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Pop Culture

Oprah’s revealing Michael Jackson interview was 30 years ago. Here are 5 unforgettable moments.

Jackson set the record straight while also raising more questions.

michael jackson, oprah winfrey, michael oprah interview

Michael Jackson and Oprah Winfrey.

In 1993, Michael Jackson was the most famous person in the world but his image was severely tarnished by countless bizarre rumors. Why was he turning white? How much cosmetic surgery did he have? Did he really try to buy the Elephant Man’s bones? Why did he grab his crotch during performances? What was his sexual orientation? Did he sleep in a hyperbaric chamber? Why does a grown man love to play with children in a home filled with theme park rides and exotic animals?

To add to the controversy, Jackson’s most recent album “Dangerous,” which sold around 20 million copies, was seen as a “disappointment” because it failed to reach the status of his previous albums “Bad” (1987) and “Thriller” (1982).

To help improve his public image, Jackson sat down for a live, 90-minute interview from his Neverland Ranch in Santa Ynez, California, with Oprah Winfrey. At a time when the media landscape was far less fragmented, the interview was a massive event that drew more than 90 million viewers.


Jackson hadn’t given a TV interview in 14 years and Winfrey was at the peak of her fame as America’s favorite talk-show host. "It was the most exciting interview I had ever done," Winfrey later recounted. "It certainly was going to be the most watched interview I had ever done."

Here are five of the most memorable moments from “Michael Jackson Talks … to Oprah,” which originally aired on February 10, 1993.

1. Jackson admitted to having cosmetic surgery.

When asked about his history of cosmetic surgery, Jackson said it’s less than most people think. "You can count them on two fingers," he said, admitting he’s had his nose done. "I have never had my cheekbones done, never had my eyes done, never had my lips done," he added.

Given his drastic change in appearance over the years, the admission was a little hard for some to swallow. Reports show that it’s likely he wasn’t being totally honest about his history of cosmetic surgery during the Winfrey interview.

2. He admitted to having vitiligo.

One of the biggest questions about Jackson at the time was why he was becoming paler by the day. Many believed it was because he wanted to become white. To set the record straight, Jackson admitted to having vitiligo, a skin disorder that causes the skin to lose pigmentation, resulting in visible blotches.

"It is something I cannot help. When people make up stories that I don't want to be who I am, it hurts me," he said. "It's a problem for me. I can't control it. But what about all the millions of people who sit in the sun to become darker, to become other than what they are? Nobody says nothing about that."

Vitiligo forced Jackson to change his appearance but he made it clear that he was still a proud Black man. "I am a Black American. I'm proud to be a Black American. I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am,” Jackson emphatically told Winfrey.

3. He taught Winfrey how he does the moonwalk.

The moonwalk was Jackson’s signature dance move that gives the appearance he’s moving backward while hovering above the ground. In the interview, he revealed how he creates the illusion and where it started.

"The moonwalk came from these beautiful Black kids who live in the ghettos in the inner cities, who are brilliant. They just have that natural talent for dancing any of the new, hot dances. They come up with these dances," Jackson said. "All I did was enhance the dance."

4. He was an incredible beatboxer.

Winfrey asked Jackson to sing something acapella and he gave her a lot more than that. He did a perfect beatbox version of “Who Is It” from his “Dangerous” album and was able to perform the percussion and bass line simultaneously.

5. He discussed his abusive dad and losing his childhood.

Jackson revealed that growing up a child star he missed out on the simple joys of childhood and that's why he enjoyed spending time with children as an adult. This seemed to be an honest explanation for one of the most curious parts of his personality. He also admitted that his father called him “ugly” and was physically abusive.

"I love my father, but I don't know him. … Sometimes I do get angry. I don't know him the way I'd like to know him," he said. "My mother's wonderful. To me, she's perfection. I just wish I could understand my father."

Jackson’s interview with Winfrey was a public relations success for Jackson because it provided a psychological framework for his peculiar public image. In the interview, Jackson comes off as sensitive, thoughtful, intelligent and his dancing and beatboxing reminded everyone of his incredible talent. The Washington Post said the interview changed public opinion of him from being “weird” to an “eccentric” and resulted in an increase in album sales.

But this pubic re-evaluation would be short-lived. By the end of the year, he’d be the subject of an intense investigation into sexual abuse, and he'd be dogged by lurid allegations for the rest of his days.

True

Music’s biggest night took place Sunday, February 4 with the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Now, fans have the opportunity to take home a piece of the famed event.

Longtime GRAMMY Awards partner Mastercard is using this year’s campaign to shine a light on the environment and the Priceless Planet Coalition (PPC), a forest restoration program with the goal of restoring 100 million trees. Music fans are 1.5 times more likely to take action to help the environment, making the GRAMMY Awards the perfect opportunity to raise awareness.

“Through our GRAMMY Awards campaign, we’ve created an opportunity for our brand, our partners and consumers to come together over shared values, to participate during a moment when we can celebrate our passion for music and our commitment to make meaningful investments to preserve the environment,” says Rustom Dastoor, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications, North America at Mastercard.

The campaign kicked off with an inspired self-guided multi-sensory tour at the GRAMMY House presented by Mastercard, where people journeyed through their passion of music and educational experience about Mastercard’s longstanding commitment to tree restoration. Then, this year’s most-nominated GRAMMY artist and a passionate voice for the environment, SZA, led the charge with the debut performance of her new song, Saturn.

Mastercard’s partners are also joining the mission by encouraging people all over the country to participate; Lyft and Sirius XM are both offering ways for consumers to get involved in the Priceless Planet Coalition. To learn more about how you can support these efforts, visit mastercard.com/forceofnature.

While fashion is always a highlight of any GRAMMY Awards event, SZA’s outfit worn during her performance of Saturn was designed to make a statement; made of tree seeds to help spread awareness. Fans can even comment ‘🌱’ and tag a friend on Mastercard’s designated post of SZA’s GRAMMY House performance for a chance to win a tree seed from the performance outfit*.

“SZA has a personal passion for sustainability – not just in forest restoration but in the clothes she wears and the platforms and partners she aligns herself with. It was important to us to partner with someone who is not only showing up big at the GRAMMY Awards – as the most GRAMMY-nominated artist this year – but also showing up big for the environment,” says Dastoor.

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Joy

NICU nurse adopts 14-year-old patient who delivered triplets alone

“I knew it would be impossible to find a foster home that would take all four of them. No one was going to take a teen mom and her preemie triplets.”

NICU nurse adopts teen with three babies.

Having your first baby is a scary experience. Everything is new—you've quite literally never done this before—not to mention an entire human is going to be removed from your body one way or another. Childbirth, no matter how your baby leaves your body, is not for the weak. But imagine giving birth alone to not just one baby, but three, all at the same time. Then imagine doing that feat at the age of 14.

Shariya Small experienced that scenario in a hospital in Indiana, and her nurse Katrina Mullen took note. Small's babies were premature, born at just 26 weeks, when the average gestation for triplets is 33 weeks, according to ReproductiveFacts.org. Due to their early birth, the babies, Serenitee, Samari and Sarayah, had to stay in the NICU at Community Hospital North in Indianapolis for more than five months, according to Today.com.

During their time in the NICU, Mullen noticed the young mom visited her babies alone, not appearing to have much of a support system. “She’d be there alone for days at a time sitting at her babies’ bedside,” Mullen told Today.com.

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Kampus Production/Canva

How often do you change your sheets?

If you were to ask a random group of people, "How often do you wash your sheets?" you'd likely get drastically different answers. There are the "Every single Sunday without fail" folks, the "Who on Earth washes their sheets weekly?!?" people and everyone in between.

According to a survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by Mattress Advisor, the average time between sheet changings or washings in the U.S. is 24 days—or every 3 1/2 weeks, approximately. The same survey revealed that 35 days is the average interval at which unwashed sheets are "gross."

Some of you are cringing at those stats while others are thinking, "That sounds about right." But how often should you wash your sheets, according to experts?

Hint: It's a lot more frequent than 24 days.

While there is no definitive number of days or weeks, most experts recommend swapping out used sheets for clean ones every week or two.

Dermatologist Alok Vij, MD told Cleveland Clinic that people should wash their sheets at least every two weeks, but probably more often if you have pets, live in a hot climate, sweat a lot, are recovering from illness, have allergies or asthma or if you sleep naked.

We shed dead skin all the time, and friction helps those dead skin cells slough off, so imagine what's happening every time you roll over and your skin rubs on the sheets. It's normal to sweat in your sleep, too, so that's also getting on your sheets. And then there's dander and dust mites and dirt that we carry around on us just from living in the world, all combining to make for pretty dirty sheets in a fairly short period of time, even if they look "clean."

Maybe if you shower before bed and always wear clean pajamas you could get by with a two-week sheet swap cycle, but weekly sheet cleaning seems to be the general consensus among the experts. The New York Times consulted five books about laundry and cleaning habits, and once a week was what they all recommend.

Sorry, once-a-monthers. You may want to step up your sheet game a bit.

What about the rest of your bedding? Blankets and comforters and whatnot?

Sleep.com recommends washing your duvet cover once a week, but this depends on whether you use a top sheet. Somewhere between the Gen X and Millennial eras, young folks stopped being about the top sheet life, just using their duvet with no top sheet. If that's you, wash that baby once a week. If you do use a top sheet, you can go a couple weeks longer on the duvet cover.

For blankets and comforters and duvet inserts, Sleep.com says every 3 months. And for decorative blankets and quilts that you don't really use, once a year washing will suffice.

What about pillows? Pillowcases should go in with the weekly sheet washing, but pillows themselves should be washed every 3 to 6 months. Washing pillows can be a pain, and if you don't do it right, you can end up with a lumpy pillow, but it's a good idea because between your sweat, saliva and skin cells, pillows can start harboring bacteria.

Finally, how about the mattress itself? Home influencers on TikTok can often be seen stripping their beds, sprinkling their mattress with baking soda, brushing it into the mattress fibers and then vacuuming it all out. Architectural Digest says the longer you leave baking soda on the mattress, the better—at least a few hours, but preferably overnight. Some people add a few drops of essential oil to the baking soda for some extra yummy smell.

If that all sounds like way too much work, maybe just start with the sheets. Pick a day of the week and make it your sheet washing day. You might find that climbing into a clean, fresh set of sheets more often is a nice way to feel pampered without a whole lot of effort.

Family

Dad shares family's confusion when his young son demanded 'people chicken' for dinner

It took them awhile to figure it out, but once you see it, you can't unsee it.

"People chicken" sounds…disturbing

One of the best parts of having kids is having a full-time, front row seat to the way they interpret and use language as they grow. There's the classic mispronunciations of "spaghetti," of course, but there are also one-of-a-kind terms they coin based on their limited vocabulary and the unique way they look at the world.

Kids say the darnedest things, and as Dillon White shared on Instagram, one of those darned things could be a young child requesting "people chicken" for dinner. Not just requesting, but demanding: "I WANT PEOPLE CHICKEN!!"

People chicken. There are only so many ways to interpret that, all of which could land you on the FBI's radar.

Of course, it was a small child saying this, so there had to be an explanation.

White explained that he and his wife tried everything to get their kiddo to clarify what he meant by "people chicken," including having him draw a picture of what he was wanting. Unfortunately, the stick figure person he drew did not help relieve any concerns that their child might be a cannibal.

Finally, White's 7-year-old daughter came up with a solution that revealed what her younger brother wanted. It was not, in fact, chicken made out of people. Phew.

Watch:

It's true. Once you see Colonel Sanders' bow tie as a stick figure, you can't unsee it.

Even KFC's official account responded to the video, writing, "You see it once, and you can't unsee it." HA.

White was not alone in his kid seeing the stick figure Col. Sanders.

"The SAME thing (conversation) happened to us 22 years ago!! My toddler was practically throwing himself trying to make us understand that he wanted 'Old Man Chicken'!!!!!! And yup, it was KFC he was asking for. We have referred to it as ‘Old Man Chicken’ all these years now 😂!!" shared on commenter.

"About halfway through we figured out what he was talking about but that’s only because my kids have been saying for years that the KFC man is a stick figure with a really big head. Tell Mason he’s not the only kid who thought that.Lol 😂😂😂" shared another.

"I think I’ve been working with children too long because the instant you said people chicken my brain said 'that’s kfc,' 😂 wrote another.

Other people chimed in to share their kids' hilarious naming conventions for chicken places:

"My son was in tears for 'Pinky Toe.' Turns out he thought the Chick-fil-A emblem was a foot 😂," wrote one parent.

"Lol. My daughter refers to Chick-fil-A as 'foot' because their logo actually reserved a footprint. So interesting thinking of the different ways that children see things that we adults don't. It's amazing!" shared another.

"My kids call Buffalo Wild Wings 'stinky skunks' because from a distance, the logo looks like a skunk to them. We went through a similar very confusing moment to figure that one out as you can imagine, 🤦♀️🤣" shared another.

White is right. We should let kids name everything. They're so much better at it than adults are.

You can follow Dillon White on Instagram here and TikTok here.

Photo by Adam Gonzales on Unsplash

A seafaring lifestyle from the comfort of home.

Imagine spending every day exploring wondrous locations, eating expertly crafted meals, enjoying year-round indulgence … could there be anything better?

Taking a lifelong cruise might sound like something out of a dream, and an unrealistic one at that. But leaving the land behind and adopting a seafaring lifestyle is now more attainable than ever.

By 2024, cruise line Storylines will launch a 741-foot ship dubbed the MV Narrative, a huge vessel containing 547 fully furnished rooms available for purchase or lease.

The cruise will definitely be the stuff of luxury, with its high-end spas, movie theater, yoga sun deck, state-of-the-art fitness center, art studio … it even has a bowling alley, for crying out loud. But being a “residential community at sea,” there will also be things like a library, post office, school and bank.
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Education

Incredible audio shows what WWI sounded like when the guns and bombs just suddenly stopped

It's both beautiful and haunting to hear the ceasefire silence at the agreed-upon 11th hour.

Much of World War I was fought in trenches.

On November 11, 1918, U.S.soldier Robert Casey wrote from the American front in Western Europe:

And this is the end of it. In three hours the war will be over. It seems incredible even as I write it. I suppose I ought to be thrilled and cheering. Instead I am merely apathetic and incredulous … There is some cheering across the river—occasional bursts of it as the news is carried to the advanced lines. For the most part, though, we are in silence … With all is a feeling that it can’t be true. For months we have slept under the guns … We cannot comprehend the stillness.

It was the 11th day of the 11th month, and the war was scheduled to end with a ceasefire at the 11th hour—11:00 a.m. exactly. It had been four years of bloody, brutal fighting in what would later be called World War I. (Ironically, the war that was dubbed "the war to end all wars.")

The sense of relief at the ceasefire had to have been palpable, and thanks to modern technology, we can get an idea of what it sounded like to have the constant gunfire, artillery shells, fighter planes and bombs just…stop.

The following audio is not a recording, since magnetic tape recording technology didn't exist in WWI. It's a sound recreation based on visual "sound ranging" recordings the military used to determine where enemy fire was coming from. Special units placed microphones in the ground and used photographic film to visually record the noise intensity of gunfire, similarly to how seismometer measures an earthquake.

The lines you see in the film below are vibrations from noises at the River Moselle on the American Front, which were interpreted by sound company Coda to Coda using meticulous research on the kinds of weaponry that would have been used and how far away they were, even taking into account the geography of the area.

The result is the sounds soldiers would have heard during the last minute of World War I. Listen:

The little bird chirp at the end really punctuates it, doesn't it? Beautiful, yet haunting.

The fact that there was an exact minute when opposing forces agreed to lay down their arms and then did so is a bit surreal. If you know you're going to stop shooting, why wait for a few hours and keep shooting one another? Why not just say, "Stop, we're done now"? Communication took time and the various forces needed to be informed of the ceasefire agreement, so it makes some sense, but still. The armistice agreement was signed six hours before the ceasefire. In those six hours—when peace had already been agreed upon—3,000 soldiers were killed. Talk about senseless deaths.

Of all the things humans have devised and systematized, war is probably the weirdest. Leaders get into disputes over political or geographic particulars, and then one says, "I'm going to send my people to kill your people." Another responds, "If your people kill my people, then my people will kill your people." Then the worst of human atrocities are perpetrated by people who would normally never dream of doing such things to one another until, at some point, they've all have had enough of the senseless destruction, the leaders come to some kind of agreement and say, "OK, our people will no longer kill each other. Good talk."

Of course, it's all a bit more complicated than that, but at the same time, it's not. War as a concept is simply stupid and stupidly simple. Humanity in general does seem to have grasped the stupidity of it, as we've been making global progress toward a more peaceful world for many decades. But as conflicts ignite and violence explode in certain regions, we feel the tenuousness of that progress, which makes peacemaking skills all the more valuable.

Twenty million people were killed in WWI, more than half of them civilians. Many of them died from famine and disease brought on by the conditions of war. This audio is a reminder that these things don't just happen—they are choices that human beings make. Destruction and diplomacy are both choices. Retaliation and restoration are choices. War and peace are choices.

We've tried choosing war followed by peace, many times over. Maybe we should try choosing peace without having to go through the stupid, senseless killing part first.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young perform in 1970.

Nineteen-sixty-nine was a pivotal year in American culture. The hippies and the counterculture were ascendant, and everything that came before in entertainment was as square as can be.

In cinema, there was the world before and after 1969’s “Easy Rider.” In music, the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair was a defining moment for the new era, and on television, the anti-establishment “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” divided households over its anti-war stance.

In September of that year, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (CSN&Y) were asked to play a duet with Welsh singer Tom Jones on his television show and the pairing was a perfect example of the culture clash. Jones was famous for his hit songs “It’s Not Unusual” and “What’s New Pussycat?” and was adept at dodging panties being thrown at him by the adoring ladies in the audience.

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