CHRISTMAS MIRACLE: All He Wanted For Christmas Was To Not Be Shot
One of the most inspiring Christmas stories I've ever heard takes place between a German fighter ace and an American bomber pilot. Although the German was under strict orders to shoot down American planes, his humanity stayed his hand.
The sweet-faced, loveable Labrador Retriever is no longer America’s favorite dog breed. The breed best known for having a heart of gold has been replaced by the smaller, more urban-friendly French Bulldog.
According to the American Kennel Club, for the past 31 years, the Labrador Retriever was America’s favorite dog, but it was eclipsed in 2022 by the Frenchie. The rankings are based on nearly 716,500 dogs newly registered in 2022, of which about 1 in 7 were Frenchies. Around 108,000 French Bulldogs were recorded in the U.S. in 2022, surpassing Labrador Retrievers by over 21,000.
The French Bulldog’s popularity has grown exponentially over the past decade. They were the #14 most popular breed in 2012, and since then, registrations have gone up 1,000%, bringing them to the top of the breed popularity rankings.
The AKC says that the American Hairless Terrier, Gordon Setter, Italian Greyhound and Anatolian Shepherd Dog also grew in popularity between 2021 and 2022.
The French Bulldog was famous among America’s upper class around the turn of the 20th century but then fell out of favor. Their resurgence is partly based on several celebrities who have gone public with their Frenchie love. Leonardo DiCaprio, Megan Thee Stallion, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Reese Witherspoon and Lady Gaga all own French Bulldogs.
The breed earned a lot of attention as show dogs last year when a Frenchie named Winston took second place at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and first in the National Dog Show.
They’ve also become popular because of their unique look and personalities.
“They’re comical, friendly, loving little dogs,” French Bull Dog Club of America spokesperson Patty Sosa told the AP. She said they are city-friendly with modest grooming needs and “they offer a lot in a small package.”
They are also popular with people who live in apartments. According to the AKC, Frenchies don’t bark much and do not require a lot of outdoor exercise.
The French Bulldog stands out among other breeds because it looks like a miniature bulldog but has large, expressive bat-like ears that are its trademark feature. However, their popularity isn’t without controversy. “French bulldogs can be a polarizing topic,” veterinarian Dr. Carrie Stefaniak told the AP.
French Bulldogs have been bred to have abnormally large heads, which means that large litters usually need to be delivered by C-section, an expensive procedure that can be dangerous for the mother. They are also prone to multiple health problems, including skin, ear, and eye infections. Their flat face means they often suffer from respiratory problems and heat intolerance.
Frenchies are also more prone to spine deformations and nerve pain as they age.
Here are the AKC’s top ten most popular dog breeds for 2022.
Jason K. Pargin shares his controversial theory on lobster.
Novelist Jason K. Pargin has inspired an online food fight after his video about lobster received over 500,000 views on Tiktok and nearly 6 million on Twitter. Pargin believes that we’ve all been tricked into liking lobster and that people only like it because it’s considered high class.
Pargin is the author of the “John Dies at the End” and “Zoey Ashe” series and the former editor of Cracked.com.
"I don't think anyone actually enjoys eating lobster. I think they've just been convinced that it's a high-class food for a really specific reason,” Pargin says in his controversial video. He then describes how just a few centuries ago lobster was once used as prisoners' food and ground into fertilizer.
But after the food developed a reputation for being hard to transport from the coastal areas inland and that it spoils quickly after being cooked, it began to be seen as a delicacy.
"So because it was difficult to mess with and because it had to be shipped live inside the country, away from the coast, it became known that lobster was difficult to obtain," Pargin says in his video. "And because it's difficult to obtain, it had to be expensive, and because it was expensive, we decided it was good.”
"You were eating lobster not because you enjoyed it but because you wanted it to be known to all who were watching you that you could afford lobster," Pargin continues.
His final point was a real blow to those who only eat lobster if it’s drowned in butter. "You know what also tastes good when you dump it into a bucket of butter? Anything," Pargin says.
The viral video sparked a hot debate on Twitter, where it appears that most people disagreed with Pargin—especially those who live in the northeast and enjoy lobster no matter how it’s prepared. Many had a problem with Pargin framing the argument from the limited American perspective.
Lobster is eaten worldwide and has been enjoyed by countless cultures since the prehistoric era. People enjoy lobster in places where it’s affordable and where it’s considered a delicacy. So that kills his argument that we’ve been duped into enjoying lobster simply because it’s expensive.
But Pargin is entirely correct when he claims that we value things more when they are scarce. In psychology, the concept is known as the scarcity effect.
"Scarcity is a pervasive condition of human existence," Shahram Heshmat, Ph.D., writes in Psychology Today. "Everyday circumstances of limited resources (money and time) can make individuals experience a sense of scarcity. Scarcity functions like an obstacle to goal pursuit, which intensify the value of goal."
Here’s what people are saying about Pargin’s videos on Twitter.
Sorry, Jason, history goes way past the 1800s.
You should go back and tell the Roman Empire your theory of why they were tricked into thinking it was a luxury dish due to America in the 1800’s .
This is absolutely nonsense. I have literally eaten lobster meat plain by the fistful, dunking in all that butter is gross. Lobster is just like a super shrimp. I also regularly buy a pound of bay shrimp and eat them with a spoon out of a bowl.
Pargin’s argument makes sense. We value things harder to get, and anything dunked in butter tastes fantastic. But that doesn't cover the fact that people enjoy lobster around the globe, regardless of its perceived scarcity. In the end, the real winners of this debate are those who don’t like lobster. Right now, a pound of Maine lobster goes for up to $80 a pound. That’s an expensive night out at the local fish joint.
Dillon Helbig's 81-page graphic novel captured the hearts of his local librarians.
Writing a book is no easy task, even for adult professional writers. Many would-be authors dream of a day when their work can be found on library shelves, unsure if it will ever come.
But for 8-year-old Dillon Helbig, that day has already arrived—in truly unconventional fashion—thanks to his own determination to make it happen.
Dillon wrote his 81-page graphic novel, "The Adventures of Dillon Helbig's Crismis" (written by "Dillon His Self") in a hardcover journal with colored pencils over the course of a few days. He even put a label on the back of the book that reads "Made in Idho" [sic] and put an illustrated spine label on it as well. Then, without telling anyone, he brought it to his local library in Boise, Idaho, and slipped it in among the books in the children's section.
The library Facebook page shared that it had officially added the book to the collection at the branch, writing, "Imagine our surprise yesterday when Dillon's mom called to tell us that her son had authored an entire book, shelved it at the Lake Hazel Branch, then announced to his family later that he had written a book and it could be checked out at the library."
The library also announced that Dillon's book had won the first-ever Whoodini Award for Best Young Novelist—an award created in his honor.
Dillon told local news station KTVB that the book features him, his mom, Santa, a bomb, a portal and a giant carnivorous turkey. Because of course.
"I've been wanting to put a book in the library since I was five," Dillon told the station. Nearly half his life, in other words.
Dillon said there were a lot of librarians he had to sneak past with his book to surreptitiously put it on the shelf, but he did it.
"I'll always be sneaky, like how I get chocolate," he explained. Classic.
The adults on every front handled this kid's creativity and determination the best possible way. His mom called the library to let them know the book was there so it wouldn't get lost or taken. And rather than just returning the book, the librarians actually put it into circulation.
"His parents were worried we would find his book and we would get rid of it," Lake Hazel Branch Library manager Alex Hartman told KTVB. "Which was an unfounded fear because if there's ever a place a book would be safe, it would be here."
The librarians loved Dillon's book.
“It deserves a spot on our library shelves,” said Hartman. “It’s a good story.”
At the time of this local news report, the book had a handful of people in line to check it out. But The New York Times reports that as of the end of January, the waiting list has grown to a whopping 56 people. If each person kept the book for the maximum four-week checkout period it would take four years to get to the people at the bottom of the list.
The experience has made Dillon decide to become an author, his mom said, and he even has some career goals laid out.
“I’m going to stop writing when I’m 40,” Dillon said. After that, he will switch to game creation. In the meantime, he has a sequel to his first novel in the works.
“My next book is going to be called ‘The Jacket-Eating Closet,’" he said, "based on actual events.”
Amazing. Kudos to Dillon for following his dream and making it happen, kudos to his mom for encouraging him and kudos to the librarians who saw an opportunity to support a child's creativity and ran with it.
In a resurfaced video from the 1940s, Mary Stuyvesant, a Ponds beauty consultant, spoke to a group of high school girls about "how to be pretty." Surprisingly, the advice is rather timeless and not at all focused on becoming the best wife and mother you can be, but on learning to care for yourself. Stuyvesant refers to your physical appearance as icing on a cake and that good icing tastes nice but the cake is the most important part.
She goes on to explain to the girls that who they are as people is the cake and that's the part that needs the most attention.
It turns out teen girls in the 40s were similar to teen girls today, but instead of snapping their friends or scrolling TikTok, they were writing letters and listening to the radio.
"Sleep comes next to cleanliness as a beauty base, and I mean sleep. Not just go to bed if that means sitting up writing letters or listening to music," Stuyvesant lectures. She continues, "I've seen lots of sparkling eyes and good complexions sacrificed to swing records at bedtime."
At the end of the video a girl questions the advice, not fully understanding how not focusing on their physical appearance will make them prettier.
"Sometimes I could shake you girls when you worry so much about being pretty or not being pretty, as though prettiness were a woman's only attraction," Stuyvesant replied.
Minus the shaking part, the sentiment behind Stuyvesant's words are still true today. Focusing on properly taking care of yourself and making healthy choices is likely one of the best recipes for confidence in other areas of your life.
Weatherman rescues a chicken in a blizzard and now they're friends.
There's a little-known saying that every weatherman needs a chicken. OK, it's little known because I totally just made it up, but you have to admit, it's just random enough to make you wonder if you missed out on a weird colloquialism. But in this case, it may be a new saying because weatherman David Neal found a stray chicken while reporting on a blizzard, and they've somehow become best friends.
The chicken, now named Penelope, was running around in the snowstorm while Neal was filming, so he tried to catch her so he could make sure she was warm. Penelope had other plans and gave Neal a literal run for his money. Eventually, with the help of a bystander who was likely as confused as the chicken, Neal was able to get Penny in his arms.
Of course, he had some explaining to do once the cameras were rolling again, and he handled it like the pro he is, holding a live chicken.
"During my live shot, a chicken walked up to me in about seven inches of snow. So I picked the chicken up and we're really good friends now. So if you lost a chicken maybe you can give me a call," Neal reported during his segment.
No one called reporting a lost chicken, but Neal and his roommate, Sharon, were happy to add Penelope to their household. Neal said the chicken was skinny and obviously cold when he found her, but it didn't take long for the chicken to bond with the weatherman.
The duo does everything together, including fishing on a boat and a podcast where Neal talks about the weather, except now, he has a chicken on his shoulder giving him notes. Their relationship is so cute, you have to see it for yourself.
Taylor Swift "diving" below the stage of her Eras Tour concert
The highly anticipated, Ticketmaster-bustingTaylor Swift Eras Tour has officially begun. And it’s looking like the pop star is pulling out all the stops to deliver a heap of spectacle.
Case in point—a video from the “Anti-Hero” pop star's kick-off concert that’s making quite the splash online.
In a mesmerizing blend of live performance and hologram wizardry, audiences saw Swift, clad in a flowy red dress, dive into a pool built into the stage. She then swam across to emerge through waves in a shimmery jumpsuit, just before climbing a ladder and disappearing into a cloud.
Basically, it was like a romantic fairy tale brought to life.
Fans went absolutely wild after seeing the clip on Youtube. The Eras Tour promised an epic 44-song show, and people seemed to agree that Swift made good on her promise.
“This was not just a concert it's a FAIRYLAND A DREAMLAND IT'S WONDERLAND,” one person gushed.
Another added, “When you combine IMAX screen, musical concert, and broadway level of storytelling, you got the greatest, most ambitious concert of all time.”
Even non-Swifties were impressed.
“I’m not gonna lie…I’ve never been the biggest Taylor Swift fan BHHHHUT, I have to say- this is one hell of a stage set up,” commented one person.
“Wow! I’ve never been to a Taylor Swift concert, never been interested.. but now I think I need to go! That was mind blowing!!” another seconded.
You don’t have to listen to Swift’s music to appreciate the amount of joy she brings to others. We all want to escape into the wonderful and whimsical from time to time. Bless the artists who give us that.