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This poet laureate will make your brain work. Plus 4 other facts about his life and work.

Gosh, this guy is impressive.

Who'd have thought the son of two migrant workers could rise to the pinnacle of poetry honor?

The United States Library of Congress has appointed Juan Felipe Herrera national poet laureate. And, wow, he is extraordinary.


Juan Felipe Herrera. Image by Slowking4/Wikimedia Commons.

As a child, Herrera lived a nomadic life out of tents and trailers on farm roads throughout California. His folks, both migrant farmworkers from Mexico, moved with the seasons of agriculture for the often hazardous and thankless work in the fields.

Herrera and his father. Image via University of California Riverside/YouTube.

Despite steep social and economic odds, Herrera has achieved the top of his art on a mountain of original talent, unshakeable work ethic, and passion. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said Herrera was selected as poet laureate because his poems “champion voices, traditions and histories, as well as a cultural perspective, which is a vital part of our larger American identity."

Here are five great things to know about the nation's premier wordsmith:

1. He WILL make your brain work.

Herrera's writing is riddled with cultural references and mind-scrambling metaphors, but the images he conjures can launch even the least versed of his audience into a state of wonder.

Image via Poets.org/YouTube.

2. His poems are meant to be heard.

Many of Herrera's poems were written for spoken delivery. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, he spoke of his humble beginnings with spoken word:

"I used to stand on the corner in San Diego with poems sticking out of my hip pocket, asking people if there was a place where I could read poems. The audience is half of the poem."

In this video, Herrera reads excerpts from a few of his poems, beginning with "187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross The Border," a call-and-response piece that involves the audience in an affirmation of each line of the story.

3. He's down with the kids.

Herrera's contemporaries are pretty excited about his knack for connecting young people to poetry. And with the rising popularity of spoken word among American youth, his appointment comes at a great time.

Herrera with a bilingual class in 1984. GIFs via Rick Tejada-Flores/YouTube.

Robert Casper of the Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress is stoked about Herrera:

"He speaks poetry in a way that I think is super-inspiring. ... He's the kind of poet who gives you permission to love poetry, to be excited about it, to be energized by it. To think that it's something freeing and fun but also relevant to the issues we face, the challenges we have; to understanding the world we're in."

4. He's an icon of recognition for a growing community.

Herrera is the first Latino — Chicano (Mexican-American), to be specific — to ever receive this honor. Latinos, who represent 17% of the U.S. population, are an important part of the country's cultural tapestry.

Image by Voces de la Frontera/Flickr.

As much of Herrera's writing focuses on working-class Latino experiences, a lot of people are very excited to see their heritage recognized in a culturally significant way.

5. He cares about the world and all its people.

In an interview with Washington Post, Ron Charles asks Herrera about a line from his book "Senegal Taxi" that goes, "Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!" to which he replied:

“Waking up is the biggest thing. I'm a political poet — let us say a human poet, a poet that's concerned with the plight of people who suffer. If words can be of assistance, then that's what I'm going to use."

And if that's not reason enough to love him, check out this video playlist of readings and interviews with Herrera. It won't take long to make you a fan. Then you can send him a congratulatory tweet to what has to be one of the best handles in the Twittersphere: @cilantroman.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

A young woman drinking bottled water outdoors before exercising.



The Story of Bottled Waterwww.youtube.com

Here are six facts from the video above by The Story of Stuff Project that I'll definitely remember next time I'm tempted to buy bottled water.

1. Bottled water is more expensive than tap water (and not just a little).

via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube


A Business Insider column noted that two-thirds of the bottled water sold in the United States is in individual 16.9-ounce bottles, which comes out to roughly $7.50 per gallon. That's about 2,000 times higher than the cost of a gallon of tap water.

And in an article in 20 Something Finance, G.E. Miller investigated the cost of bottled versus tap water for himself. He found that he could fill 4,787 20-ounce bottles with tap water for only $2.10! So if he paid $1 for a bottled water, he'd be paying 2,279 times the cost of tap.

2. Bottled water could potentially be of lower quality than tap water.


via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube

Fiji Water ran an ad campaign that was pretty disparaging about the city of Cleveland. Not a wise move. The city ordered a test of the snooty brand's water and found that Fiji Water contained levels of arsenic that weren't seen in the city's water supply.

How was that possible? Sarah Goodman of the New York Times explains:

" Bottled water manufacturers are not required to disclose as much information as municipal water utilities because of gaps in federal oversight authority. Bottom line: The Food and Drug Administration oversees bottled water, and U.S. EPA is in charge of tap water. FDA lacks the regulatory authority of EPA."

3. The amount of bottled water we buy every week in the U.S. alone could circle the globe five times!

via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube

That sounded like it just had to be impossible, so we looked into it. Here's what our fact-checkers found:

"According to the video, ' People in the U.S. buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week.' National Geographic says for 2011, bottled water sales hit 9.1 billion gallons (roughly 34 billion liters).

A 'typical' water bottle is a half-liter, so that's about 68 billion bottles per year. Divided by 52 weeks would be a little over 1 billion bottles of water sold per week in the U.S. Because that's based on a smaller 'typical' bottle size, it seems reasonable that a half billion bottles a week could be accurate.

The Earth is about 131.5 million feet around, so yep, half a billion bottles of varying sizes strung end-to-end could circle the Earth five times."

4. Paying for bottled water makes us chumps.

via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube

Beverage companies have turned bottled water into a multibillion-dollar industry through a concept known as manufactured demand. Bottled water advertisements used a combination of scare tactics (Tap water bad!) and seduction (From the purest mountain streams EVER!) to reel us in.

Well, we now know their claims about the superior quality of bottled water are mostly bogus. And research shows that anywhere from a quarter to 45% of all bottled water comes from the exact same place as your tap water (which, to reiterate, is so cheap it's almost free).

via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube

5. Bottled water is FILTHY.

It takes oil — lots of it — to make plastic bottles. According to the video, the energy in the amount of oil it takes to make the plastic water bottles sold in the U.S. in one year could fuel a million cars. That's not even counting the oil it takes to ship bottled water around the world.

And once we've guzzled our bottled water, up to 80% of the empty bottles end up in landfills or noxious-gas-producing incinerators. The rest is either recycled or shipped to countries like India where poor people without environmental and labor protections have to deal with it.

On top of all that, the process of manufacturing plastic bottles is polluting public water supplies, which makes it easier for bottled water companies to sell us their expensive product.

6. There are 750 million people around the world who don't have access to clean water.

Photo by H2O for Life.

A child dies every minute from a waterborne disease. And for me, that's the core of what makes bottled water so evil.

The video wraps by comparing buying bottled water to smoking while pregnant. That may sound extreme, but after learning everything I just did about the bottled water industry, I can't disagree.

via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube

If you're properly disgusted, here are a few ways you can help destroy the bottled water industry:

  1. Don't buy bottled water. Get a reusable water bottle. The savings will add up.
  2. Rally your schools, workplaces, and communities to ban bottled water.
  3. Demand that your city, state, and federal governments invest in better water infrastructure.


This article originally appeared on 5.7.15

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

A young girl relaxing in an inner tube.


There’s a popular trend where parents often share they are creating “core memories” for their children on social media posts, whether it’s planning an elaborate vacation or creating an extra-special holiday moment.

While it’s important for parents to want their kids to have happy childhoods, sometimes it feels presumptuous when they believe they can manufacture a core memory. Especially when a child’s inner world is so much different than an adult's.

Carol Kim, a mother of 3 and licensed Marriage and family Therapist, known as ParentingResilience on Instagram, recently shared the “5 Things Kids Will Remember from Their Childhood” on her page. The fascinating insight is that none of the entries had to do with extravagant vacations, over-the-top birthday parties, or Christmas gifts that kids could only dream about.


According to Kim, the five things that kids will remember all revolve around their parents' presence and support. "Notice how creating good memories doesn’t require expensive toys or lavish family trips. Your presence is the most valuable present you can give to your child,” Kim wrote in the post’s description.

1. Quality time together

"Taking some time to focus only on your child is very special. Playing games, reading books, or just talking can create strong, happy memories. These moments show your child that you are present with them."

2. Words of encouragement

"Encouraging words can greatly impact your child during both good times and tough times. Kids often seek approval from their parents and your positive words can be a strong motivator and source of comfort.... It can help kids believe in themselves, giving them the confidence to take on new challenges and keep going when things get tough."

parenting, core memories, quality time

A mother and child riding a small bike.

via Gustavo Fring/Pexels

3. Family traditions

“It creates a feeling of stability and togetherness … Family traditions make children feel like they belong and are part of a larger story, deepening their sense of security and understanding of family identity and values.”

4. Acts of kindness

“Seeing and doing kind things leaves a strong impression on children. It shows them the importance of being kind and caring. They remember how good it feels to help others and to see their parents helping too.”

5. Comfort during tough times

"Knowing they can rely on you during tough times makes them feel secure and build trust. … Comforting them when they're struggling shows them they are loved no matter what, helping them feel emotionally secure and strong."

parenting, core memories, quality time

A family making a meal together.

via Elina Fairytale/Pexels

Kim’s strategies are all beautiful ways to be present in our children’s lives and to communicate our support. However, these seemingly simple behaviors can be challenging for some parents who are dealing with issues stemming from their pasts.

“If you find barriers to providing these things, it’s important to reflect on why,” Kim writes in the post. “There could be several reasons, such as parenting in isolation (we’re not meant to parent alone), feeling overstimulated, dealing with past trauma, or struggling with mental health. Recognizing these challenges is the first step to addressing them and finding support.”

@variety/TikTok

The way Brunson comforted Aniston speaks volumes.


For those not familiar with Variety's “Actors on Actors,” it’s a live interview series where two actors discuss various aspects of their craft and career. Often, actors will be paired together because of a common thread. Margot Robbie and Cillian Murphy during the height of Barbenheimer, for example. Or Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt—both from “The Devil Wears Prada.”

So it’s no surprise that two comedy queens, Jennifer Aniston and Quinta Brunson, would be paired together for the latest “Actors on Actors” segment. What people are astounded by, however, is the way Brunson handled a very serious moment.

At one point during the conversation, a producer off camera suggested that Brunson ask Aniston “what it’s like to watch ‘Friends’ now.”

This clearly struck a chord with Aniston, who, already tearing up, said “don’t make me cry.”

Noticing this Brunson said in a soft voice, “You’re already crying. Do you want a minute?,” before assuring her “We don’t have to talk about [this].”

@varietymagazine Jennifer Aniston gets emotional when asked about "Friends." #ActorsOnActors ♬ original sound - Variety

Tilting her head up to not let the tears fall, Aniston replied “No, no, sorry, I just started thinking about...” before Brunson quickly said “I know. Yeah.”

It’s evident that Aniston’s emotional reaction is triggered by the loss of her former “Friends” cast mate Matthew Perry, who died October 28, 2023. The pair’s friendship remained strong even after the show ended in 2004—Perry even revealed that Aniston was the member of their group who reached out to him “the most” during his sobriety journey.

All this to say, Aniston was understandably triggered by the question. Brunson saw that, and acted accordingly. She once again offered “we don’t have to talk about it,” waited while Aniston grabbed a tissue to compose herself, then masterfully guided the conversation to a joke.

“So, Jen, ‘Friends’ is turning 30…and you are turning 30…When you were a baby on that show, you were so advanced…your fine motor skills were insane”

Viewers applauded the “Abbott Elementary” star for “taking care” of Aniston’s emotional wellbeing.

”Quinta gets props for saying to Jennifer, ‘We don’t have to go there if you don’t want to.’ I get why the producers were trying to create that buzzworthy moment, but I also appreciate Quinta’s willingness to derail it for Jennifer’s sake,” one person wrote on Youtube

“Quinta’s little ‘I know’ — it was so simple but so kind and empathetic,” added another.

Over on TikTok, comments were just as complimentary.

“Quinta handled this masterfully,” wrote one person.

Another echoed, “How Quinta handled that- that’s why she’s where she’s at.”

Seeing people take care of one another never gets old.

You can watch the full conversation between Brunson and Aniston below:


Identity

Cardiff man helps homeless women after they were refused water at McDonald’s

“I’m no saint, but this small act of kindness cost me about £20.”

Jonathon Pengelly and Polly.

It goes without saying that water is a basic human right that should never be denied to anyone. So when a homeless woman named Polly in Cardiff, Wales, was refused a drink at her local McDonald's recently, a good Samaritan wouldn't stand for it.

Jonathon Pengelly couldn't believe his eyes when the cashier told the woman no. "I don't know what was going through their minds but a lady, clearly homeless was asking for a basic human right; and for a multi-billion pound company, for them to say no is disgusting!" Pengelly wrote on Facebook.

Pengelly was behind the woman in line, so he offered to buy her and her friend something to eat and was shocked at Polly's response.

"She asked for a single cheeseburger and that was it," Pengelly said. "We bought as much as we could carry so I knew she wasn't going to be hungry." He then sat and ate with them and was blown away by their positive attitudes. So he brought them back to his house, where they showered and brushed their teeth. While they cleaned up, Pengelly prepared some food to tide the women over for a few days.


Pengelly posted about the evening's events on Facebook to raise awareness about the problem of homelessness in the U.K. "I'm no saint, but this small act of kindness cost me about £20," he wrote. "I know 90% of people reading this will earn about 10 times that a day. … If you see someone on the streets, don't look down on them like they're nothing. You don't know what they've been though! Spare a little thought!"

Pengelly's experience didn't just open up his eyes to a real problem, he made a friend as well. "Me and Polly have chatted on the phone and I've promised her that she will never go hungry or cold again!" he said.

Here's Pengelly's full post:

"Well, my night took an unexpected turn! So I finished my night out, ended up in the dreaded McDonald's queue. I couldn't help but notice the lady in front me, all she asked for was a cup of hot water.

The member of staff told her no. I don't know what was going through their mind but a lady, clearly homeless was asking for a basic human right; and for a multi billion pound company, for them to say no is disgusting!

My heart was shattered! So I spoke to her and told her to order what she wanted, expecting her to order everything. I was so shocked. She asked for a single cheese burger and that was it. We bought as much as we could carry so I knew she wasn't going to be hungry.

I couldn't just leave this lady go, she was so warming and so lovely. So I sat with her, on the cold hard floor, in the middle of winter and you know what I did? I cried my eyes out.

You know if people of Cardiff walked passed them and didn't do anything because, financially, they weren't in the position, I would understand. But people walked passed and laughed at them. I don't care who you are, If this was you; and you're reading this I hate you!

When I got to speak to them I was genuinely shocked at their story and how educated they were! So full of life and enthusiasm and they literally have nothing!

I invited polly and her mate back to my house and we all cooked enough food to feed them and their friends for the next few nights. We boxed them up and packed them in their bags.

Polly and her mate have had showers, brushed their teeth and they both said they have ever felt so appreciated in their life.
I'm no saint, but this small act of kindness cost me about £20. I know 90% of people reading this will earn about 10 times that a day.

It costs nothing to be kind, and I genuinely hope people share this to raise awareness of homelessness throughout the UK!
Me and polly have chatted on the phone and I've promised her that she will never go hungry or cold again! I've given her blankets, pillows and a backpack full of food.

If you see someone on the streets, don't look down on them like they're nothing. You don't know what they've been though! spare a little thought!

I don't care if I look like shit cause I'm crying!

Polly, you've changed me!"


This article originally appeared on 08.10.18


Science

A 6-year-old asks ​Neil DeGrasse Tyson an adorable question. He gives her an awesome answer.

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." — Albert Einstein

Neil DeGrasse Tyson at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.

I recently spent some time with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. He's known not only for breaking down stereotypes about what kinds of people go into science, but he has actively stood up and spoken against those who would close its doors, especially to young women.

So when Neil was asked this question by a little girl during a public speech, he gave one of the best answers I've ever heard. It may drive some parents crazy, but it also might just help change the world.


This article originally appeared on 01.14.15