Bert and Ernie are gay just like I've been telling you forever.

Let me tell you how I feel whenever I see my favorite people's names trending on Twitter: Conflicted.

You know the feel? You log on to see which blue verified checkmarks are mad at each other today and you see that someone you've loved since your childhood (or are very into right now) is blowing up social media.

You want to click, but it's like "what if another one of my childhood heroes is dead?" or worse "what if another one of my childhood heroes is a truly terrible person and I now have to come to terms with that?"


And then some days you log onto Twitter and both Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street are trending separately and you think "I hope they've finally come out of the closet and are living the best little lives they can considering they are puppets who live in a basement."

Well, good news: According to a Sesame Street writer, Bert and Ernie are (officially) gay!

That's not just something I made up as an excuse to call all my friends to say "I told you so" this morning.

Mark Saltzman, one of Sesame Street's former writers, told Queerty that the relationship between the bright yellow puppet who just wants to chill and the bright orange puppet who loves playing the trumpet in the middle of the night* has always been more than platonic.

Saltzman told the outlet that he wrote the characters around his relationship with his late partner, famed editor Arnold Glassman.

"I remember one time that a column from The San Francisco Chronicle, a preschooler in the city turned to mom and asked “are Bert & Ernie lovers?” And that, coming from a preschooler was fun," Saltzman said.

"And that got passed around, and everyone had their chuckle and went back to it. And I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were. I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them. The other thing was, more than one person referred to Arnie & I as “Bert & Ernie.”

Saltzman, who says he identified more with Ernie (even though he looks more like a Bert), added " I don’t think I’d know how else to write them, but as a loving couple."

Sesame Workshop's not on the same page, but what's the harm of letting Bert and Ernie be gay?

On Tuesday, the non-profit behind the show released a statement saying that Bert and Ernie have always been best friends.

While some praised the org for "clearing it up," others had important questions. Like why a gay relationship isn't appropriate for children to learn about. Or why we immediately have to reduce any romantic partnership to sex or "an agenda." After all, plenty of muppets have heterosexual significant others and no one bats an eye. (Why Bert and Ernie can't afford a two-bedroom is also a very good question.)

In a world where representation matters (a lot), it's important to remember that Bert and Ernie can teach kids more than one thing.

Of course, I'll also accept this very good take:

*That's how you know it wasn't just a "roommates" situation, by the way. I don't know about you, but no roommate I've ever had would hesitate to evict me if I played some kind of wind instrument at 3am. My husband on the other hand? He's got to put up with me.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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