrum while the dialogue sounds like the actors are whispering every line? That doesn't seem very balanced. There's more to it, and again, it falls back onto technology.
In the video, they explain how our televisions are too thin to hold large speakers facing in the correct direction, and until this video, it didn't dawn on me that the speakers to my television are indeed in the back. No wonder we can't hear. The actors are quite literally talking to our walls.
And there's more. Check out the full explanation in the video:
In a viral Twitter thread, Dorsa Amir addresses the "extreme pressure put on parents in the West."
For every grain of sand on all the world’s beaches, for every star in the known universe…there is a piece well intentioned, but possibly stress-including parenting advice.
Whether it’s the astounding amount of hidden dangers that parents might be unwittingly exposing their child to, or the myriad ways they might be missing on maximizing every moment of interaction, the internet is teeming with so much information that it can be impossible for parents to feel like they’re doing enough to protect and nurture their kids.
“Not everything has to be ‘educational.’” wrote Amir. “It's truly completely okay (& indeed, good) for kids to play for the sake of play. They don't have to be learning the alphabet or animal noises. They can just do whatever silly thing they want to do. They are ALWAYS learning!.”
Amir also encouraged parents to remove the pressure to be constant teachers, offering the reminder that “direct instruction” is actually quite rare, and that kids are “extremely good” and learning through observation.
First: not everything has to be "educational". It's truly completely okay (& indeed, good) for kids to play for the sake of play. They don't have to be learning the alphabet or animal noises. They can just do whatever silly thing they want to do. They are ALWAYS learning! 2/— Dorsa Amir (@DorsaAmir) January 16, 2023
This hands-off approach can be good for parents who also might feel they should provide neverending entertainment. According to Amir, “kids should be allowed to experience boredom.”
“It's part of the human experience & it's okay if they're bored. You do not have to feel obligated to constantly entertain them or provide new activities for them. They should be allowed to generate their own activities & ideas,” she wrote.
Similarly, Amir stated that kids should experience arguments, disagreements, negative emotions and general conflict. Instead of “getting involved” to prevent these uncomfortable situations from happening, she suggests letting kids practice resolving and processing on their own.
More generally, negative emotions are not bad & it's good for kids to experience what they feel like & learn how to process them. A childhood that's entirely carefree & completely devoid of emotional challenges is NOT the goal. It's good to experience all of life's nuances. 7/— Dorsa Amir (@DorsaAmir) January 16, 2023
Amir then gave full on permission to simply be the “boring” parent. Not the “zany cartoonish friend.” Not the supplier of “600 toys.” Not someone whose schedule “revolves 100% around your child’s preferences.” In fact, she noted that kids actually enjoy “mimicking” adults, so it’s completely okay to have them do household chores, play with “adult-utilized” objects instead of dolls or action figures and do “adult-centered” activities like grocery shopping.
Ultimately, Amir’s goal was not to bash any particular way of parenting, but rather to encourage parents—especially confused first time parents—to give themselves a break. “There are a million different ways to be human and they’re all valid,” she wrote.
Please give yourself some patience & grace, especially if you're a first-time parent. Even with a literal PhD & over a decade of research experience on these topics, I still struggle to not let the pressure get to me. It's a LOT. So, I hope this has helped, just a tiny bit. 15/15— Dorsa Amir (@DorsaAmir) January 16, 2023
This anti-advice clearly struck a chord with parents who have felt indeed felt pressure.
“Loved this thread, thank you. I spend a lot of time worrying I’m a bad parent - are my kids spoilt? Are they sad? Am I overprotective? Is letting them walk alone to school dangerous? Have they eaten enough? Have they eaten too much Etc etc..,” wrote one person.
Another added: “Thanks for this!! The pressure in the US to be my toddler's entertainment 24/7 and to buy the best organic and educational everything marketed by influencers is absolutely bonkers.”
“Incredible thread. Those of us on the fence on becoming parents get overwhelmed with the frankly absurd expectations that modern parenting appears to require.…a post like this gives me hope!” commented one person, noting how intimidating these societal expectations could be for those who are still figuring out whether or not they want to start a family.
As Amir said—at the end of the day, we’re all human. Part of being human means making mistakes and allowing for imperfection. That goes for parents too.
You can check out the full thread here.
It's a red flag you can spot early in a relationship.
A psychologist who’s an expert in narcissism has released a telling video that reveals one of the red flags of the disorder, being an erratic driver.
"Most people, when they tell the story backwards of a narcissistic relationship, are able to see the red flags very clearly,” Dr. Ramani said in her video. “However, seeing them forwards isn't hard. But if you see them too late, it means you've already been through the narcissistic relationship, you're devastated and have likely wasted a lot of time."
Dr. Ramani Durvasula is a licensed clinical psychologist in Los Angeles, Professor Emerita of Psychology at California State University and author of several books, including “Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving A Relationship with a Narcissist.”
She describes dangerous drivers as those who weave through traffic, cut people off and aggressively flash their lights and honk their horns. They are “road-ragers” with “short fuses” who try to drive people off the road.
In the video, the psychologist explains that dangerous driving “encompasses everything that is narcissism.” Dangerous drivers lack empathy for other people's safety and are entitled, arrogant, impatient and validation-seeking.
"One word of advice: Do not ever engage with these drivers," she said. "When dysregulated, it's a very dangerous personality style."
Disclaimer:This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for clinical care.
Talk about acting quickly!
Holy cow, Bat Man! You're always supposed to be aware of other vehicles when you're driving but what do you do when you notice someone has lost consciousness while speeding down the highway?
It's a scenario that no one wants to see play out, but for Adolfo Molina, the scenario became reality and he didn't hesitate to spring into action. Molina was driving down the highway when he spotted a woman in a blue car who lost consciousness as her car careened down the shoulder of the highway. The concerned driver quickly pulled over in order to attempt to rescue the woman.
But there was a problem, he had to cross four lanes of traffic on the highway just to make it to the woman's still moving car. That obstacle didn't stop him. Molina sprinted across the highway, crossing right in front of a black pick up truck before running at full speed to attempt to open the woman's door and stop her car.
"I realized that the woman was unconscious and dizzy, colliding with the wall, with the window," Molina told NBC, "it was something like God protected me in that moment." The fact that he made it across four lanes of traffic and continued to run next to a speeding car without getting himself hurt is a miracle in itself. But the true feat was that with the assistance of another driver, Molina was able to get the car stopped.
The hero told NBC that he hopes to meet the woman he helped save one day. Molina was honored by his mayor and the Dominican Consulate in Boston for his heroic actions.
Watch the heart pounding video below: