Lifestyle

‘He’s with them still’: Family reunited with message in bottle written by son who died decades ago

August 18, 2022

A Mississippi family has been reunited with a message in a bottle written by their late son 33 years ago, reports USA Today.

“Love never goes away,” said Eric Dahl, 68, who—with his wife Melanie and son Chris traveled about 200 miles from Oxford, Mississippi to meet the shipyard workers in Vicksburg who found the bottle during an otherwise ordinary salvaging trip on the Yazoo River.

The bottle was completely intact and still remained sealed.

“I’m always that way,” said Billy Mitchell, the salvage diver who first spotted the green bottle floating above a barge. “I always look for stuff that’s unique —driftwood or anything … I told my buddy, I said, ‘there’s a message in this bottle!'”

Mitchell grew even more curious; in his 20 years in the business, he says he’s never once found anything like it. Half an hour later and with the help of “shish kebab sticks,” he says he gently extracted the wilted paper from the glass bottle and let it dry out.

Most of the note was destroyed but he and his boss, Brad Babb, started to reconstruct what was left of it. They deciphered the last name Dahl, the year 1989, the location of Oxford Mississippi, a “please”, “thank you,” and a phrase that made them laugh: “Call or phone.” It was all in a child’s handwriting.

“We’re all kids at heart really. We could all envision ourselves as that 11-year-old boy,” said Babb, safety manager at Big River Shipbuilders in Vicksburg, Mississippi. “It really just fueled us to go and say, ‘let’s go find this guy’ cause this is kind of a kindred spirit where, ‘would I want somebody to find me? Yes I would.'”

They stayed late at work and started calling nearby school districts for leads. They kept each torn piece of the note in a safe place—even taping it down to the desk, so it wouldn’t be accidentally thrown out by someone cleaning up. And they talked about it day and night at work and at home. But it wasn’t until they posted a photo of the note on the company’s Facebook page, which was widely shared, that the mystery began to reveal itself.

“Never thought it would take on the life it’s taken, but so glad that it has,” said Babb.

On an extremely hot and humid summer day, the Dahl family saw the bottle and note for the first time sitting on a table at the shipbuilders’ office. They take a moment to examine the unbroken glass and read the note.

“One thing that jumps out at me is an 11-year-old boy saying ‘please’,” says Eric with a smile. “Knowing that something he wrote is connecting strangers, that really helps.”

While the shipyard workers initially thought the Dahl’s son Chris had written the note, it was Eric and Melanie’s other son, Brian, who composed the message. An athlete who beat cancer at one point, Brian died in an accident at home at the age of 29.

“He was victorious in his life because of the relationships he established, the bonds with other people,” said Eric. “And he continues to inspire connections.”

The message in a bottle was a sixth-grade class project in 1989. Martha Burnett, now 82, was his teacher. “We had a field trip. We dropped our bottles in the water, and for many years we heard nothing,” said Burnett from her home in Oxford, Mississippi.

The class had launched their bottles in Mississippi’s Talahatchie River. Burnett says one bottle was found years later in Louisiana. Brian’s, however, floated an estimated 200 miles to the Yazoo River.

It happened to float into a canal, where Mitchell was able to find it. But had the bottle taken just a slightly different turn, it could have ended up in the vast Mississippi River and possibly even the Gulf of Mexico.

“Who would ever have imagined this would happen?” said Burnett. “I think it brings him back to life in a way.”

Burnett says she told all her students to write their names and hometown on the paper and seal their bottles with wax to keep them tightly closed. The bottle’s survival is a testament, she says, to how well Brian listened in class.

Eric, Melanie, and Chris all marvel at how something so small from decades ago could prove so meaningful all these years later. Eric says they don’t feel like new friends, but rather, like instant family.

“He’s with them still,” said Mitchell. “I think that’s what the note meant when we found it. To let his parents know that he was watching over them as well.”

Research contact: @USATODAY

Hungry pup on a train is hilariously desperate to get his human’s snack

Augsut 17, 2022

What would you do if you saw this sweet face peering back at you on the train? For ‘pawrent’ Ursula Aitchison, her pup Huxley’s desperation was not enough for her to give up her tasty snack, but it resulted in some adorably hilarious images, reports My Modern Met.

Aitchison recently shared photos of the Golden Retriever realizing that his mom was rudely refraining from sharing her Walker’s brand prawn cocktail-flavored chips—and trying to do something about it. In an image carousel on Instagram, the first photo shows him innocently peering through the narrow view between the train seats.

Then, Huxley uses an innocuous technique: just barely putting his paw through the opening. The following photos showcase a more distraught side, with the pooch shoving his muzzle in the gap, using all his might to get as close as he can. He tries angling his snout closer, then he uses his tongue. Once that proves fruitless, the determined pup bares his teeth and continues to push forward.

This mighty battle of canine versus upholstered seating sadly did not seem to end with a prize of crispy potato goodness, but it did make thousands online smile. Aitchison’s Instagram post has over 10K likes, and seemingly endless comments supporting the pup’s attempts to get closer.

Huxley’s antics recently went viral again on Twitter when four of the stills were posted with the caption, “A story about crisps in 4 parts.” Walker’s crisps ambassador, and former professional footballer, Gary Lineker even re-shared it.

Not surprisingly, this isn’t the first time Aitchison’s puppy has gotten such adoration and attention online. Back in 2019, a very similar situation happened on Huxley’s first flight from London to Ibiza. Huxley was seated next to her, until “he got in a mood which he often does when I don’t pay him enough attention,” Aitchison said. He then opted to trade his spot for the empty seat next to a nice man in the row in front of them.

Soon though, she said, “he quickly changed his tune when he heard me eating my crisps.” The images she captured garnered a lot of attention on both Instagram and Facebook.

It seems this golden has had a weak spot for snacks for years now, and the pattern will continue as long as there are moments of boredom on public transportation.

Research contact: @mymodernmet

Are you a humble-brag parent?

August 16, 2022

“As soon as I’d posted the picture I regretted it,” said writer Hazel Davis, in a HuffPost UK story several years ago. “Of course, I didn’t regret the picture of my darling, gorgeous, beautiful daughter—but the supposedly funny comment beneath it: “My poor child, covered in dirt. Call Social Services.”

Naturally I didn’t mean I was a bad parent. Far from it, in fact I wanted everyone to look at the picture, admire my daughter, and then admire how earthy and outdoorsy we all were. I regretted it because it was a perfect example of the humble brag.

Social networking site Twitter has been awash with examples of celebs and wannabe-celebs’ humble brags—one of the best and most perfectly concise being, “I just stepped on gum. Who spits gum on a red carpet?”

Parenting humble brags might take the following form: I (parent) am so bad because insert not bad/really quite enviable thing here. Sit back and wait for reassurance/praise and/or both.

Sometimes a humble brag will be an innocuous enough comment but contain some killer information such as, “Tripped over on my way home from collecting Jemima from her GRADE SEVEN cello exam. What an idiot.”

But nobody does it better than parents. “OMG,” Facebooked one friend of mine recently, “Jay fell off the bottom stair this morning. He is so advanced, I sometimes forget he’s only ten months old and still a baby.”

“Well we didn’t, love,” says Davis. “You keep reminding us every five minutes that he’s “only” ten months.

“Silly Jay trying to use a knife and fork when he’s only been feeding himself for a few months…”

A good friend of mine, Barry, is a master of the humble brag. His son, Peter, is three years old and Barry is “worried” about his development. He’s worried because Barry appears to be streets ahead of his peers and might be having a hard time at nursery. No, he’s not. YOU’RE having a hard time at nursery because the staff don’t recognize little Petey’s genius.

“I do SO worry that he will end up being bored,” sighs dad, when instead we’d all just rather he ran around the playground shouting “My kid’s cleverer than your kid. Ner ner ner ner ner,” which, to be honest, is what he really would rather be doing.

Another friend’s little darling has been doing some modeling work. “OMG totally forgot to take Scarlett’s shoot makeup off this morning,” she will opine, “poor little thing.”

Oh yes, what shoot was that? Because you hadn’t mentioned that your daughter was a model. Well not for the last three hours anyway.

The humble brag is entirely different to the genuine and refreshing brag.

“OMG my child is simply just fricking brilliant” or the genuinely humble (as favored by my friend Hannah, who adorably has NO idea how this parental bragging thing works), “Whoops. I think my child might actually ACTUALLY be dim.”

The humble-brag is sly, it’s disingenuous and it’s almost impossible not to do if you’re both British (ergo reserved) and a parent (ergo proud and smug as pants), opines Davis.

“Now, excuse me,” she writes, “while I go and get the baby’s dinner. She is SO boring, ALL she wants to eat is broccoli all the time. She’ll turn into one if she’s not careful ….”

Readers are invited to list the humble brags they use, or hear from friends.

Research contact: @HuffPostUK

Study: Your posture can affect how your stomach absorbs the medication in pills

August 15, 2022

Does the efficacy of medicine come down to your posture? Researchers  at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore have found that a person’s posture while taking pills can affect how his or her stomach absorbs the drugs, reports Study Finds.

Using a state-of-the-art “StomachSim”—a simulator based on the realistic anatomy of the human stomach—to analyze and quantify how effective medicines that people need to swallow, the scientists established that the bioavailability of a drug depends on the medication’s ingredients and the stomach’s dynamic environment once it reaches the gastrointestinal tract.

The researchers say that their model of the stomach is the first of its kind to couple gastric biomechanics with pill movement and drug dissolution to determine just how much of the active pharmaceuticals actually pass through the pylorus and reach the duodenum.

StomachSim also enabled the team to calculate and compare the emptying rate and the release of a dissolved pharmaceuticals into the duodenum in a variety of physiological situations.

“Oral administration is surprisingly complex despite being the most common choice for drug administration,” says co-author Rajat Mittal of Johns Hopkins University in a media release. “When the pill reaches the stomach, the motion of the stomach walls and the flow of contents inside determine the rate at which it dissolves. The properties of the pill and the stomach contents also play a major role.

“However,” Mittal notes, “current experimental or clinical procedures for assessing the dissolution of oral drugs are limited in their ability to study this, which makes it a challenge to understand how the dissolution is affected in different stomach disorders, such as gastroparesis, which slows down the emptying of the stomach.”

Mittal adds that the stomach’s contents and gastric fluid dynamics are among the factors that contribute to a drug’s bioavailability. Moreover, stomach contractions can induce pressure and generate complex pill movements in the body.

All of these factors lead to varying rates of pill dissolution and an uneven emptying of the pill into the duodenum. Researchers say these issues create several challenges for the design of oral medications, especially pills which have a delayed reaction.

“In this work, we demonstrate a novel computer simulation platform that offers the potential for overcoming these limitations,” Mittal concludes. “Our models can generate biorelevant data on drug dissolution that can provide useful and unique insights into the complex physiological processes behind the oral administration of pills.”

The findings are published in the journal, Physics of Fluids.

Research contact: @StudyFinds

Surf’s up, Dawg! Gnarly pups catch waves at World Dog Surfing Championship

August 11, 2022

A bunch of very cool dogs went toe to toe at Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica, California, on Saturday, August 6, for the World Dog Surfing Championships, reports HuffPost.

The event, which donates a portion of its proceeds to dog-related nonprofits, invites surfer dogs and their human pals to hang ten at the beach for a day of activities, including surf and doggy costume competitions, dog adoptions, a pet wellness fair and a “yappy hour” to end the festivities.

“Humans aren’t the only ‘surf dogs’—surfers’ four-legged friends love water too, and many even like catching waves,” the event’s website said. “These amphibious canines are special creatures: Top surfers believe that dogs who learn to surf develop a unique attitude, knowing they have something that sets them apart from other dogs.”

Surf prizes were awarded, based on dog size and other categories–including tandem dogs and human/dog tandem. Skyler, an Australian cattle dog, won the top prize, placing first in the Top Dog Final Overall Champ.

Research contact: @HuffPost

What’s the trending ‘coastal grandmother’ lifestyle?

Aughust 10, 2022

If you aren’t one of the 183 million viewers of 26-year-old Lex Nicoleta’s coastal grandmother TikTok video—first posted in March and now trending everywhere—we have the lowdown, thanks to both The Star and Business Insider.

According to The Star, coastal grandmother is an appealingly attainable way of life—and if you have time to read a newspaper you’re likely halfway there. You own a couple of button-down cotton shirts, which you button up. You’re not shy around a bucket hat, preferably in white; or a bottle of wine, which you open at 4 p.m. and finish that night—even on a Tuesday, because there are no days in this world of timeless ease.

You may garden or walk on a beach, if you happen to live near one (not a requirement for the CG); maybe there’s a dog and a zippy car. Extra points if you own and use an extremely heavy orange Le Creuset casserole (check!).

Diane Keaton in “Something’s Gotta Give” and Meryl Streep in “It’s Complicated” are the often-cited original models for the coastal grandmother and, like them, you wear your privilege on your loose linen sleeve. But you don’t have to be a grandmother to be a coastal grandmother, any more than you must be beachbound: Anne Hathaway, Selena Gomez, and Taylor Swift have all posted their CG looks, and a large and merry band of under-25s have joined in the fun. As Nicoleta says: Coastal grandmother “is for anyone and everyone.”

Indeed, Business Insider writer Allison Kenien says she grew up with her own coastal grandmother. “Looking at the viral TikTok videos,” Kenien says, “I see a glamorized version of ocean life.”

The videos glorify an affluent lifestyle that is commonly associated with seaside communities. But real coastal culture, in Kenien’s opinion, is not about money—it’s about experiences: combing the beach for shells, feeling the rush of big waves, breathing the salty air, watching the sunrise with the fishermen, and eating the freshest catch at sunset.

She agrees that the coastal grandmother aesthetic on TikTok focuses heavily on white or cream clothing—and there is a good reason for that: Conventional wisdom is that the colors repel sunlight and catch the breeze; keeping you comfortable all day, from the sand dunes to the salt ponds.

In addition, Kenien notes, “You can score bonus points for wearing vintage yacht club clothing, which shows that you’ve been hanging around the water for a long time.”

However, in her experience, the aesthetic is more varied than TikTok would suggest: “In the fall, winter, and spring, coastal grandmothers add color to their wardrobe. I like to keep my nautical look with blue, gray, and red clothing; gold accents; and patterns with ropes, stripes, or waves. For the coldest months, we wear fisherman sweaters, cozy socks, and a warm wool coat. “

And when coastal grandmothers go home, they enjoy neighborhoods with a distinctive look. American flags are common in traditional coastal towns—and coast homes are typically sided in distinct cedar shingles that get a faded, weathered look over time. Compared to traditional siding, these shingles are more resistant to rotting caused by ocean air.

One common decor item mentioned on TikTok that is definitely accurate is having a bowl of lemons to decorate the kitchen counter. This isn’t just about aesthetics though, says Kenien. She explains, “It’s because we frequently eat seafood, which is traditionally served with lemon in order to neutralize the ‘fishy’ taste and give dishes a fresher flavor.”

“My great grandmother’s favorite meal was Block Island swordfish, which is locally sourced from Rhode Island,” she recalls. “Nearly a century later, we still serve it to guests and share stories about my grandmother’s tradition of eating swordfish with gherkin pickles.”

And paper plates won’t do: Nicoleta mentions serving these coastal recipes on good china, “which.” Says Kenien, “is spot on in my community, where coastal families often have special serving dishes, usually passed down through the family.”

Finally, she recalls, “My grandparents made the ocean magic last all year long, even when the glitz and glimmer of the summer season had ended.”

At the heart of the coastal grandmother is sharing the spirit of the seaside with others. You can carry that warmth and love anywhere, through any season.

Research contact: @BusinessInsider

Snakes in the grass: Florida python hunt attracts 800 competitors, seeking thousands in prize money

August 9, 2022

So far, more than 800 competitors have signed on for the 2022 Florida Python Challenge in  the Florida Everglades, which began on Friday, August 5 and will continue through 5 p.m. (EDT) on August 15. The entrants are in search of invasive Burmese pythons, which they hope will bring them thousands of dollars in prize money, reports Fox News.

According to the National Park Service, Burmese pythons now are established in the park, due to accidental or intentional release of captive pet animals. Pythons eat many different kinds of animals, and studies show that pythons are probably the main reason that mammals have declined very sharply in number in Everglades National Park.

Even though pythons are large snakes, their coloring and behavior allow them to blend into the environment. Since they are so hard to find in the wild, estimating the number that reside in the park is nearly impossible. A female python can lay as many as 100 eggs a year.A

“This is significant because every python removed is one less invasive species preying on our native birds, mammals, and reptiles,” Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis told the Associated Press.

Since 2000, when the event began, more than 17,000 pythons have been removed from the Everglades ecosystem, according to a news release.

Cash prizes of up to $2,500 are available in both the professional and novice categories for those who remove the most pythons, officials said. There are additional prizes for the longest python in each category. Each python must be dead, with hunters facing disqualification if they kill them inhumanely or kill a native snake.

So far, the registered hunters represent 32 states and Canada. Registrations are being accepted throughout the competition. It costs $25 to register and participants also must  complete an online training course.

Research contact: @FoxNews

Dad wows the Internet by modeling his daughter’s crochet crop tops

August 8, 2022

This dad loves to model his daughter’s crochet designs—from cool crop tops to beautiful bucket hats. But he’s not just any dad. He’s Jeff Beaver of Arkansas, reports ABC News.

Across several social media platforms—including  Instagram,  TikTok  and more—the dedicated dad can be seen dancing, twirling, laughing, and posing in looks from the LoveBeav product line.

Emily has been crocheting since 2015, but started noticing her business really take off during the summer of 2021, thanks to social media. When she began scouting her parents to model her designs, the business saw an immediate upswwing.

“My dad has never been afraid to look silly, especially if he’s having fun doing it, so there was never any hesitation on his part,” Emily told ABC’s morning show, Good Morning America. “The most important thing for me and my parents is that we are spending quality time laughing and enjoying what we are doing.”

“We could care less what other people think about how silly it might look,” she added.

After noticing how well a video performed that featured her mother, Amy Beaver, wearing one of her crochet designs, Emily thought, “Why not try including Dad, as well?”

“The Internet totally ate it up and every time I included my parents, I knew that there was something special about the concept of a family wearing crochet tops together,” Emily said.

Since making the decision to include her parents in content creation, Emily’s business has continued to grow at a rapid rate and she has seen a large increase in followers.

The 28-year-old crochet artist and content creator was able to quit her previous day job to solely focus on art and content creation full-time because of the increase in engagement and sales.

“I went from barely any sales at all, to usually selling out my entire restock each month,” Emily said. “The biggest win for me, however, has been the opportunities I’ve had to partner with some of my favorite brands, like Michael’s Craft Store. I’ve been shopping at Michael’s since I started crocheting, so to be able to partner with them and create videos for them has been an absolute dream.”

When it comes to the Beaver family’s newfound Internet fame, Emily said they are all “loving it,” adding, “I’m still not sure we have even processed it completely.”

Emily recalls attending the Electric Forest Festival and finding it absolutely mind-blowing how many fans they met. “We were getting asked for pictures about every five feet. It has been such an awesome experience to do this together, and we are looking forward to seeing where this leads.”

From cool crop tops to beautiful bucket hats, all of Emily’s crochet designs can be found on her company’s website. However, social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and  Facebook are the best way to find her and her family’s latest viral moments.

Research contact: @ABC

Stray dog crashes couple’s wedding—and becomes part of their new family

August 5, 2022

Douglas Robert and Tamíris Muzini were ready for their big day, when they would commit to spending happily ever after together—but Tamíris didn’t know there was someone else, reports Good News Network.

As the bride arrived at the church, she noticed a “wedding crasher” in attendance—a stray blonde dog that was mingling gently with guests.

Not putting paw nor tail out of place, the ceremony eventually commenced with the dog sitting down by the doorway to watch, as if he knew what was happening. After the “I do’s” were done, the beautiful couple made for the exit. That’s when the dog suddenly became excited.

“When he greeted us at the end, he asked: ‘Take me home. Take me,’” Muzini  told The Dodo.

They decided in that very moment to make their happily ever after fit for three—adopting and naming the scrawny pooch Braiá Caramelo.

Scars abound, suggesting that his road to the door of the church that fateful day had not been an easy one—but that’s all behind him now. “He’s so loving. Despite everything he’s been through, he still believes in the goodness of people,” Muzini added. “He gives us hope.”

Instagram posts suggest the three are doing very well, settling into a new lifetime together in stride.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork

A ‘whiteout’ wedding: Antarctica nuptials are officially the coolest RSVP this year

August 4, 2022

This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, destination wedding: For couples who are really looking to up the ante, bespoke luxury travel company Red Savannah just announced a new $250,000 wedding package in Antarctica that’s easily the coolest RSVP this year, reports Forbes.

Invitation and event details are as follows:

Wedding parties of up to 12-guests are invited to fly out of Cape Town, South Africa and make five-hour flight over the Southern Ocean landing on Wolf’s Fang runway in Antarctica where they’re cordially invited to celebrate with a “White Wedding in a White Desert” party upon arrival.

The icy fête will begin with a celebratory wedding breakfast on ice and go on to include a cake-cutting ceremony and champagne in the snow lounge.

Guests who opt to spend more than one day on the continent are invited to stay at Echo, a brand-new Polar camp comprising six state-of-the-art pods with a futuristic floor-to-ceiling window design overlooking a vast expanse of snow and ice fields.

Each pod contains a central communal space and dining area where South African cuisine will be paired with award-winning wines. Couples who want to unwind after saying their “I-Dos,” may like the option to extend at Whichaway Camp, which includes a wellness space and sauna pod on the shores of the freshwater lake of the Schirmacher Oasis.

While all of the activities throughout the experience can be customized, optional activities range from a visit to see a colony of 28,000 emperor penguin’s to ice and mountain climbing, Arctic Truck safaris, Skidoo tours and a trip to the South Pole for a special champagne picnic.

Prices start at $250,000 and include return flights and transfers from Cape Town to Antarctica, accommodations, food, beverages, and activities. Guests don’t have to worry about buying the couple a gift, as $1,000 per-person will be pledged for conservation and sustainability initiatives that go to Antarctica.

Research contact: @Forbes