Metal band Gwar is not usually associated with thoughtful social commentary.

Unless you're already a Gwar fan, you probably think of the band as "that crazy group with the freaky costumes and elaborately vulgar stage shows."

Actually, even if you are a Gwar fan, you probably think of them that way.


Gwar. I think. Photo by Roger Kisby/Getty Images.

For the uninitiated, Gwar is a performance-art-slash-metal band whose vulgar stage show and elaborate fictional mythology function as a kind of absurdist caricature of everything ever. Literally. There is nothing safe from their satire (or the bodily fluids that spray from the stage).

So you might be surprised to learn that the lead singer of Gwar recently gave a TEDx Talk.

And it's really good.

Dr. Michael Bishop, who gave the talk, currently plays the role of Gwar's lead singer, the berserker Blothar (or, as he puts it, he is the "human slave" of Blothar). More importantly, he has a Ph.D. in music from the University of Richmond, with a particular interest in ethnomusicology (basically, the cultural and social context around music).

He's a pretty smart guy.

The talk is about the intersections of regional identity, economics, slavery, and creativity — and how it all relates to Gwar. And i f you're confused by that sentence, just imagine how I felt while typing it.

As Dr. Bishop explains, a surprising amount of careful, conscious commentary went into the construction of the Gwar mythology:


GIFs via TEDx.

Basically, Dr. Bishop (aka Blothar, formerly known as Beefcake the Mighty), presents an argument that a band like Gwar only exists because of Richmond, Virginia's troubled history.

While Gwar's brand of creative output certainly reflects Richmond's violent history, there's one major difference: Gwar is fictional and has never actually enslaved or killed any real people.

Being from Richmond, the members of Gwar couldn't avoid the death, destruction, and poverty that surrounded their hometown. So they found another way to channel that negative energy and turn it into something productive. And given that a recent study showed that metal fans grew up to be more well-adjusted than many of their peers, Gwar just might be on to something.

Watch the full TEDx Talk — it is a glorious, glorious testament to the late Oderus Urungus:

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Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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All photos from Pilllsbury used with permission

Pillsbury is partnering with non profit, Operation Homefront, to provide housing for veterans

True

It’s the dream of many veterans: a safe and swift return to the security of home – to a place where time can be spent with family while becoming part of a community and creating new memories. With the partnership of non-profit Operation Homefront, Pillsbury is helping give military families the opportunity to do just that.

For many of our American soldiers, the dream of making a comfortable return to civilian life is often dashed by harsh realities. Pew Research Center reports that 44% of veterans who have served since Sept 11, 2001 noted having a difficult time re-adjusting. From re-entering into the workforce to finding healthcare services, returning to civilian life can be a harrowing transition. While serving in the military is incredibly stressful, it also provides routine, structure and purpose that is not easily replicated in civilian life. Couple this with a lack of helpful resources for veterans, and the hope for a brighter future can be easily derailed.


However, some companies and organizations are stepping in to show support and provide resources. Operation Homefront, an organization dedicated to helping military families transition back to civilian life, launched its Transitional Homes for Veterans (THV) Program in 2018. The program places veteran families in safe, secure, rent-free single-family homes for a period of two-to-three years while providing financial coaching and training to reduce debt, increase savings, and prepare for independent home ownership. Since the THV’s inception, Operation Homefront has defrayed more than $500K in mortgage costs to military families.

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TikTok about '80s childhood is a total Gen X flashback.

As a Gen X parent, it's weird to try to describe my childhood to my kids. We're the generation that didn't grow up with the internet or cell phones, yet are raising kids who have never known a world without them. That difference alone is enough to make our 1980s childhoods feel like a completely different planet, but there are other differences too that often get overlooked.

How do you explain the transition from the brown and orange aesthetic of the '70s to the dusty rose and forest green carpeting of the '80s if you didn't experience it? When I tell my kids there were smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes and ashtrays everywhere, they look horrified (and rightfully so—what were we thinking?!). The fact that we went places with our friends with no quick way to get ahold of our parents? Unbelievable.

One day I described the process of listening to the radio, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it on my tape recorder, and how mad I would get when the deejay talked through the intro of the song until the lyrics started. My Spotify-spoiled kids didn't even understand half of the words I said.

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