Your favorite new Kickstarter is a dad sharing the magic of his turtle hat.

Lynn Johnson first discovered the legendary turtle hat after a painful slog through Purgatory in 1996.

Purgatory Resort in Colorado, that is, where Johnson was skiing with friends and ended up tearing his ACL on the slopes.

But on that fateful night, as he hobbled his way to dinner, he saw the green, shell-patterned flatcap shining like a beacon in the gift shop. So of course he plopped it on his head right then and there.


The turtle hat goes to the beach. All photos provided by Lynn Johnson and used with permission.

The hat soon became his trademark accessory. He wore it on vacations and on his days off. He found it bestowed him with an almost magical sense of delight.

It didn't take long for Johnson to notice the remarkable ways his turtle hat could disarm any situation and immediately put people at ease. "When I’m out without it [the hat] I can notice the difference. It’s a good prop, like a smile, and you already cross that 'Oh, we’re friendly' line," he said.

A turtle hat with its turtle-turtle friend. (I'm not sure if they can tell the difference?)

But the more he wore the hat with cheerful powers, the more it wore out.

Within five years, his beloved turtle hat had started to fray; its once-bright-green shell now faded to a dullish brown. He had the lining changed, but after the tags still fell off, he realized he'd never be able to find its creator. Still, he refused to throw it away.

"My daughters, now grown and married, hardly remember a time I did not have the turtle hat," he said on Kickstarter. "For them it is rich with memories of relaxed days when Dad let his hair down."

After 16 years, Johnson did find another turtle hat waiting for him in an online vintage store — but soon that one too succumbed to the pressures of weather and wear.

Lynn Johnson pouring champagne at his daughter's wedding — while, of course, wearing his turtle hat.

After two decades of turtle-hatted-happiness, the future was looking bleak and hatless for Lynn Johnson — until a brilliant plan broke through the shell of his mind.

After reaching out to some friends in the clothing industry, Johnson realized he could use the pattern from his existing hat to have a new one custom-made! ... The only problem was that he needed a minimum order of $5,000.

Even for him, that's a whole lot of turtle hats.

So on Aug. 26, 2016, Johnson launched a Kickstarter campaign to sell his turtle hats — and in less than a week, he passed his goal. "I want to share the fun of a hat which has given my family laughter and joy for 20 years," he said. "It is a self help course in chilling out."

The original turtle hat, disassembled and turned into a pattern for the new production line.

Of course, a great power like the turtle hat also comes with great responsibility, and Johnson makes it clear that ownership is a commitment.

"You cannot take yourself too seriously with a turtle on your head," he explained in his official campaign disclaimer. "If you are easily offended or do not have a good sense of humor, please do not get a hat for yourself, get it for someone you want to give a hard time and have a good laugh with!"

And, yes, he even expanded on these rules by stipulating the Terms and Conditions of wearing a turtle hat on his website, such as "You must slow down when wearing this hat... Turtles never run over anyone."

Lynn Johnson blends into the woods when he goes out walking in his turtle hat.

Yes, the turtle hat is a little corny. But it's Johnson's genuine sincerity that makes his story so endearing.

It's hard enough to watch the turtle hat campaign video without feeling a big, goofy smile alight across your face. So imagine the positive effect it would have to see a turtle hat in real life. Thanks to Johnson, that kind of wholesome happiness is spreading. Slow and steady might win the race — but sometimes silliness makes it worth running in the first place.

You can check out Johnson's charming campaign video below and buy your own turtle hat as well, if you still need some help coming out of your shell.

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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.

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