Gord Downie is dying. All of Canada came out to say goodbye.

Confronting death with music, determination, and grace, too.

It’s hard to think of a band that embodies Canada more than The Tragically Hip.

They write about our small towns, about our strange little histories, about love and politics and nature and culture and everything in between. There are even two guys named Gordon — anecdotally agreed to be the most Canadian name — in the band.

They’ve played together for 33 years, released 16 albums, won more than a dozen awards and sold out stadiums in Canada year after year after year.


Outside of their home country, most people don’t know they exist.

The Tragically Hip, or as you might know them "Who?" Image via George Pimentel/Canada for Haiti via Getty Images.

There’s a popular theory that at least part of the reason for this is that whenever The Hip played shows in America, expat Canadians would buy up all the tickets. Maybe that’s true. Canadians share a lot of stuff with our southern neighbors — some of it we’re intermittently sorry about — but The Hip is ours.

So when Gord Downie — The Tragically Hip’s lead singer and Canada’s unofficial poet laureate — was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, Canadians were crushed.

But Downie knew exactly what he wanted to do with the time he had left.

For four weeks, he and his band toured across Canada. They played 15 shows, one every two days, traveling across the country from British Columbia to their hometown of Kingston, Ontario. It’s a place where, as Downie joked during the concert, they played their first three shows ever for audiences of 14, 28, and six people, respectively.

On Aug. 20, 2016, The Hip played their final show live for a stadium audience of 6,700 people — including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Image via Arthur Mola/Invision/AP.

Thousands filled the Kingston Town Square and other public viewing places across the country. Around laptops and TVs, Canadians gathered together to watch our national band play one last show — decades before we expected they ever would.

To give you a sense of how important this band is to Canada: An estimated 11.7 million people watched the concert on TV or via web live-stream. That's one-third of Canada's population.

So if you only know three people from Canada, one of them was watching The Tragically Hip on Aug. 20 — and the other two probably spent the next few days fielding questions about why they weren't.

Fans in Halifax, Canada, watch The Tragically Hip's final concert in a public square. Image via Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP.

The Tragically Hip's final show was nearly three hours long. They did three encores, something Downie acknowledged as a first for the band. "We’re in uncharted waters," he quipped, taking the stage for the fourth and final time. They played "Ahead by a Century," one of their most famous songs, one last time. Downie thanked Canada, then left the stage. Maybe forever.

As much as this concert was about the music, it was also about saying goodbye and the grief that comes with it.

In a year where music fans have said goodbye to the once-in-a-generation talents of David Bowie and Prince, it's hard to comprehend the loss of yet another important musician.

Like Gord Downie, David Bowie knew his end was coming. Bowie chose to die in private. His final album, "Blackstar," is a thoughtful goodbye albeit one that arrived only days before he passed. By the time fans started to comprehend its meaning, he was already gone.

Downie is doing the opposite, dying in full view of the millions of fans who love him. We are grieving this loss in real time, together, with all the rawness that comes with it.

How you choose to end your life — should you get that chance — is deeply personal.

Canada cannot keep Gord Downie forever. No matter how hard crowds clap for one more encore, the band cannot always play on.

But we can gather and sing and celebrate music that’s become part of our national story, and we can thank the man who made it and honor the contribution he and his music have made to the soundtrack of our lives.

So on that Saturday night, that’s what we did. Thank you, Gord, for everything.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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