A homophobic ad was placed next to a pizza shop. They messed with the wrong place.

Wiseguise Pizza didn't really want to be embroiled in the middle of a heated social debate. But, when it happened anyway, the pizza shop more than rose to the occasion, with a great sense of humor to boot.

After a polarizing political message appeared on a billboard adjacent to the restaurant in Mowbray, Tasmania, in Australia, the pizza shop could no longer ignore the elephant in the room — or, more specifically, the bigotry on the nearby street sign.


"IT'S OK TO SAY 'NO,'" read the billboard — a message encouraging Australians to vote against marriage equality, promoted by lobbyist group Coalition for Marriage.

Wiseguise Pizza couldn't let that stand — so they decided to have a little fun with it.

On Sept. 21, 2017, Fred Hooper of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation captured workers painting a response from the pizza shop on the white wall adjacent to the billboard.

Their message? It was simple, really.

"IT'S OK TO SAY 'NO,' ... TO PINEAPPLE ON PIZZA!" the updated message read, in a photo also snapped by Hooper.

"It's a huge debate at the moment, obviously," Wiseguise employee Ben Barwick told ABC, before quipping, "Everyone's talking about whether pineapple should be on pizza or not."

The store's managing director Alex Jones (no, not that Alex Jones) told ABC that Wiseguise wasn't explicitly taking a stance on the issue of marriage equality through its lighthearted commentary. But the far-reaching, lasting affect of the restaurant's actions shows just how heated the debate over same-sex marriage remains around the world; although the story unfolded last month, the photo landed a coveted front page spot on Reddit on Oct. 25.

It's no wonder the story's making waves. A critical vote is underway right now in Australia — and the outcome, which could legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, is far from certain.

A mail-in survey asking voters if the law should change so same-sex partners can marry has been open since Sept. 12 and will close on Nov. 7. Although the tally won't formally legalize same-sex marriage if "yes" votes win out, it will lead to a parliamentary debate and vote on the issue, which would likely (although not inevitably) end in favor of LGBTQ rights.

LGBTQ rights advocates have cause for concern. While public polling has consistently showed Australians are in favor of same-sex marriage, recent indicators show a tight race unfolding.

Photo by William West/AFP/Getty Images.

Proponents of same-sex marriage aren't worried about a surge in "no" voters, necessarily; they're far more worried about the prospect of the lazy "yes" voters: Australians (particularly younger Australians) who haven't mailed in their vote yet. Overconfidence in a "yes" victory could spell disaster.

“There is no room for complacency and no reason to think someone else's vote will win this," Equality Campaign Director Tiernan Brady explained to News.com.au. "We know there's an awful lot of young people that have either not voted yet or filled it in and not delivered it to the post box."

Young Aussies, say "no" to pineapple pizza and go vote "yes" for marriage equality. Too much is at stake to leave this one up to chance.

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

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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