How One Special Lady Overcame An Entire Country's Homophobia
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The American Kennel Club has crowned a new favorite.
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 The breed best known for having a heart of gold has been replaced by the smaller, more urban-friendly French Bulldog.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.
The breed made national news in early 2021 when Gaga’s dog walker was shot in the chest while walking two of her Frenchies in a dog heist. He recovered from his injuries, and the dogs were later returned.
The French Bulldog's complicated past took them from brothels (yes) to royals.— American Kennel Club (@akcdoglovers) March 16, 2023
Listen to their full history and more in the Uniquely Urban podcast episode of Down & Back: https://t.co/Jx2jPNCVMbpic.twitter.com/wBQd9fsRlt
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.
An adorable French Bulldog
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.
1 French Bulldogs
2 Labrador Retrievers
3 Golden Retrievers
4 German Shepherd Dogs
10 German Shorthaired Pointers
We deserve control over our personal information.
In the internet era, the idea of personal privacy is all but a myth. With a few keystrokes just about anyone can get your home address, phone number, email, age and the names of your family members. The fact that this information is readily available puts us all in the dangerous position of being the victim of fraud, stalking and violence.
What makes the situation even worse is that our information was put online without any of our consent.
The good news is that Google just made a big change that gives us all a little more control over our personal information. On April 27, the company announced it will allow anyone to request removals of their personal information from its Search feature.
“Open access to information is a key goal of Search, but so is empowering people with the tools they need to protect themselves and keep their sensitive, personally identifiable information private. That’s why we’re updating our policies to help people take more control of their online presence in Search,” Michelle Chang, Google’s Global Policy Lead for Search, announced on the company’s blog.
"[T]he internet is always evolving—with information popping up in unexpected places and being used in new ways—so our policies and protections need to evolve, too," Chang continued.
The new policy also allows people to request the removal of personal information in Search that could be used for financial fraud such as log-in credentials or account numbers.
Here\u2019s how you can remove your phone number, email and other personal information from Google search results.https://cnet.co/3y6utEa— CNET (@CNET) 1651505346
Although Google’s new policy is a step in the right direction, it doesn’t cure the problem altogether. "It's important to remember that removing content from Google Search won't remove it from the internet, which is why you may wish to contact the hosting site directly, if you're comfortable doing so," Chang said.
Do you have any personal information that pops up in Google Search that you’d like to have removed? Visit the topic’s support page, scroll down and click the “Start removal request” link. As you follow the prompts you will be able to specify the personal information that shows up in Search and will be asked to share a list of relevant search terms, such as your full name, maiden name and nickname. You’ll also be able to share supplemental details before submitting the request.
After your request is submitted, you should receive an email from Google confirming the request was received. It’s unclear how long the removal process will take.
Google’s new policy changes come during a surge in online fraud. The Federal Trade Commission reported that consumers lost $5.8 billion to scammers in 2021, a jump of 70% from the previous year.
A big portion of fraud is committed through online scams as well as identity theft and telephone solicitations.
In an attempt to give the FTC more power to fight back against fraud, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, chair of the Commerce Committee, will introduce legislation this week to make it easier for the Committee to sue deceptive companies and scammers.
“If the FTC remains disarmed of this critical authority, millions of consumers and small businesses who’ve been scammed, swindled, or locked out of competitive marketplaces will never be made whole,” Cantwell said in a statement.
This article originally appeared on 05.03.22
Dillon Helbig's 81-page graphic novel— written by "Dillon His Self"—captured the hearts of his local librarians and their patrons.
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.
This article originally appeared on 09.13.22
Raul Torres is a guardian angel.
Becca Moore is a popular TikToker with over 800,000 followers who's known for her funny, laid-back takes on dating. Like any influencer-type she was at the Coachella music and arts festival in Indio, California recently. While she was at Coachella, she was robbed of her phone, rental car keys and wallet.
“I went to Coachella this weekend and I thought this guy was kinda hitting on me but then he just robbed me,” Becca says at the beginning of her three-minute TikTok video with over 3 million views. After the festival, she was left with no ride, money, or means to get in contact with friends and family. She was stranded in the desert.
Becca’s friend’s hotel called her an Uber so she could get to a local store to buy a new phone. The driver she was incredibly lucky to be connected with was a lot more than a guy with a car in a time of need, he was a guardian angel named Raul Torres from Fresno, California, six hours north of Indio.
“A normal Uber driver takes you to a place and then drops you off. He insisted on coming in with me and making sure that I was going to have a ride after that,” Becca said.
The store wasn’t able to get her a new phone because she didn’t have access to her current plan. But Raul wouldn’t give up, so he took her to the local police station where they were able to locate the Airbnb where the thief was staying. The police let them into the room and they searched it but couldn’t find the phone.
the uber driver that saved me from going missing is @buds4u559!! 😭 after spending the day w him he told me his daughter is a senior in high school & is having a hard time going through chemo. i made a gofundme, he could’ve left me and didn’t have to help me the way he did! I’d love to help his fam give his daughter a normal end to her senior year of high school this year (prom!!) i’m putting it in my bio!!
After the big let-down, Becca and Raul decided to take a break from their quest and refresh their spirits with some margaritas, on Raul. “Just because he’s an angel on this Earth,” Becca said in her TikTok video.
While the two bonded over drinks, Raul told Becca his daughter had been battling cancer and that’s why he’s been working as an Uber driver. “He told me all he wants is for his daughter to have a normal end to her senior year, and to be able to go to big events like prom and graduation,” Becca said.
Raul also revealed that his father had cancer as well.
His revelations put Becca's troubles in perspective and made his decision to drop his driving for the day to help Becca all the more incredible.
thank god he refused to leave me 😭 raul’s tiktok is @buds4u559. also you can donate to the fam in my bio!! thank you all for your donations and generosity. you today, me tomorrow!! #TipsForRaul
After the final slurps of their margaritas, Becca still wasn’t sure how she’d get home. But Raul wouldn’t give up. “We’re getting your phone,” he exclaimed. He drove her back to the thief’s Airbnb where she found the phone sitting on top of the outside gate. Becca believes the robber abandoned the phone after realizing the police were involved. Then, Raul helped Becca get a rental car so she could get home. Before saying their goodbyes, the two had spent eight hours together.
"Raul ended his Uber shift that morning to spend his day helping me, expecting nothing in return,” she said in her TikTok video. So she used her considerable audience to ask followers to help contribute to a GoFundMe page for Raul and his family. Over the first 4 days, the campaign has raised over $144,000.
"When I was in the car with him it seemed like we were both so focused on my situation. We were only talking about me getting a phone and like things that did not matter. And he completely glazed over the fact that his daughter and his dad were the ones that needed help," she admitted.
On Friday, April 29, Raul's dad passed away from cancer.
The story of Becca and Raul is a great reminder that no matter how big our troubles seem, it’s always important to put them in perspective.
This story originally appeared on 05.03.22
Betsy and Irv are finally getting the happy ending they deserve. Together.
It’s pretty safe to say that everyone loves a good love story.
There’s a whole genre of music and movies dedicated to the idea of someone being swept off of their feet after circumstances tried to keep them from their true love. Romance novels could single handedly keep public libraries and bookstores afloat. Everyone loves "love" and the story of Betsy and Irv just takes the cake. Betsy Sailor attended Penn State University as a business major, which was almost unheard of in 1978 and Irv Pankey attended the university while playing football. The pair’s paths never crossed, until an unfortunate incident bonded the two forever.
That year, Betsy was at home singing and dancing with her refrigerator door as one does when looking for food, when she was sexually assaulted at knife point by none other than star Penn State football player, Todd Hodne. When Irv heard the evidence against Hodne during the trial, he knew he had to do something about it. In fact, he was the only one on the team who did.
After the assault Betsy moved back on campus, and that’s when she met Irv, a burly football player who understood what it was like to be outcast. He knocked on her door, introduced himself and offered to essentially be her protection as she traversed through campus. The pair were glued at the hip until graduation. Irv went on to play for the LA Rams and Betsy went on to work in human resources. They hadn't spoken since, until 44 years later when ESPN decided to cover their unique bond that helped Betsy get through college.
Hear directly from Betsy Sailor and Irv Pankey as they discuss their relationship in my recent interview with them (created by director @nicole_noren ): 12/12pic.twitter.com/GmWVIYp38O— Paula Lavigne (@Paula Lavigne) 1651148562
And that's when this already compelling tale became a love story.
Irv and Betsy stayed in touch after the documentary was filmed, and when ESPN did an update, Betsy became emotional while talking about Irv. The two smiled and said they spend as much time together as possible. Irv said “We’re riding off into the sunset. Calling it a day. Peace out! I hope we can enjoy each other’s company for the rest of our lives and just move on,” He continued “We’re 65 years old. We ain’t got time to be messing around.”
If that isn’t a love story to write home about, then I don’t know what is. Best wishes Betsy and Irv. You both deserve a lifetime of happiness.
This article originally appeared on 04.29.22
This could be the future of travel.
As they say, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”
This old adage was brought to life in a whole new way after two friends who thought they booked tickets to Budapest, Hungary, instead found themselves heading to Bucharest, Romania.
Just a minor 500-mile difference, but who’s counting?TikToker @SophAlice posted a video of the pair realizing their mix-up, which went viral and set them off on an impromptu adventure based entirely on the comments they received.
"When you thought you had booked flights to Budapest," the on-screen text reads as the camera zooms in to clearly read a sign that says “Bucharest.”
"They sound similar right," @SophAlice wrote in the caption.
@sophealice They sound similar right 😂 #budapest#bucharest#romania#ryanair#airport#travel#bestfriends#viral#fyp#fypシ#surprisingyourbff♬ original sound - Cosmic Sporting Dogs
The video received millions of views, along with thousands of comments from folks looking to reassure the two wayward friends.
"Romania is the most underrated place, of all the cities I've been to—there is so much to do there! It happened for a reason," one person wrote.
Another added, "Honestly, Bucharest is nicer than Budapest."
Suggestions for locations started flooding in—everything from a super fancy spa to Bran Castle, said to be the inspiration behind “Dracula.” Not to mention the recommendation to simply walk along the shops and cafes found on Calea Victoriei.
So…did they make the most of it? Judging by this follow-up video (and severalothers) documenting all the spots they visited, I’d say yes.
@sophealice The best time 🌈❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ #fyp#keeplivingyourbestlife#keeplivinman#livin#romania🇷🇴#travel#romania#fypシ#traveltiktok#bestfriends#bucharest#viral#europe#friends#CapCut♬ original sound - SopheAlice
Life doesn't always go according to plan. But let’s be honest—those little detours often make for the best moments.