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Health

19 musicals that are not only catchy—they could help with dementia, according to science

Back in 2013, researchers in the U.S. stumbled upon a novel new treatment for dementia patients: listening to show tunes. Seriously.

musicals, theater, art, dementia, treatments
Photo by Jordhan Madec on Unsplash

A picture taken of the Broadway street sign in New York City.

Back in 2013, researchers in the U.S. stumbled upon a novel new treatment for dementia patients: listening to show tunes. Seriously.

A study of nursing home patients found that residents who sang show tunes — specifically from "Oklahoma!" "The Wizard of Oz," and "The Sound of Music" — demonstrated increased mental performance, according to a report in the New York Daily News:

"Researchers working with elderly residents at an East Coast care home found in a four-month long study ... that people who sang their favorite songs showed a marked improvement compared to those who just listened."

A similar study in Finland, cited in The Guardian, demonstrated that singing not only helped dementia patients feel better and focus, but actually improved certain types of memory as well.

Even better? There are tons of classic show tunes specifically about remembering.

Here are 23 tunes every Broadway fan needs to memorize for the day when it's not so easy to remember. It'll help to start brushing up now.

1. The one about remembering the good old days.

"Those Were the Good Old Days," "Damn Yankees"

If you're the devil in "Damn Yankees," that means the Great Depression, the Black Plague years, and when Jack the Ripper was running around. Good times!

2. The one about remembering a parade that probably never happened.

Any playlist of show tunes about memory has to include this standard from "The Music Man," in which Professor Harold Hill remembers the best day of his life, when "Gilmore, Liberati, Pat Conway, The Great Creatore, W.C. Handy, and John Phillip Sousa all came to town."

Whether or not any of it actually happened is ... up for debate, to put it mildly.

3. The one about remembering a really fun trip you took to a medium-sized Midwestern city.

"Kansas City," "Oklahoma"

"Oklahoma's" Will Parker is so psyched about his Kansas City vacation he can't help bragging about it to all the other cowboys. And why not? It's a neat city! Have you been to Joe's Kansas City Barbecue? Neither has Will Parker, since he was there in 1906, but you should totally go.

4. The one about remembering how fun it was to murder that guy that one time...

"Cell Block Tango," "Chicago"

...while glancing nervously over your shoulder to make sure Queen Latifah isn't around.

5. The one about remembering the questionable choices it's too late to go back in time and not make.

"Where Did We Go Right?" from "The Producers"

Looking back doesn't always go well for characters in musicals. It definitely doesn't for "The Producers'" Bialystock and Bloom, as they tear around their office wondering how their incompetently directed, poorly acted, aggressively pro-Hitler musical wound up becoming a massive hit despite their every attempt to make it fail.

6. The one about remembering the little things.

"I Remember/Stranger Than You Dreamt It," "Phantom of the Opera"

Perhaps the greatest testament to how emotionally transporting "Phantom of the Opera" is: Christine, removing the phantom's mask for the first time, can just straight-up claim to remember mistlike, one mist in particular — and no one calls her on it ever.

7. The one about remembering the worst day of your life.

"The Barber and his Wife," "Sweeney Todd"

No character in musical theater is more nostalgic than Sweeney Todd, who, just moments after we meet him, croons this delightful ditty reminiscing about the time he was framed for a crime he didn't commit and banished from England so that an evil judge could rape his wife who subsequently poisoned herself.

A tune you can hum!

8. The one about remembering things differently than everyone else around you.

"Satisfied," "Hamilton"

Not sure if you've heard, but "Hamilton" is good, you guys.

After Alex and Eliza Schuyler meet and fall in love in "Helpless," Angelica Schuyler basically goes "Wicked" on her sister's song, recalling how agonizing it was watching her sister and the man who she herself is super into get together. But she sucks it up and buries it! Older siblings are the best.

9. The one about remembering that cute girl you just met like five seconds ago.

"Maria," "West Side Story"

A classic from "West Side Story." Sure, it's about remembering a meet-cute that literally just happened — Tony and Maria's orchestral-swell-assisted gaze across a crowded gym — but Tony is super jazzed about it, so it makes the list.

Gosh, I sure hope those crazy kids work out!

10. The one about remembering all the worst things from when you were a kid, and one kind-of-OK thing.

"At the Ballet," "A Chorus Line"

The ballet isn't that great, but it's better than devastating childhood trauma. Score one for the ballet! Thanks, "A Chorus Line!"

11. The one about remembering old hobbies.

"Dentist!" from "Little Shop of Horrors"

"Little Shop of Horrors'" Orin Scrivello, DDS, is just misunderstood. I mean, who among us didn't "shoot puppies," "poison guppies," or "take a pussycat and bash in its head" now and again as a kid? The '50s were a simpler time!

12. The one about remembering watching a dude die on the battlefield and feeling feelings about it.

"Momma Look Sharp," "1776"

47 years before "Hamilton" brought us the swaggery, ass-kicking side of the Revolutionary War, "1776" tore our guts out with this song, in which a courier to the Continental Congress recalls watching a mother comfort a young soldier as he dies at the battles of Lexington and Concord.

Hercules Mulligan does the guest rap. (Just kidding. There is no guest rap. It's just gorgeously somber for a while and then over.)

13. The one about remembering the best four years of your life.

"I Wish I Could Go Back to College," "Avenue Q"

Of course the sad-sack puppet man- and woman-children of "Avenue Q" want to go back to college! Who among us doesn't long for the days of term papers, humiliating romantic encounters, and crushing, debilitating debt? And meal-plan ice cream, too!

14. The one about remembering some A-plus advice from your best friend.

"Cabaret," "Cabaret"

Ladies and gentlemen, Sally Bowles from "Cabaret" is no fool! No matter how many lovers leave, or how much her career nosedives, or how nutty local politics get, she always remembers this important life lesson she learned from her good friend Elsie.

If only you had such a great, wise friend, maybe your outlook would be as good as Sally's. You could be so lucky!

15. The one about remembering last Christmas.

"Halloween," "Rent"

When it comes to the science of memory and cognition, "Rent" asks the big questions:

"Why are entire years strewn on the cutting room floor of memories? When single frames from one magic night forever flicker in close-up on the 3-D Imax of my mind?"

Poetic? Pathetic? We report, you decide.

16. The one about remembering everything and realizing how terrible it all was.

"Rose's Turn," "Gypsy"

Ah, yes. "Rose's Turn." The 11 o'clock number to end all 11 o'clock numbers in "Gypsy," the most musical of all musicals. Truly, there aren't many things more enjoyable than listening to Mama Rose replay the events of the last decade and change inside her own brain in a slow-motion nervous breakdown as the notion that her entire life has been completely worthless gradually dawns on her with ever-increasing dread.

Did I mention how fun musicals are?

Trivia time! You know that thing in music where trumpets go, "Ya da da da daaaa DA. Da DA da DA!" You know that thing? This is the song that thing comes from.

17. The one about remembering the first time you knew what you wanted to be when you grew up.

"Ring of Keys," "Fun Home"

There's nothing better than a song that makes you want to shout: "I am so glad I'm watching a musical instead of a basketball game right now." This moment in "Fun Home," where Alison recalls seeing a delivery woman — the first person who looked like the woman she felt like — is really, really one of them.

"This is a song of identification that is a turning moment, when you think you’re an alien and you hear someone else say, 'Oh, me too,'" composer Jeanine Tesori told Variety. "It’s a gamechanger for Alison. And that’s just Musical Theater 101."

...And the entire audience bursts into happy tears forever.

18. The one about remembering a nice dream you dreamed.

"I Dreamed a Dream," "Les Misérables"

When your life isn't going so great, it's good to remember the positive! Things didn't exactly go super well for Fantine in "Les Mis." But, hey, she had a pretty good dream once!

19. The one about remembering your single greatest regret and vowing to never remember it again.

"Turn It Off," "The Book of Mormon"

What's the ticket to living as fun-loving and guilelessly as the Mormon elders in "The Book of Mormon?" Don't just bury those traumatic, scary, impure memories — CRUSH THEM, OK?!

20. The one about remembering a really successful first date.

"Sarah Brown Eyes," "Ragtime"

Ah, young love. Even in "Ragtime," a musical that features racism, state violence, attempted child murder, and terrorism, at least we have this song, in which Coalhouse Walker Jr. recalls how he got his beloved Sarah to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with him with his peerless piano skills? So romantic.

Gosh, I sure hope those crazy kids work out!

21. The one about remembering a scary dream.

"Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat," "Guys and Dolls"

With, perhaps, only a smidge more credibility than grifter-from-another-mother Professor Harold Hill, "Guys and Dolls'" third-most-degenerate gambler Nicely-Nicely Johnson recalls a terrifying dream where he had to convince a group of skeptical evangelical crusaders that he's decided to give up the dice once and for all.

Side note: People in musicals are unbelievably good at remembering dreams. This is, like, full detail. I'd be like, "Um, I was at the Statue of Liberty, and you were there? I think? It wasn't really you, it was like a combination of you and my dad. And we were in prison. But at the Statue of Liberty."

22. The one about remembering how it used to be when you were young and full of hope instead of old and bitter and jaded.

"Our Time," "Merrily We Roll Along"

The closing number of "Merrily We Roll Along" is actually the first chronologically, since the musical goes backward. It's the play's happiest moment — Frank, Charley, and Mary on a roof watching Sputnik go by, giddily talking about how thrilling, perfect, and successful their futures are going to be. It's so hopeful! But so sad, 'cause you already know all the achingly bittersweet stuff that's going to happen.

Ach! So poignant! I'm dead from poignant.

23. The one about remembering.

"Memory," "Cats"

"Cats." The OG.

All right team, what did I miss?

This article originally appeared on 02.26.16

Joy

Watch a timid shelter dog named 'Venom' transform with some tender care and a new name

Rocky Kanaka knew "Venom" wasn't a fitting name for this sweet girl, and he sat with her to earn her trust.

Venom was unsure at first but warmed up after a while.

Dogs are a man's best friend, as the saying goes, but that's only true when humans treat them as they should be treated. When someone neglects, abuses or otherwise mistreats a dog, their sense of trust in human companionship gets disrupted and doesn't come as naturally as it should.

It's common to see issue with dogs who end up in shelters. They might be timid, suspicious or fearful, and living in a kennel in a shelter away from everything familiar doesn't help. Even if a shelter is better than the unhealthy situation they came from, it's certainly not ideal, which is one reason Rocky Kanaka goes to visit and sit with shelter dogs. If he can help a dog feel safe and convince it to to trust him, he kick-starts the process of repairing the dog-human bond.


One dog Kanaka sat with was a 3-year-old black Shepherd mix named "Venom." She was curled up in the corner of her kennel and wasn't too keen on having him coming into her space. She wasn't aggressive, but guarded. Her self-protective instincts seemed on, so Kanaka took it very slow.

He began by turning his back to her and squatting down, not interacting with her other than to speak soothingly, just to let her get used to his presence. He brought some treats, which he shared with her before sitting down. She kept looking at him with a mix of curiosity and trepidation, and Kanaka respected her space.

He found out she had been at the shelter for 10 days, which Kanaka said was bad because if a dog is still in this kind of nervous state after 10 days in the shelter, it's harder for them to get adopted. Soon, he got her to take treats from his hand, which enabled him to move a little closer to her—the goal being to eventually get her to approach him.

Then Kanaka got her story, including that her name was Venom and this was her second time in the shelter. The first time, her owners were on vacation, The second time a good samaritan brought her in, and the shelter couldn't get a hold of the owners. When they were finally reached, the owners said that she had not been behaving well with their smaller dog and they didn't want her anymore.

Kanaka didn't cast judgment on the owners for giving her up, but he was totally taken aback by her given name.

"Come on. Venom? She is anything but that. It should be like, Honeysuckle, you know? Or something sweet. Something sweet like Honey. I think that's her name, Honey."

Watch how this sweet puppers slowly warms up to Kanaka and begins to trust him:

Watching her eventually melt into a state of relaxation as Kanaka scratched her head was so rewarding. You can tell that she's a good girl who's been through some rough times, and she'd be an incredible dog for someone who took good care of her.

"Her eyes and brows are so expressive. You can read the concern in her face," wrote one commenter.

"That poor baby is heart broken. She knows she was left and lost family. I feel you baby," wrote another.

"What a sweet little fluff," shared another. "How could anyone just abandon her and not think she's worth the fee will baffle me for all of time. And to call her 'Venom' is not only an insult to her, but an insight into the life she could have previously had and how her last 'owners thought of her. Can't wait for her to find her forever home and finally get all the love she deserves."

Thankfully, according to an update on Kanaka's website, Honey was adopted on March 8, 2024. So hopefully, she did find a forever home with people who will appreciate and nurture her naturally sweet disposition and give her the life she should have.

You can follow Rocky Kanaka for more "Sitting with Dogs" videos on YouTube and on his website rockykanaka.com.

Democracy

What to know about the 1864 abortion ban Arizona's Supreme Court says is 'now enforceable'

The legal code it comes from also outlaws interracial marriage and forbids minorities from testifying against white people in court.

Peter Zillmann (HPZ)/Wikimedia Commons, Brandon Friedman/Twitter

Arizona's borders may soon be even more consequential.

When the 2022 Dobbs decision overturned the federal protection of medical privacy in reproductive decisions, leaving abortion law up to the states, experts warned of the legal and medical consequences to come: People in states with old laws on the books would find themselves facing abortion restrictions the likes of which had not been seen in over 50 years since Roe vs. Wade became "settled as a precedent of the Supreme Court," and medical providers would face legal conundrums that threatened patient care.

Nearly two years later, we've seen the fallout on multiple fronts, from women suing states for denying them medically necessary care to children who have been raped and impregnated being forced to travel across state lines to get an abortion.

And the latest development has Arizona set to enact a near-total abortion ban based on a 1864 legal code, after the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the law "it is now enforceable."

Here's what to know about the 160-year-old law:


There is only one abortion exception allowed for in the law—to save the life of the mother. As medical providers have made clear, that kind of exception is a murky gray area that leads to impossible questions like "How imminent does a mother's death need to be?" for a doctor to take action without fearing legal repercussions.

Civil War-era historian Heather Cox Richardson shared some of the details about how the law came about and the context in which it was written on Facebook, and the historical facts paint a picture of how utterly absurd it is for the law to go into effect in 2024.

"In 1864, Arizona was not a state, women and minorities could not vote, and doctors were still sewing up wounds with horsehair and storing their unwashed medical instruments in velvet-lined cases," wrote Richardson. She pointed out that the U.S. was in the midst of the Civil War, and that the law didn't actually have much to do with women and reproductive care.

"The laws for Arizona Territory, chaotic and still at war in 1864, appear to reflect the need to rein in a lawless population of men," she explained, sharing that the word "miscarriage" was used in the criminal code to describe various forms of harm against another person, specifying dueling with, maiming and poisoning other people.

Richardson offered that detail as the context in which the law states that "a person who provides, supplies or administers to a pregnant woman, or procures such woman to take any medicine, drugs or substance, or uses or employs any instrument or other means whatever, with intent thereby to procure the miscarriage of such woman, unless it is necessary to save her life, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than two years nor more than five years."

How did the law even come about? At that time, the newly formed Arizona Territorial Legislature was composed of 27 men. The first thing they did was authorize the governor to appoint a commissioner to draft a code of laws, but a judge named William T. Howell had already written one up. After some discussion, the legislators enacted Howell's laws, known as "The Howell Code."

The code included laws like, "No black or mulatto, or Indian, Mongolian, or Asiatic, shall be permitted to give evidence in favor of or against any white person," as well as "All marriages of white persons with negroes or mulattoes are declared to be illegal and void."

Richardson also pointed out that the code set the age of consent for sexual intercourse at 10-years-old.

Essentially, a law written by one man, 48 years before Arizona was officially a state, over half a century before women were allowed to vote, when it was perfectly legal to enact and enforce racist laws and see 10-year-olds as old enough to consent to sex, is now considered "enforceable" by the Arizona Supreme Court.

As Richardson pointed out, the difference now is that women can vote. And Americans have proven time and again that draconian abortion laws are wildly unpopular across the political spectrum. Even some Republican lawmakers and politicians are flip-flopping on previous praise for the 1864 law, saying that the Arizona legislature needs to do something about the law to prevent it from taking effect.

All GIFs and images via Exposure Labs.


Photographer James Balog and his crew were hanging out near a glacier when their camera captured something extraordinary.

They were in Greenland, gathering footage from the time-lapse they'd positioned all around the Arctic Circle for the last several years.


They were also there to shoot scenes for a documentary. And while they were hoping to capture some cool moments on camera, no one expected a huge chunk of a glacier to snap clean off and slide into the ocean right in front of their eyes.


science, calving, glaciers

A glacier falls into the sea.

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ocean swells, sea level, erosion, going green

Massive swells created by large chunks of glacier falling away.

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It was the largest such event ever filmed.

For nearly an hour and 15 minutes, Balog and his crew stood by and watched as a piece of ice the size of lower Manhattan — but with ice-equivalent buildings that were two to three times taller than that — simply melted away.

geological catastrophe, earth, glacier melt

A representation demonstrating the massive size of ice that broke off into the sea.

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As far as anyone knows, this was an unprecedented geological catastrophe and they caught the entire thing on tape. It won't be the last time something like this happens either.

But once upon a time, Balog was openly skeptical about that "global warming" thing.

Balog had a reputation since the early 1980s as a conservationist and environmental photographer. And for nearly 20 years, he'd scoffed at the climate change heralds shouting, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"

"I didn't think that humans were capable of changing the basic physics and chemistry of this entire, huge planet. It didn't seem probable, it didn't seem possible," he explained in the 2012 documentary film "Chasing Ice."

There was too much margin of error in the computer simulations, too many other pressing problems to address about our beautiful planet. As far as he was concerned, these melodramatic doomsayers were distracting from the real issues.

That was then.

Greenland, Antarctica, glacier calving

The glacier ice continues to erode away.

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In fact, it wasn't until 2005 that Balog became a believer.

He was sent on a photo expedition of the Arctic by National Geographic, and that first northern trip was more than enough to see the damage for himself.

"It was about actual tangible physical evidence that was preserved in the ice cores of Greenland and Antarctica," he said in a 2012 interview with ThinkProgress. "That was really the smoking gun showing how far outside normal, natural variation the world has become. And that's when I started to really get the message that this was something consequential and serious and needed to be dealt with."

Some of that evidence may have been the fact that more Arctic landmass has melted away in the last 20 years than the previous 10,000 years.

Watch the video of the event of the glacier calving below:

This article originally appeared on 11.04.15

A tourist visiting Italy. (Representative image)

Americans pride themselves on living in the “best country in the world.” However, the American way of life isn’t for everyone and some prefer the more laid-back approach to life that people enjoy in Europe.

Four years ago, a writer named Roze left her tiny apartment in Los Angeles, booked a one-way flight to Turn, Italy and never looked back. Now, she documents her new life in Europe on TikTok to inspire others to pursue their dreams.

Recently, she posted a video in which she counts down 5 things that she’ll never do now that she lives in Italy. These are examples of the relief some Americans feel when they move to Europe and settle into their new, stress-free lifestyle.


1. Rush

"One of the first things that attracted me to Italian culture is the fact that people don't seem to be in a rush. There are no drive-thrus. People don't walk and eat. If you need a coffee, you sit down and drink a cup of coffee. There's always time for that."

2. Own a car

"I don't plan on ever living in a place where you need a car to get around. I don’t like the expense of a car and it’s just bad for the environment.”

3. Live for work

“I’ll never obsess about work as much as I used to do in the U.S. Now, I'm not saying that people don't work here. People work very hard, but there's not as many people who make working hard their whole personality."

@rozeinitaly

A few ways my perspective has changed since moving abroad, maybe some other American immigrants can relate? #fivethingschallenge #5thingsiwouldneverdo #5thingschallenge #americanimmigrant #movingabroadtips #expatsinitaly #italylifestyle #lifeinitaly🇮🇹

4. Trust the internet for business hours

"If you look it up on Google Maps, it says that it's open from 10 am to, I think, 7 or 7:30 pm. Does that mean I can go there at like 2:30 3 o'clock? No. What is not listed on there is that they are closed from 1 to 4 for lunch."

5. Worry about medical bills

“I just don’t plan on living anywhere where there is not some kind of universal healthcare.”

A group of travelers waits patiently to check their bags.

Maybe you’re one of those elite travelers who’s mastered packing for an entire trip using only carry-on luggage. If so, you’re likely haughty and won’t stop crowing about the convenience of hopping off the plane and jetting to your destination.

We know: The airlines lost your bag in 1986 and you vowed never again. So, now you roll three garments, one pair of shoes, a tiny bottle of 5-in-one body wash, and a Kindle into your backpack, and you're good to go.

For the rest of us mere traveling mortals, especially those with kids, checking bags is a necessary evil—a necessary and costly one.

If it seems to you like checked bag fees have been steadily climbing, that’s because checked bag fees have been steadily climbing. According to this article, bag fees on American Airlines rose 33% just last year from $30 per bag to $40 and 5 of the 6 biggest carriers raised their fees last year.

Why is the entire industry upping their checked-bag fees? There’s a specific reason involving an arcane bit of tax code, which accounts for why the fees are tacked on separately versus rolled into the price of the ticket.


Jay L. Zagorsky, a business school professor who studies travel, says 7.5% of every domestic ticket goes to the federal government. Airlines dislike this, claiming it raises ticket prices for consumers. But as long as the bag fee is separate, it is excluded from the 7.5% transportation tax.

Estimated bag fees for 2023 topped 7 billion. By making the bag fees separate, airlines saved themselves about half a billion dollars. If that savings has been passed down to the customer, then we all got a bit of a break, too.

Perhaps you automatically dislike the separate fees because you’re Gen X and remember a time when a ticket was all-inclusive. Now, it feels like you’re paying for stuff you used to get for free.

Turns out that more and more travelers actually like the separate charges.

“One thing that our research has shown,” Henry Hartevedlt, president of travel industry analytics firm Atmosphere Research told USA Today, “is that more than two-thirds of U.S. leisure airline passengers now feel that the unbundling of the coach product and letting people buy what they want and need on an à la carte basis is actually something they like because it helps them stick to their budget.”

This is a positive way to look at something that’s undoubtedly here to stay. And now if you hear someone complain about bag fees at the airport, you’ll know why it’s done the way it’s done, which is really sweet satisfaction in itself.

Of course, there's always this unusual workaround courtesy of Reddit user Old_Man_Withers, "I Fedex my luggage to the hotel and carry nothing on the plane but my laptop for work. It doesn't matter if it's 2 days or two months, I ship it. The hotel has it waiting in my room when I get there and I ship it back home from there when I'm done. No random inspections, no chances of loss without recompense, fully trackable... I see no downside that isn't worth the 50-100 bucks it costs."