Soul-soothing Patrick Stewart has started reciting Shakespeare's sonnets and people are swooning

Patrick Stewart could read the phone book and people would listen, so it's not entirely surprising that folks are going gaga over him reading Shakespeare's sonnets. Stewart has been reciting #ASonnetADay from his home, much to fans' delight.

There's something particularly soothing about the Star Trek and X-men actor reciting poetry to us during a pandemic quarantine. Perhaps it hearkens to a quainter time, when people would sit and read to one another by firelight instead of arguing over Twitter about who's the worst human being in Tiger King. Stewart's attempt to elevate our entertainment to something beyond the banal and the sensational is admirable.

If reading Shakespeare during a global crisis seems out of touch somehow—perhaps too uppity or elitist—remember that Shakespeare lived during the plague era. A quarter of the population of his hometown was wiped out from bubonic plague during his childhood, and several more outbreaks wreaked havoc on the society in which he lived as he grew older.

As an article in The Conversation points out, "Epidemic disease was a feature of Shakespeare's life. The plays he created often grew from an awareness about how precarious life can be in the face of contagion and social breakdown." He was also a provincial commoner—just a normal guy, who also happened to have extraordinary writing capabilities. So Shakespeare's writing really isn't so far removed from our current reality—in fact, he probably had a better handle on what we're experiencing than most modern day artists.

So enjoy Sir Patrick Stewart sharing Shakespeare's love poems in his beautiful baritone voice, and follow him on Twitter to get a your daily dose of #ASonnetADay.

He occasionally skips a sonnet because it's too difficult to read or because he simply doesn't like it. You do you, Sir Patrick.

And he frequently gives an intro about the specific sonnet or about Shakespeare's poetry in general. Sir Patrick bringing the learnin'.

So far, he's brought us to Sonnet 18, the famous "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day..." poem. Just beautiful. Thank you, Sir Patrick, for using your voice to soothe us through this pandemic with one of humanity's greatest works.

Courtesy of Verizon

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

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