Thankful Thursdays – Grateful for more Opportunities

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Why Your Brain Needs Sleep & Science Can’t Explain Why We Sleep (Science is Awesome)

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Scientists have just discovered a new, very important reason for you to get a good night’s sleep. For the first time, they’ve actually been able to see the brain physically cleaning itself while you’re catching Zzz’s! Anthony explains how this cerebral garbage disposal system works.

Why Your Brain Needs Sleep

Science Can’t Explain Why We Sleep

Forget Me Not – Aaliyah (January 16, 1979 – August 25, 2001)

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Aaliyah Dana Haughton was an American singer, dancer, actress, and model. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Detroit, Michigan. At the age of 10, she appeared on the television show Star Search and performed in concert alongside Gladys Knight. At age 12, Aaliyah signed with Jive Records and her uncle Barry Hankerson‘s Blackground Records. Hankerson introduced her to R. Kelly, who became her mentor, as well as lead songwriter and producer of her debut album, Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number. The album sold three million copies in the United States and was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). After facing allegations of an illegal marriage with R. Kelly, Aaliyah ended her contract with Jive and signed with Atlantic Records.

Aaliyah worked with record producers Timbaland and Missy Elliott for her second album, One in a Million; it sold 3.7 million copies in the United States and over eight million copies worldwide. In 2000, Aaliyah appeared in her first film, Romeo Must Die. She contributed to the film’s soundtrack, which spawned the single “Try Again“. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 solely on airplay, making Aaliyah the first artist in Billboard history to achieve this goal “Try Again” earned Aaliyah a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female R&B Vocalist. After completing Romeo Must Die, Aaliyah filmed her role in Queen of the Damned. She released her third and final album, Aaliyah, in July 2001.

On August 25, 2001, Aaliyah and eight others were killed in a plane crash in the Bahamas after filming the music video for the single “Rock the Boat“. The pilot, Luis Morales III, was unlicensed at the time of the accident and had traces of cocaine and alcohol in his system. Aaliyah’s family later filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Blackhawk International Airways, which was settled out of court. Aaliyah’s music has continued to achieve commercial success with several posthumous releases. Aaliyah sold 52 million records worldwide. She has been credited for helping redefine contemporary R&B and hip hop, earning her the nicknames “Princess of R&B” and “Queen of Urban Pop”. She is listed by Billboard as the tenth most successful female R&B artist of the past 25 years and 27th most successful R&B artist in history.

Credit: Wikipedia

Aaliyah – One In A Million

What’s that Smell? by Lovely, Pure, and Write (BLW Contributor)

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As I shuffled into the communal women’s bathroom in the early morning hours with my shorts, shirt and undergarments clutched in a ball, I began to wonder if this had been a good decision. I had thoroughly showered the day before I had arrived knowing that the facilities would be limited and crowded. The information sheet that was handed out at orientation emphasized that we were swearing over our lives, and our toiletry and solidarity needs would be at a minimum for the week. In essence, it was like we were transported to a women’s prison just for signing up to be a camp volunteer.   I realized we were not out in the woods eating sticks and scrounging for the biggest and softest leaf to use for private matters, but the buzzing fluorescent light overhead that was blinding me while the sun slept reminded me that I was not at my peaceful home.

I observed that some women were totally unfazed and seemed to be enjoying the chit chatter as they went about their business while the rest of us were wondering who had actually coerced us into doing this.  When a stall became available, I slipped in and began to figure out how I was going to get dressed without letting any of my items touch the dirty sticky floor.  I delicately draped clothes over the toilet roll dispenser and carefully placed my Ziploc bag of toothpaste, brush and makeup onto the top of the toilet tank. I made the decison to keep my flip flops on as I proceeded into doing a flamingo type stance to slip out of my pajamas and into my shorts. One foot remained in the sandal while the other was ever so carefully removed and found its way into a pant leg.  I was determined not to let skin come into contact with the ground.

I heard the room go pleasantly quiet as the ‘earliest of early risers’ chipped and chirped their way out to gather for breakfast.  They must have all jumped out of bed at once in a pack.  My ears were glad for their departure.  It was just me, the stall and whoever else had decided to get up at a normal rate of speed.

“What’s that smell? What’s that smell? What’s that smell?” “What’s that smell?”

A shrill woman’s voice echoed off the cement walls.   I paused with my head not yet through the neck hole of my assigned camp tee shirt.  It seemed to be coming from a stall two over from mine. I froze in place.

Who would ask such a question so loudly in a public bathroom?  Doesn’t one know that when in such a place that there may be scents that one may not like, but according to all good social graces we refrain from shouting out our nasal disturbance? Who would be so bold as to announce her disdain in a space that is set apart for such matters to be settled without judgment? It wasn’t like someone was in a restaurant or grocery store inappropriately letting gases fly.  We were in a restroom where this type of thing was to be expected.  This was unacceptable behavior that lacked decorum ranking right up there with yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

There was a frantic flush and the stall door crashed open.  Next, came the sound of soft soled shoes running for the exit.  Now, fully dressed, I slowly made my appearance to see other doors opening and all of us looking at each other for answers.

“What was that all about?” A lady with a shower cap peeked out from behind the curtain. “I heard screaming.”

All of us were thinking the same thing. Had a detestable odor sent a woman fleeing for the door? Was she outside sucking in as much fresh oxygen as she could?  I sniffed the air to test the possibility that I was missing something.  I detected only the usual fare of pink hand sanitizer soap.

After a few moments of this, we all resumed our activity wondering what had just happened.

“Ladies, I apologize.” I glanced up as I was about to put paste on my toothbrush.

No one said a word.  The silence was more silent than ever.

“I had an outburst earlier, and I’m sorry if I frightened any of you. But, my brownies were burning!”

I noticed the crooked hairnet that held all her grayish strands in place and her white apron had smudges of yellow batter on it. Her face was red and her breathing heavy.

Only one individual was brave enough to ask,

“Your brownies?”

“Yes. The kitchen is right below here. The oven is quite old, and I had forgotten that I had put a batch of brownies in.  When I was in here earlier I could smell them burning. I ran down the stairs into the basement and got to them just in time.”

There was a collective “oh” as we all realized she was the resident cook for the camp.

Sometimes things aren’t always as they appear. We are led strongly by our five senses which influence our decisions and opinions.  In some cases such as this, we can jump to a false conclusion because we are not aware of all the facts. Once explained, it all made sense.  I went from thinking she was rude to feeling glad that her baked goods went unscorched.

How quickly we can change our minds about something when given a new perspective. I have been attempting to utilize this skill on areas of my life that aren’t necessarily to my liking. I have found that even though I may still not  be excited about the circumstances, I can handle them better with insight.

And where do I gain this understanding? In the quiet moments while waking in the morning, I begin to mentally ask questions and then write down what I hear. Often, words of comfort and encouragement float in to remind me that I am not alone.  Passages such as: ‘Walk by faith, not by sight, ‘ gently drift into my thought process. It’s really not so much the words but the feeling of peace that calms my spirit so I can get out of bed and deal with whatever lies before me.  Knowing that I can call on guidance anytime for clarity makes life more carefree, leaves less room for error and makes jumping to the wrong idea happen less often.  I would rather go through life equipped with the knowledge that something is happening for a reason versus wandering around confused and feeling hopeless.

Still, there are those few startling phrases that one never really grows accustomed to..such as.. “What is this wet spot?” “What did I just step in?” “Is that barf?” And..”What is that smell?”

Check out other articles from Lovely, Pure, and Write

Artsy Fartsy – Banksy’s new theme park Dismaland

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Welcome to Dismaland, the latest exhibition from Banksy, the art world’s favorite agent provocateur. Billed as a “bemusement park” and modeled after Disneyland, it’s a warped vision of the so-called “happiest place on Earth”. Officially opening to the public on Saturday, August 22 (it’s open to locals only tomorrow), it’s Banksy’s largest exhibition to date and the 4000 allotted daily tickets, priced at less than $5, are expected to sell out fast.

Would you like to go to Banksy’s new theme park?

Blurred Lines (Intro) by The Band Wagon Life (BLW Contributor)

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I want so much  more out of this life that can’t be bought, and I’m sure, hope, I’m not alone.

Something as simple as a smile from a stranger on the streets is hard to come by. People making sure their security system is activated at the sound of a troubled neighbor. The homeless man that is spat on because he’s already ‘dirty’. Is this the world we want to live in?

What scares me is not the thought that I might never have those priceless needs fulfilled, but the fact that nothing is sacred anymore!. Sophistication, Integrity, Dignity, Self-Respect .. All gone. Why? Because they said so and made you think it’s “evolution” (therefore making it your fault). Well who are THEY?

We live in a world that has no empathy, guilt nor remorse. It’s impulsive and manipulates as well as charms its habitants with the sole intention of getting what it wants. All those are what science has said to be the traits of a sociopath. Those are the values we are governed by. That unfortunate truth is what bundles up our tomorrows into one big yesterday, nothing more than a never ending path of blurred lines, the ongoing dilema of distinguishing black from white due to so many superficial nonsense wanting to do the thinking for us. “Same shit different day” is a way of thought that has been leaned on by many merely to mask the uncertainties of the cruelties of what humanity has become. Our self confidence bruised because the next person’s intentions might be fuelled by the wrongest of principles. So we keep us caged because we would rather jump on a massive bandwagon jam-packed with sheep than to expose what is really within us. We stop when THEY yell “cut” out of the fear of not being accepted. Everyday we allow several factors to strong-arm us into unknowingly compromising a part of ourselves, and eventually we become no better than siri waiting on her next command or a button on phone.

Most people have the same dream now .. and that dream is FAME, by any means necessary. When back in the day ppl just strived to BE. LIVE. Most of us strive to follow now. If she’s not trying to be like Nicki Minaj, he’s doing all he can to be like Kim Kardashian. But do you ever stop and think who the shepard is? Or are your insecurities more important than your values, thoughts and dreams? How many of the tasteless trends have you been apart of hyping but did not really care about one bit? Knowing you’re right but being convinced you’re not is a very dangerous yet very real path we’re being led on, and that is what is detrimental to the future of our morals, hence race. Yes we must all find a middle ground in order to peacefully live on this earth together, but when you don’t know you’re compromising yourself? Beliefs? Values?….. That’s when it’s time to open up your sight, sound, smell, touch and taste to the world around you.

Just because you do not govern anyone else does not not make you a leader. We are all leaders of ourselves and are responsible for what we afflict on others.

Do not be fooled by the illusion of choice.

Understand it. Examine it. Weigh it. BELIEVE IN IT .. Then, and only then should you claim it as yours!

Check out other great articles from The Band Wagon Life

Thankful Thursdays – Be Grateful you can still Fight… Do not go gentle into the Good Night (Dylan Thomas)

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Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieve it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

AUTHOR NOTES

DT’s father was going blind when DT wrote this poem. The dying of the light is a reference to darkness and being blind.

RYAN FU

Unknown

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Hiroshima – Marks 70th Anniversary of 1st use of Atomic Weapons in War – How it works: The Atomic Bomb

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Hiroshima – Aug. 6th Marks 70th Anniversary of 1st use of Atomic Weapons in War
In World War II, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945 and a second bomb on Nagasaki on Aug. 9. More than 120,000 people were killed in the bombings.

How it works: The Atomic Bomb

Hiroshima Nuclear (atomic) Bomb – USA attack on Japan (1945)

Why everyone (including men) need feminism today? By Our Little Discoveries (BLW Contributor)

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The world today is in dire need of more feminist icons- both men and women. It needs more people like you and me to come forth and identify ourselves as a feminist and conduct open dialogue about feminism. It is heartening to see more and more personalities openly declaring themselves as feminist. Emma Watson made a speech at the UN about feminism and was appointed as the UN Women Goodwill ambassador. Farhan Akhtar, prominent Bollywood personality was recently appointed the first male ambassador for UN Women. Celebrities like Lorde, and recently Taylor Swift declared themselves as feminists, and youtubers like Jack Howard and Laci Green have talked about feminism.

It is very good that more people are embracing and openly talking about feminism because without proper icons for it, the feminist movement was being misconstrued as a movement for radical extremists targeted against the male sex. Dear reader, please do note that this is not true; and in this article I will try and prove that to you.

Feminism, by definition, is the belief in the equality of men and women. It is striving for equal political, social and economic rights for both the sexes all around the world. They question gender based assumptions and stereotypes- why a girl child isn’t sent to school when a boy child is, why women are taught to aspire to marriage while men are not taught the same, why men are expected not to show emotion and to talk about women as if they were objects- and if they do not do so, it threatens their masculinity? Why young boys play with cars and chemistry sets while young girls are supposed to play with Barbie dolls, why women receive less pay than men, why men’s issues(like sexual assault on males) are trivialized while, in the same case, women’s issues are highlighted?  In USA, it was feminists who fought to change the federal definition of rape to include male victims.  

 These are just some examples of what feminists fight for. I hope it is clear now that feminism is a movement for both men and women. I believe that as 21st century citizens of the world, everyone should believe in the notion of equality- and if you believe in equality, you are a feminist- clear and simple. Then why is there still a stigma attached to it?

Check out the rest of the article @ https://ourlittlediscoveries.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/why-everyone-including-men-need-feminism-today/

Emma Watson to United Nations: I’m a feminist

Woman celebrates 110th Birthday – Key to her success was drink beer everyday (How do you feel about her daily diet?)

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According to ABC News, a woman from New Jersey welcomed her 110th birthday with what she says is one of the keys to her longevity – a beer.

Agnes Fenton turned 110 on Saturday. She celebrated at her home in Englewood, surrounded by some of the more 40 children she helped raise during her years as a nanny.

When she was asked for the secret to a long life, she kept it simple.

“Ain’t no secret, just keep in touch with God and do the right thing, that’s all I know,” says Fenton.

In an interview for her 105th birthday, Fenton told ABC News she had enjoyed a beer and whiskey every day for decades.

To Alcohol! The cause of… and solution to… all of life’s problems.