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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

Pop Culture

Here’s a paycheck for a McDonald’s worker. And here's my jaw dropping to the floor.

So we've all heard the numbers, but what does that mean in reality? Here's one year's wages — yes, *full-time* wages. Woo.

Making a little over 10,000 for a yearly salary.


I've written tons of things about minimum wage, backed up by fact-checkers and economists and scholarly studies. All of them point to raising the minimum wage as a solution to lifting people out of poverty and getting folks off of public assistance. It's slowly happening, and there's much more to be done.

But when it comes right down to it, where the rubber meets the road is what it means for everyday workers who have to live with those wages. I honestly don't know how they do it.


Ask yourself: Could I live on this small of a full-time paycheck? I know what my answer is.

(And note that the minimum wage in many parts of the county is STILL $7.25, so it would be even less than this).

paychecks, McDonalds, corporate power, broken system

One year of work at McDonalds grossed this worker $13,811.18.

assets.rebelmouse.io

This story was written by Brandon Weber and was originally appeared on 02.26.15

Family

Husband is certain wife’s baby name will cause too much pain for their child. Is he wrong?

"It's going to cause him major problems with passports and ID as well as job and college applications."

A father can't handle the name his wife chose for the baby.

It’s one thing to debate with your spouse over giving your child a name that is so unique it could cause them trouble. It’s another to fight with your spouse over giving your child a name that is so incredibly common it’s used as a placeholder when an unidentified man has passed away.

This was the problem a Reddit user (The_Doeberman), whose last name is Doe, faced when his wife wanted to name their baby boy after her grandfather, John.

“My wife is six months pregnant and wants to name our future son after her grandfather, who died of cancer in September. His name was John,” the husband wrote on the AITA forum

“I liked her grandfather, and I know he and my wife were very close, but I won't even consider it, not even for our son's middle name,” he continued. “I feel that's just setting him up for a world of problems, especially when he grows up and has to apply for jobs. Nobody's going to believe ‘John Doe’ is his real name.”


The wife thought that the husband was being difficult for vetoing the name and claimed he was “exaggerating” the issues the child would face.

But he has a pretty strong argument. The name John Doe is synonymous with the unclaimed dead body that someone finds in a roadside motel in the middle of nowhere or an anonymous victim of trauma that can’t be named in court documents. It’s also often used as a placeholder, which could cause the child problems when applying for college or a job.



There is no exact answer to why John Doe was chosen to represent the “everyman,” but it has been used in the UK for hundreds of years. It’s believed because John Doe was a popular name at the time. Later, in the US, unidentified females would come to be known as Jane Doe.

The husband used Reddit’s AITA page to ask whether he was in the wrong and the commenters were overwhelmingly supportive of him.

One commenter thought that "John Doe" was a bad idea but gave a solution that could work for the wife. “People will think it's a fake name. It's going to cause him major problems with passports and ID as well as job and college applications. He may have issues with medical stuff etc.,” they wrote. Instead, they suggested using an alternative version of “John” from another language.

“As an example only: Look for other languages' version of John. For example Eoin is the Irish way of spelling Owen. Eoin in itself is the Irish version of John…” they wrote.


Another commenter was blunt about their objection.

“I'm not superstitious, but I'd feel uncomfortable having a kid whose name basically stands for ‘found dead in the park, stab wound to the chest, no ID,’” they added.

One commenter noted all of the legal troubles that could come with having the name John Doe.

“I imagine a lifetime of getting stopped by the TSA for enhanced screening, of job applications being tossed for being fake and just everything being harder than it should be because you have a fake name,” they wrote. “If giving him the grandfather's name is so important, why not give him the grandpa's middle name?”

In the end, it's touching for a mother to name their newborn son after her grandfather, but according to the father and a legion of people online, “John Doe” simply carries too much baggage and would be more of a hindrance than a tribute. The good news is that there are many ways that the wife can pay homage to her grandfather that won’t make her son’s life more difficult.

Pop Culture

Middle class families share how much money they have in savings and it's eye-opening

"I transfer money each paycheck but always end up needing to transfer it back."

Many middle class families are sharing that they have nothing in savings right now.

According to an April 2024 Gallup poll, 54% of Americans identify as part of the middle class, with 39% identifying as "middle class" and 15% identifying as "upper-middle class." That percentage has held fairly steady for years, but for many, what it feels like to be a middle class American has shifted.

Notably, inflation caused by the pandemic has hit middle class families hard, with incomes not keeping up with cost-of-living increases. Housing costs have skyrocketed in many areas of the country, mortgage interest rates have risen to levels not seen since the pre-Obama era and grocery bills have increased significantly. One government study found that cost of living has increased between around $800 and $1,300 a month depending on the state since 2021, putting a squeeze on everyone, including the middle class.

One woman shared that her family is just getting by and asked other people who identify as middle class to "chime in" with what they have in their savings account.

"I swear, every paycheck I am putting money into my savings, but needing to transfer it back within a few days," shared @abbyy..rosee on TikTok. "My registration is due. My husband's registration is due. He needed two new tires, even though they had a warranty. That's $300. My oldest needs braces, he needs a palate expander, that's $120 a month. Not to mention groceries are $200 more a week. Forget about feeding your family great ingredients because who has $500 a week to spend on perfect ingredients to feed your family?"


@abbyy..rosee

somethings gotta give #savings #middleclass #relatable

She explained that her husband makes enough money that they should be able to live comfortably, and that she quit her job because the cost of daycare was more than she was making.

"At some point, something has to give," she said. "What is going on? How do I save money?"

People in the comments chimed in with their savings account totals and it was quite eye-opening. Many people shared that they have $0 saved.

"We make the most money we ever have and have zero savings. We live paycheck to paycheck and every month I don’t know how we get by."

"I think the middle class is 1 personal disaster away from bankruptcy."

"Y’all got savings accounts?!?! 😂"

"I used to freak out if I had under $10k in savings, now I’m happy when I have over $150. 😫"

"We make almost 100,000 a year with no savings!!!! It's always something!!"

"I'm lucky if we have $500-$1K for an emergency. every single time we start saving something happens. the vet, the cars, the kids... something."

"Savings account? I transfer money each paycheck but always end up needing to transfer it back. My husband makes great money too but we are scraping by."

"$803 but we have to pay a $750 deductible this week b/c my Husband hit a deer soooo… back at it 😭 It’s exhausting. Constantly draining it, refilling it, transferring."

Some people shared that they do have some savings, but several said it was because they'd had an inheritance or other chunk of money come their way. Many people shared that their savings has dwindled as increased costs have taken their toll. Some people gave lifestyle advice to save money, but most agreed that just the basics have gotten so expensive it's harder to make ends meet much less put extra into savings.

Thankfully, the inflation issue appears to be waning, but even just plateauing at their current financial reality isn't ideal for many American families. Middle class is supposed to be a comfortable place to be—not rich, but well enough off to feel secure. That's not how many middle class folks feel, though. Most Americans don't have anything close to the amount of money saved that is recommended across the age spectrum, but at least hearing that others are in the same boat is somewhat comforting.

It can be vulnerable to put your financial reality out there, but it's helpful to hear what other people are doing and dealing with so we all feel less alone when we're struggling. Perhaps if people were more open about money, we'd all be able to help one another find ways to improve our financial situations rather than lamenting our empty savings accounts and wondering how to change it.

A kind nurse offers a flower.

As the old saying goes, “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.” Sadly, this hard truth becomes increasingly evident as we reach our final days. The things we take for granted today, such as our health, relationships, and time itself, become much more precious when we know they are about to end.

How much happier would we be every day if we lived with the perspective of those who are experiencing their final days?

Julie McFadden, known to her hundreds of thousands of followers on social media, as Hospice Nurse Julie, helps people appreciate their lives by regularly sharing her experiences with those who are living their final days.

Recently, she stopped by Rob Moore’s “The Disruptors” podcast, where she shared some of the big lessons she’s learned from the dying. Moore is a public speaker, entrepreneur and bestselling author of “Life Leverage.”


Given his background as an entrepreneur, Moore assumed that when people reach their final days, they regret the amount of time they spend working. "People definitely say that. 'I wish I didn't work my life away. I wish I didn't wait until retirement to do the things I wanted to do,'" McFadden said. However, there is another big regret that many share. “The main thing people say, that I don't hear a lot of people mention, is ‘I wish I would have appreciated my health,’” she added.

“I think the biggest thing I hear from people [who are] dying is that they wish they would have appreciated how well they how well they felt before,” she continued.

It seems that when people’s health begins to decline, they miss the vitality they never fully appreciated.

"I think most people take for granted things that have always been,” she told Moore. “You know, it's really easy to forget. We're so lucky to be alive in this moment. We're taking a breath right now. We're here on a rock that's like soaring through space. I mean, that alone can blow your mind."

McFadden believes that her profession reminds her to be grateful because dying is just as natural as living.

“I think because of my job, it's easier for me to see how once-in-a-lifetime this is. The fact that everything works together in our bodies to make us live and grow and I see that in-depth, too. I see how our bodies are biologically built to die,” she said. “That, right there, is so fascinating. We literally have built-in mechanisms to help us die. Our body can naturally do it. That's wild."

To get the most out of the miracle of life, McFadden writes a gratitude list every night so she’s sure to appreciate everything she has. Because, in the blink of an eye, it can be gone. “I like the fact that I can breathe, I'm walking around, I can feel the sunshine – little things like that,” she shared.

Our lives are filled with incredible gifts, whether it’s the people we love, the amazing things our bodies can do, or the places we get to see. But without gratitude, these beautiful gifts can easily go unnoticed and unappreciated. Practicing gratitude allows us to cherish these moments, so we’re fulfilled by what we have, instead of disillusioned by what we don’t.

Pop Culture

What is 'Generation Jones'? The unique qualities of the not-quite-Gen-X-baby-boomers.

This "microgeneration" had a different upbringing than their fellow boomers.

Generation Jones includes Michelle Obama, George Clooney, Kamala Harris, Keanu Reeves and more.

We hear a lot about the major generation categories—boomers, Gen X, millennials, Gen Z and the up-and-coming Gen Alpha. But there are folks who don't quite fit into those boxes. These in-betweeners, sometimes called "cuspers," are members of microgenerations that straddle two of the biggies.

"Xennial" is the nickname for those who fall on the cusp of Gen X and millennial, but there's also a lesser-known microgeneration that straddles Gen X and baby boomers. The folks born from 1954 to 1965 are known as Generation Jones, and they've been thrust into the spotlight as people try to figure out what generation to consider 59-year-old Vice President Kamala Harris.

Like President Obama before her, Harris is a Gen Jonesernot exactly a classic baby boomer but not quite Gen X. Born in October 1964, Harris falls just a few months shy of official Gen X territory. But what exactly differentiates Gen Jones from the boomers and Gen Xers that flank it?


"Generation Jones" was coined by writer, television producer and social commentator Jonathan Pontell to describe the decade of Americans who grew up in the '60s and '70s. As Pontell wrote of Gen Jonesers in Politico:

"We fill the space between Woodstock and Lollapalooza, between the Paris student riots and the anti-globalisation protests, and between Dylan going electric and Nirvana going unplugged. Jonesers have a unique identity separate from Boomers and GenXers. An avalanche of attitudinal and behavioural data corroborates this distinction."

Pontell describes Jonesers as "practical idealists" who were "forged in the fires of social upheaval while too young to play a part." They are the younger siblings of the boomer civil rights and anti-war activists who grew up witnessing and being moved by the passion of those movements but being met with a fatigued culture by the time they themselves came of age. Sometimes, they're described as the cool older siblings of Gen X. Unlike their older boomer counterparts, most Jonesers were not raised by WWII veteran fathers and were too young to be drafted into Vietnam, leaving them in between on military experience.

Gen Jones gets its name from the competitive "keeping up with the Joneses" spirit that spawned during their populous birth years, but also from the term "jonesin'," meaning an intense craving, that they coined—a drug reference but also a reflection of the yearning to make a difference that their "unrequited idealism" left them with. According to Pontell, their competitiveness and identity as a "generation aching to act" may make Jonesers particularly effective leaders:

"What makes us Jonesers also makes us uniquely positioned to bring about a new era in international affairs. Our practical idealism was created by witnessing the often unrealistic idealism of the 1960s. And we weren’t engaged in that era’s ideological battles; we were children playing with toys while boomers argued over issues. Our non-ideological pragmatism allows us to resolve intra-boomer skirmishes and to bridge that volatile Boomer-GenXer divide. We can lead."

Time will tell whether the United States will end up with another Generation Jones leader, but with President Biden withdrawing his candidacy, it has now become a distinct possibility.

Of note in discussions over Kamala Harris's generational status is the fact that generations aren't just calculated by birth year but by a person's cultural reality. Some have made the argument that Harris is culturally more Gen X than boomer, though there doesn't seem to be any record of her claiming any particular generation as her own. However, a swath of Gen Z has staked their own claim on her as "brat"—a term singer Charli XCX thrust into the political arena with a post on X that read "kamala IS brat." That may be nonsensical to most older folks, but for Gen Z, it's a glowing endorsement from one of the top Gen Z musicians of the moment.