Jeremy Rifkin, a social thinker and best-selling author, walks us through the evolution of human empathy over the 30,000 years that have led up to the crucial tipping point we face today.
'As you know, I have always been an open book.'
Celine Dion has shared the devastating news that she has been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called stiff person syndrome.
In an emotional video to her fans, the 54-year-old French-Canadian singer apologized for taking so long to reach out and explained that her health struggles have been difficult to talk about.
"As you know, I have always been an open book, and I wasn't ready to say anything before. But I'm ready now."
While she has been dealing with health problems for a long time, doctors have only recently figured out why, and the diagnosis means she has to cancel her upcoming shows and reschedule her European tour.
"I have been diagnosed with a very rare neurological disorder called stiff person syndrome, which affects something like one in a million people," Dion said. "While we're still learning about this rare condition, we now know this is what's been causing all of the spasms that I've been having. Unfortunately, these spasms affect every aspect of my daily life, sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I'm used to."
Dion expresses hope, but stiff person syndrome is a tough diagnosis, especially for a professional singer. The condition is marked by stiffening muscles in the trunk and abdomen, progressively moving to the legs and other extremities. Other symptoms include painful muscle spasms that can occur randomly or be triggered by noise, emotional stress or physical touch. These spasms can last minutes or hours and can be severe enough to dislocate limbs or break bones.
The severity of symptoms and speed of decline vary from person to person. Treatments and therapies can help manage symptoms, but much about the disorder remains a mystery. There is no known cause and no cure at this time.
The pain of processing this news is apparent in Dion's video message to her fans. "All I know is singing," she said. "It's what I've done all my life. And it's what I love to do the most."
"I miss you so much," she added. "I miss seeing all of you. Being on the stage, performing for you. I always give 100% when I do my shows, but my condition is not allowing me to give you that right now. For me to reach you again, I have no choice but to concentrate on my health at this moment. And I have hope that I am on the road to recovery."
Celine Dion is consistently ranked as one of the top female vocalists of all time and has performed live in front of millions in countless sold-out shows. She is known not only for her unique vocal quality and wide range, but for her passion and dedication to her craft, as well as to her fans.
No one wants to get a diagnosis like this, but for someone who loves performing above all else, it's particularly heartbreaking. Thankfully, Dion is surrounded by love and support from family, friends and fans who will lift her up and help her through whatever the future brings. Wishing her all the best as she faces this daunting challenge.
Both her and Santa deserve a mental break.
Every year, moms put on their elf hats and become Santa's helpers. They shop for and wrap the family's presents, cook the holiday meal, organize the crafts and even set out cookies for the big guy. They're so busy making the holiday season magical for their family that oftentimes they don't get any time to rest.
So this year, we've carefully selected five items for mom that you can grab without braving the cold and crowds. These gifts are sure to be just what Santa's helper needs to rejuvenate after the festivities. Plus, 10% of sales made through this gift guide will be donated to the organizations The Magnolia Mother's Trust and the SeekHer Foundation, to help even more moms this holiday season.
Conscious Step scented candles are amazing! They smell fantastic and support multiple causes, so if mom has a cause that's near to her heart, you can grab a candle that supports it. The candle Starry Seas supports Oceana, the largest advocacy organization focused on oceans, while the candle Love and Limes helps to support The Trevor Project, an organization that offers a lifeline to LGBTQ youth.
This little guy is so cute and the perfect gift for a mom trying to get relief from the stress and anxiety of the holidays (or any days). The Mindsight Breathing Buddha helps with mindfulness by serving as a guide for open-eyed meditation—when the belly is green you inhale, purple you hold and blue you exhale—making meditation much less complicated and easy to do between cookie decorating parties. Plus it doubles as a great natural sleep aid, to help mom wind down after a day filled with demanding kids (and partners).
Why, hello warm feet. Kids may not know, but spouses certainly do—mom’s feet are notoriously always cold and are generally warmed up on the back or legs of their unsuspecting partner. You can do mom a solid by making sure her toes stay toasty with these super comfortable and stylish Wearwell Cozy Moccasins.
Who doesn't love a good moisturizer that serves a double purpose? This Burt's Bees Calming Night Cream is perfect for moms with sensitive skin, plus it will help her get some quality rest after long winter days. It's made with aloe and rice milk for amazing hydration while mom sleeps.
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Jack Black is an incredibly talented singer.
The medley that closes out the second side of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” album is one of the most impressive displays of musicianship in the band’s storied career. It also provided the perfect send-off before the band’s official breakup months later, ending with the lyrics, “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
In 1969, “Abbey Road” was the last record the group made together, although “Let it Be,” recorded earlier that year, was released in 1970.
At first, the medley was just a clever way for the band to use a handful of half-finished tunes, but when it came together it was a rousing, grandiose affair.
Arranged by Paul McCartney and producer George Martin, the medley weaves together five songs written by McCartney, "You Never Give Me Your Money," "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window," "Golden Slumbers," "Carry That Weight” and "The End," and three by John Lennon, “Sun King," "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam."
Fifteen seconds after the medley and the album’s conclusion, there is a surprise treat, McCartney’s 22-second “Her Majesty,” which wound up on the record as an accident.
Jack Black and Kyle Gass, collectively known as Tenacious D, recently reimagined two of the songs in the medley, "You Never Give Me Your Money" and "The End," for acoustic guitars for a performance on SiriusXM's Octane Channel. Like everything with Tenacious D, it showed off the duo’s impressive musical chops as well as their fantastic sense of humor.
The truncated version of the medley was also a wonderful tribute to the incredible work the Beatles did 53 years ago.
Warning: This video contains NSFW language.
Carole Baskin fought for 11 years to get it passed.
Netflix’s “Tiger King” will go down in history as the collective distraction that helped America get through the dark, depressing days of early COVID-19 lockdowns. The show followed the true story of the feud between private zoo owner Joe Exotic, the self-described “gay, gun-carrying, redneck with a mullet,” and Carole Baskin, founder of Big Cat Rescue.
Exotic is currently serving out a 21-year prison sentence for animal rights abuses and hiring someone to kill Baskin.
The show was a raucous look inside the world of big cat owners and brought a lot of attention to the animal abuse that runs rampant in the industry. The light it shed on the industry was so bright it led Congress to take action. The Senate unanimously passed the Big Cat Public Safety Act on December 6. The House had already passed the bill in July.
The White House has signaled that President Biden will sign the bill into law.
\u201cVICTORY! The Big Cat Public Safety Act\u2014championed by Carole & Howard Baskin & backed by PETA\u2014passed the Senate!\n\nOur lawsuits against the biggest #TigerKing villains nearly annihilated the cub-petting industry.\n\nOnce @POTUS signs it, public contact with big cats will be BANNED.\u201d— PETA (@PETA) 1670436010
The legislation prohibits keeping tigers, lions and other big cat species as pets and bans public contact with these animals, including paid interactive experiences like cub petting. Those who currently own big cats will be able to keep their animals so long as they register them with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and do not allow them to have direct contact with the public.
There are an estimated 7,000 captive tigers in America living either in zoos or with private owners.
“I am harder to intimidate and kill than some thought!” Carole Baskin joked in a video celebrating her legislative victory. “The passage of the bill is the successful culmination of many years of battling against narcissistic, abusive, dangerous men who dominated the cruel trade and did everything they could to stop its passage, including wanting to intimidate, discredit and even kill me,” Baskin added.
“Within a decade, most of the thousands of big cats living this way will have passed away, and in 20 years, no big cats will be living in this kind of misery,” she continued.
The passage of the legislation was also applauded by The Humane Society.
“An extraordinarily cruel era for big cats in the U.S. finally comes to an end with the passage of the Big Cat Public Safety Act. We’ve been fighting for this moment for years because so many so-called ‘Tiger Kings’ have been breeding tigers and other big cats to use them for profit,” Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement.
The legislation is a big win for the animals and people as well. The Humane Society reports that since 1990, there have been more than 400 incidents involving captive big cats, and five children and 19 adults have been killed and hundreds of others injured.
Many objected to how Joe Exotic was celebrated for the few weeks that “Tiger King” ruled popular culture because he was, in the end, a man who profited from animals’ misery. Now, we can look back at the show’s popularity and see that it’s played a positive role in protecting these majestic animals from abuse for the foreseeable future.