Why Talking About Gun Control Laws During A Tragedy Is Not Disrespectful
Refusing to talk about gun control laws in the wake of a tragedy? Now that's disrespectful.
Wow... just wow.
But in case you're not, here's the gist: Moby Dick is the name of a huge albino sperm whale.
(Get your mind outta the gutter.)
OK, technically, the narrator Ishmael survives. So it's actually a happy ending (kind of)!
Illustration from an early edition of Moby-Dick
Image from Wikimedia Commons.
It's chock-full of beautiful passages and dense symbolism and deep thematic resonance and all those good things that earned it a top spot in the musty canon of important literature.
There's also a lot of mundane descriptions about the whaling trade as well (like, a lot). That's because it came out back when commercial whaling was still a thing we did.
A non-albino mother and baby sperm whale.
In fact, humans used to hunt more than 50,000 whales each year to use for oil, meat, baleen, and oil. (Yes, I wrote oil twice.) Then, in 1946, the International Whaling Commission stepped in and said "Hey, wait a minute, guys. There's only a few handful of these majestic creatures left in the entire world, so maybe we should try to not kill them anymore?"
And even then, commercial whaling was still legal in some parts of the world until as recently as 1986.
Tail in the water.
Whale's tail pale ale GIF via GoPro/YouTube
What are the odds of that? Honestly it's hard to calculate since we can't exactly swim up to a bowhead and say, "Hey, how old are you?" and expect a response. (Also that's a rude question — jeez.)
Thanks to some thoughtful collaboration between researchers and traditional Inupiat whalers (who are still allowed to hunt for survival), scientists have used amino acids in the eyes of whales and harpoon fragments lodged in their carcasses to determine the age of these enormous animals — and they found at least three bowhead whales who were living prior to 1850.
Granted those are bowheads, not sperm whales like the fictional Moby Dick, (and none of them are albino, I think), but still. Pretty amazing, huh?
This bowhead is presumably in adolescence, given its apparent underwater moping.
GIF via National Geographic.
Barring these few centenarian leviathans, most of the whales still kickin' it today are between 20 and 70 years old. That's because most whale populations were reduced to 10% or less of their numbers between the 18th and 20th centuries, thanks to a few over-eager hunters (and by a few, I mean all of them).
Today, sperm whales are considered one of the most populous species of massive marine mammals; bowheads, on the other hand, are still in trouble, despite a 20% increase in population since the mid-1980s. Makes those few elderly bowheads that much more impressive, huh?
Southern Right Whales hangin' with a paddleboarder in the Great Australian Bight.
GIF via Jaimen Hudson.
We might not need to worry our real-life Captain Ahabs anymore, but our big aquatic buddies are still being threatened by industrialization — namely, from oil drilling in the Arctic and the Great Australian Bight.
In the off-chance that companies like Shell and BP manage not to spill millions of gallons of harmful crude oil into the water, the act of drilling alone is likely to maim or kill millions of animals, and the supposedly-safer sonic blasting will blow out their eardrums or worse.
This influx of industrialization also affects their migratory patterns — threatening not only the humans who depend on them, but also the entire marine ecosystem.
And I mean, c'mon — who would want to hurt this adorable face?
Image from Pixabay.
If you want another whale to make it to his two-hundred-and-eleventy-first birthday (which you should because I hear they throw great parties), then sign this petition to protect the waters from Big Oil and other industrial threats.
I guarantee Moby Dick will appreciate it.
This article originally appeared on 11.04.15
Parenting through the teen years takes a lot more time and energy than people expect.
When you have a baby, it's expected that you'll take some maternity or paternity leave from work. When you have a teen, it's expected that you'll be in the peak of your career, but some parents are finding the need to take a "teen-ternity leave" from work to support their adolescent kids.
It's a flip from what has become the traditional trajectory for modern parents. Despite the fact that the U.S. is the only developed nation in the world to not have mandated paid parental leave, most parents take at least some time off when a baby is born to recover physically from pregnancy and birth and to settle into life with their tiny new human. Many parents then opt to have one parent stay home full-time during their children's younger years, as full-time childcare is often cost prohibitive, and raising babies and toddlers requires an enormous amount of time, attention and energy.
Parents often return to work when their kids are in school full-time, and many feel a bit of a respite from the relentlessness of parenting as their kids become more independent and capable of doing things on their own. It's not that older kids don't need their parents, but their needs are different. Physical parenting gives way to more complex emotional parenting as kids get older, and for a while, those emotional challenges are somewhat simple.
Then the tween years come along. Then the teens. And for some parents, a realization hits that parenting kids through puberty takes almost as much time, attention and energy, as toddlers do. Only now, those needs are much more complicated and consequential.
Taking "teen-ternity leave" from work may not be feasible for many or most parents, but those who have the means to take a break from work to focus on family full-time during their kids' teen years shouldn't be judged for it. Raising teens is rarely easy, but for some parents, getting their kids through their teen years is the hardest thing they will ever do.
For one, adolescence is when mental health struggles really come to a head. If you've never parented a child with anxiety, depression, OCD, or some other mental illness, consider yourself fortunate. The mental and emotional toll for parents in that boat is immense, and the amount of time it can take to find the right kind of care and manage the various manifestations of whatever they struggle with can be significant.
Mental health struggles often arise during adolescence.
Another reality of parenting teens that makes going to work challenging is the tendency for teens to spend the better part of the day not wanting to talk and then totally opening up at like 10:30 at night. Late night heart-to-hearts are a hallmark parenting in the teen years, but it can be hard to sustain if you're having to wake up early and head to work in the morning. And the emotional nature of these conversations requires a lot of thought and energy.
Helping with homework becomes more complicated as parents try to pull their advanced math knowledge up from the recesses of their minds, and then there's the transportation problem. Until a teen can drive themselves and unless they have their own car, someone has to take them to and from their various activities. It may sound silly to take time off from work just to drive your teens around, but it's not just the transportation—it's the transportation on top of everything else.
Is all of this just modern overparenting run amok? Not really.
“We often think the heavy parenting lift is for young kids, who need help getting dressed and more supervised playtime. But once you have a teenager, you realize bigger kids, bigger problems,” Amanda Craig PhD, LMFT, family therapist, mom, and author of the book, "Who Are You & What Have You Done with My Kid?: Connect with Your Tween While They Are Still Listening," told Parents.
The pandemic, of course, didn't help matters. Kids who went through that world-changing event during their formative years had their sense of normalcy and safety rocked, not just on an individual level, but a societal one. Research on the brains of teens before and after the pandemic shows there were actual neurobiological impacts of that time period. Teens today have also grown up during a particularly turbulent time in politics with that turbulence shoved in their face continually via social media. It's not surprising that a lot of young people are psychologically struggling and needing more support from their parents than previous teen generations did.
Maybe a teen-ternity leave—which is really just a different form of parental leave—isn't a bad idea. Imagine if we lived in a world where it was actually economically feasible for more families.
The letter was sent in 1959 and she never let him see it.
Tony Trapani and his wife were married for 50 years despite the heartache of being unable to have children. "She wanted children,” Trapani told Fox 17. "She couldn't have any. She tried and tried." Even though they endured the pain of infertility, Tony's love for his wife never wavered and he cherished every moment they spent together.
After his wife passed away when Tony was 81 years old, he undertook the heartbreaking task of sorting out all of her belongings. That’s when he stumbled upon a carefully concealed letter in a filing cabinet hidden for over half a century.
The letter was addressed to Tony and dated March 1959, but this was the first time he had seen it. His wife must have opened it, read it and hid it from him. The letter came from Shirley Childress, a woman Tony had once been close with before his marriage. She reached out, reminiscing about their past and revealing a secret that would change Tony's world forever.
"Dear Tony, I bet you are surprised to hear from me after so many years. I was just thinking about you tonight like so many other nights. But I thought I would write you and find out how you are," the letter reads. "Tony, please don't be angry or surprised to hear this. I have a little boy. He is five-years- old now - grey eyes and beautiful black hair. What I am trying to say Tony is he is your son."
"Please, Tony if you can find it in your heart to forgive me, please come and see him," Shirley wrote in the letter. "Every day he asks me where is his daddy and believe me Tony I can't even answer him anymore. If would be forever grateful to you if you would just see him. ... I'll close now hoping and praying you will answer. P.S. His name is Samuel Duane."
Now, Tony faced the fact that he had a son that would be around 60 years old and he set out to find him. For over a year, Trapani’s sister tried to track down the mysterious Samuel Duane Childress, until she finally contacted his wife, Donna.
Tony and Samuel met in January 2015 and he felt like a new dad. After meeting his father, Samuel said his mother told him she sent the letter, but Tony never responded. "Why my wife didn't tell me," said Trapani. "I don't know. She wanted children. She couldn't have any. She tried and tried."
"I always asked my mom, I said, 'Well what does he look like?'' Samuel said. "She said, 'Well, go look in the mirror."
The two met and caught up on a lifetime of memories with the understanding that they could never change the past. "Just to know him now is so important to me. It's going to fill that void," Samuel said. But just to be sure, Tony took a paternity test to ensure they were father and son.
The test came back negative, revealing that Tony was not the father. The news upset Tony and Samuel, but they still had a unique bond. They shared a relationship with Samuel’s mother and both have been on an incredibly wild ride after Tony found the mysterious letter.
“They're keeping that bond,” Donna said. “That paper doesn't mean anything to him. That bond has been made—and we're going to move on from here.”
There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about the need for this.
Millions of American parents utilize daycare centers while they work. Since most people work during the day, most daycare center hours fall somewhere between 7:30am and 5:30pm. It's rare to find a daycare that's open after normal working hours.
But one "24-hour" daycare in Houston captured people's attention—and sparked a debate—when a mom posted about it on TikTok.
Adventure Kids Playcare in Houston isn't actually open 24 hours a day but it does offer childcare up to 10:00pm during the week and until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. In the video, the mom drops her daughter off and we hear the employee tell her they close at midnight. The mom later says she picked her daughter up at 11:55pm.
Reactions to the video rand the gamut from "24-hour daycares are a brilliant idea for parents who work odd shifts" to "Moms shouldn't be leaving their kids at a daycare late at night just so they can go out," sparking a fascinating and eye-opening discussion.
First, here's the video that kicked off the whole debate:
😅😅🤷🏾♀️ #fypシ゚viral #fyp #girlmom #daughter #momsoftiktok #parenting #momlife
The video hit the popular Instagram account The Shade Room where people debated whether this kind of daycare arrangement was a positive or negative, and there was a wide range of opinions on all sides.
Some folks poo-pooed the idea of a 24-hour daycare center in general, which most people were quick to squash. Not everyone works a 9-to-5 job, and not everyone has access to people who can watch their kids in the evenings when they're at work, so a childcare center that's open late or all night provides a service some working parents might need.
"The convenience of a 24-hour daycare can't be overstated, especially for parents working unconventional hours," shared one X user. "It's a game-changer for the night shift workers and emergency responders who keep our cities running."
But a lot of the debate centered around parents leaving their kids at a care center not to work, but to go out at night and socialize. Some people felt strongly that it was inappropriate for kids to be up well past a standard child's bedtime waiting for their parent to pick them up. Some felt that a parent should have a babysitter come to the house so the child can sleep in their own bed and not be kept awake until late. On the flip side, others pointed out that a late night playing with other kids at a licensed, reputable facility would be fun for a lot of kids, and it may actually be a safer option than hiring a teenager to come stay at your house while your kid sleeps.
Others debated the appropriateness of a mother leaving her child at a facility late at night to go out on the town in general, stating that work is one thing but going out for purely social or personal reasons is another. Interestingly, this element of the discourse seemed to center entirely around mothers, which could be a whole other discussion for another day. Some people claimed that a mom dropping her kid off to go out late is being selfish and putting her needs above her child's. Others pointed out that all mothers—or parents—need breaks sometimes, and no one can judge what another parent does without knowing their full circumstances. As one commenter wrote, "Not everybody has a village."
The final fascinating split in this debate were the parents who feel unsafe leaving their children with anyone other than immediate family versus the parents who feel it's good for kids to have other caregivers and socialize with kids they don't know. The varying levels of trust or mistrust, comfort or fear parents have when it comes to their children offers some insight into how differently people view the world. Is one side right and the other wrong, or is it merely a difference in perception and personal preference?
If nothing else, hopefully the breadth of the discussion opened people's eyes to different viewpoints and to life circumstances they may not have considered. Often we can get stuck looking at and judging things through our own lens, forgetting that there's a whole big world of diverse situations we may not even be aware of that might make one person's "nope" another person's "yes, please and thank you."
Is it disrespectful?
The title of dad or father is a sweet and respectful way to acknowledge a child's special bond with their male parent. It signifies love and respect and shows appreciation for his role in their life. But the title works both ways. The term dad reminds fathers of the responsibility to guide and protect their kids.
The importance of the unique role dads play in their kids’ lives is why a father named Steve was upset with his wife for repeatedly using his first name when referring to him with their preteen children.
The father vented about the situation and asked if he was wrong in a Reddit post with over 10,000 responses.
“My wife recently started using my first name when referring to me to our preteen kids, as in ‘Steve's gonna pick you up from school tomorrow,’” the father wrote on Reddit’s AITA forum. “I asked her not to when I first heard it, saying I don't really like when you use my first name to the kids. Can you say ‘your dad’ or ‘dad’?”
The mother initially replied, “Steve is your name, I don’t see the problem,” but later came to his way of thinking. The problem for Steve was that she didn’t stop the habit altogether. She continued to refer to him as Steve and after he brought it up again, she gave a relatively weak apology.
“It's totally subconscious. It's not like I mean to,” the wife responded. “You're probably going to have to remind me again like 50 times.”
The husband was upset that he got such a wishy-washy response to his request. “That's not really acceptable,” he told her. “If you hear me and respect my wishes, it doesn't need an excuse or hedging; you can just say OK.” The wife got upset and doubled down, saying she “can't control” referring to him by his first name while talking to the children. He ended the conversation by saying he’s “sure” she will “try” to stop but feels sure the issue will crop up again.
Is he wrong to have a problem with his wife referring to him as Steve in front of their kids?
“She's spent all this time referring to you as ‘dad,’ but now it's Steve and she says it's subconscious and she can't help it? That's not how people's brains work. I get that it's now a habit, and perhaps it is very hard for her to remember, but that does not explain why she started in the first place," godsonlyprophet responded to the post.
Some saw something nefarious about the mother's behavior.
“My immediate reaction is she is distancing herself from you and trying to lessen/remove you from co-parenting. That something is definitely not right here,” Airable_Sun_5891 wrote.
Some people said he should give his wife a break.
"It is completely natural to momentarily slip up and not call you by your title of ‘dad’ and call you by your given name. You’re lucky she didn’t call you by another family member’s name because have you heard of the phenomenon where we mix up the names of people we love," Expensive-Lie1127 wrote.
The overall thoughts of the commenters were that the wife should do her best to refer to Steve as the dad in front of the kids because that is the title he prefers. It shows respect as a co-parent and spouse and is an excellent example for the kids. Respect is the foundation of a good marriage; when it starts to wane, it can open up a complex set of problems.
"You almost lost her. She stopped breathing for a while there."
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder but what if what your eyes behold is objectively...not good? In what appears to be a creative way to spend quality time together for a married couple, things go hilariously wrong. Ted Slaughter, uploaded a video to his TikTok page of an activity he and his wife did together.
Slaughter's wife seems to be holding the phone so you can clearly see what appears to be a painting of Slaughter, who is sitting at the other end of the table in front of an easel. The text overlay on the video says, "husband and wife paint portraits of each other (gone wrong). But what could possibly be wrong, sure his wife's attempt isn't art gallery ready just yet but it's not bad.
Based on the critiques the man had of his wife's painting, surely his looks much closer to professional level work. Right?...Right?
Slaughter starts off strong after viewing his wife's artwork, "that's awesome," then come the minor critiques. "I mean, I'm a little elfish around the eyes," to which his wife laughs, "I know you are not critiquing this right now."
After a few giggles between the two, it was time for the big reveal. The impromptu art critic turns his painting around to reveal his work of art to his unprepared wife and it's...something. It's so much of something that his wife nearly stops breathing. You hear her off camera take in a breath to laugh but nothing comes out for what seems like a good 60 seconds before the sound of her laughter catches up. Commenters also had some thoughts.
"He said Elflish then showed you a gremlin lol," one person writes.
"One portrait is of Picasso. The other portrait is of Beetlejuice,: someone else says.
"I was wheezing with you. You paint a majestic elf and he gives you an orc," another laughs.
The portrait is something words cannot describe. You must see it for yourself below:
My wife and I painted portraits of each other… what could go wrong? #painting #portrait #funny #laugh #fyp #viral #husbandwife