When a dad showed how drums can unlock kids' creativity, the White House noticed.

Let's be real: How many times can a parent listen to "The Wheels on the Bus" without losing his or her mind?

"Make it stop!" GIF via "The Simpsons."


The answer differs for everyone (it's about two times for me), but hey — when it comes to music for our kids, we have to roll with the options that are given to us.

Thankfully, one dad decided to flip the script on children's music, and even the White House took notice (more on that later).

Meet Norm Jones, a professional musician who lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons.

Norm enjoying some smooth beats by the ocean. All photos from Norm Jones and used with permission.

When he became a father, he tried to search for music for his kids that was "cool," but very little suited his tastes. Instead, he did what any good musician would do: He took matters into his own hands.

"I was looking for music that had interesting grooves, soulful melodies, and clever lyrics, but there really wasn't a go-to source for kids' music at the time," Norm told me. "So I did my best to fill the void."

That sparked the birth of Rhythm Child, a small company Norm created with his wife, Heather. It provides parents and teachers with the opportunity to share engaging musical interaction with their children and students. This is done by introducing kids to the importance of rhythm, movement, and diverse sounds.

Music can have huge educational benefits for kids, and Norm wanted the world to know it.

Numerous studies have shown how music can help kids with intelligence, social skills, emotional awareness, language development, and coordination. Additionally, Norm believes it's a much better option than the growing trend of kids burying their noses in their tablets, cellphones, or other devices for hours on end.


"Get off that iPad, kid!"

"In an effort to become more connected, adults are constantly staring at their phones and instead are becoming less connected with the world around them," Norm said. "This epidemic of distraction is being passed along to our children, and it has to stop. Music and rhythm can help."

Nobody is on trial when it comes to device usage; after all, electronic music is a form of expression, too. The problem arises when we allow our devices to control us instead of the other way around.

"In an effort to be more connected, adults are constantly staring at their phones and instead are becoming less connected with the world around them. This epidemic of distraction is being passed along to our children, and it has to stop. Music and rhythm can help."

So how does Norm use music to inspire children? Drumroll, please.

Drums.


Norm uses the beat of a drum as a teaching tool.

The dude is a percussionist and a damn good one. So good, in fact, that he once won the grand prize in the children's category of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

He travels the state of California to introduce children to the instrument as a tool for education, entertainment, and empowerment. As Norm said, "Most importantly, I've been able to introduce children to a part of themselves that they might not even know exists."

He holds concerts.

He visits schools.

And no matter how big or small the audience is, he ensures everyone in attendance has a drum to play.

This little one is focusing hard on keeping the beat.

"When I first started, I was bringing anything that was safe for kids to hit in my garage," Norm admitted. "After a couple of years, I partnered with Remo Drums, and we provide the instruments to everyone in the audience, sometimes as many as 300."

After receiving a lot attention for his work, Norm received an invitation to perform on the White House lawn for its annual Easter Egg Roll in 2011.


It was the thrill of a lifetime for Norm to perform at the White House.


Because of Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative, all of the acts on stage needed to have some element of physical activity for the event. Norm certainly had that covered.

"Rhythm Child was recognized for the interactive drumming that went along with our music, and once we were pitched to the main folks at the White House, we got in," Norm beamed. "It was definitely a game changer to have the First Family recognize our work."

So what's next for Norm and Rhythm Child?

More drumming, of course.

The happy hands of the little drummer boys and girls.

He's reached thousands of kids in California and now plans to expand beyond the state to perform in schools and concert venues across America.

"We are responsible for preparing our children to be leaders and critical thinkers," Norm said. "In order to do that, we need to find ways to expand their creative expression. I'm just doing my small part to help."

This man is absolutely helping. Other than being a valuable teaching tool, music is a universal language that unifies people of all backgrounds.

Because all it takes is a drum and a couple of mallets, and you'll find a new friend.

If you're a parent who gets an anxiety attack over the thought of your kids playing with loud drums, is it any worse than the little ones playing Angry Birds on a device or blowing up pixelated terrorists on an Xbox?

Only you can answer that.

"We are responsible for preparing our children to be leaders and critical thinkers. In order to do that, we need to find ways to expand their creative expression. I'm just doing my small part to help."

In the meantime, Norm has shifted his focus to what brought him to this place to begin with: being a good dad.

"This all started as my way of being a good father and applying my life's passion to also benefit my kids. If I can use that passion to also benefit kids all over the world, then my lifelong dream will become a reality."

Word.

Now let's hope moms and dads will help their kids keep the beat.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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