What Does the Tide Pod Challenge Say About Today’s Youth?

One of the more unexpected aspects of the internet is the way it can make people famous overnight. Often for reasons that would cause most people to feel ashamed. The net is also notable for helping to start a number of trends. You probably remember the Ice Bucket Challenge, which was created to promote a worthy cause. On the other end of the scale were teens lighting themselves on fire because…well, for no sensible reason at all.

That level of inexplicable mass stupidity returned recently via the new trend of trying to eat Tide Pods. As mentioned in the report above, one can understand parents worrying that toddlers might ingest this detergent, given how it looks like candy. But teenagers?

What is the reasoning behind the so-called Tide Pod Challenge? The need to be liked, the desire for instant fame, the potentially deadly dangers of feeling bored and unfulfilled? Thinking back to my own teen years, yes, I did a number of dumb things, but no matter what shape I was in at the time, I made sure they would not cause me permanent damage.

Last year in the United States, there were over 12,000 poison control emergency calls due to people eating laundry pods. The vast majority of those calls were due to little children having access to them. With the new internet trend of 2018, one suspects that both the number and the affected age will be higher, despite ample evidence of how dangerous and stupid this is.

Even if you are certain your teen is not the sort of drooling moron who would intentionally put laundry detergent into their mouth, it’s worth having a talk with them. Emphasize that doing something for attention or on a dare may seem like fun at the time, but it’s important to remember the potential consequences. They have a bright future ahead and should never risk it for a few fleeting thrills.

How to Feel Less Stressed on the Job

Even the best jobs can be stressful at times, so we sympathize with anyone stuck in a position that leaves them constantly anxious and on-edge. In some cases, such situations cannot be remedied and the best bet is to look for another position elsewhere. However, most of the time, you can make some positive changes that will greatly reduce the degree of stress you experience day-to-day at work.

Time Management

This is a huge thing no matter what kind of work you do while performing your role. People feeling stress on the job most often get that in that state because they are constantly running behind schedule. It can be an especially troublesome issue for positions with constant deadlines, such as writing.

The best way to head off this sort of anxiety is with effective time management. Go through your day and figure out the priorities. Make sure you have enough time allotted in order for you to, not only get them done, but still do a thorough and effective job. Things that are not crucial should be put off to the side.

Also, do your best to work in an environment with minimal distractions. If need be, try to start your day a bit early to ensure that everything is done. Losing a half hour of free time beats several hours of tooth-grinding stress.

Don’t Forget Breaks

While you are working on that time management schedule, don’t forget to include intermittent breaks. Working at a breakneck pace can seem like you are really getting things done, but no one can keep that up forever. Eventually, you will begin to wind down the and quality of your work will suffer.

It’s better to periodically recharge your batteries throughout the day, than to go full tilt and run out of gas by lunchtime.

Behave Yourself in Movie Theatres

Those of us of a certain age, who attend movie theatres on a regular basis, may sound even crankier than usual as of late. The reason is a serious decline in basic etiquette amongst filmgoers. Sure, there were always the occasional obnoxious or clued out patron in the past, but problems have escalated dramatically in the past few years. In fact, if it weren’t for my considerable love of cinema, I’m not sure I would ever set foot inside a multiplex anymore.

However, I am here to do more than just complain: I am here to offer advice on how you can be a model moviegoer and not contribute to that decline…

Turn Off Your Phone

That’s what I said, OFF. Not on vibrate, or just hidden in your coat or your purse. Both the noise and light of the device are annoying, so you must take care of both. No, it is not possible for you to text, talk, email, or play a game discreetly. There is a place for doing those things and it’s called the lobby.

Open Your Wrappers Before the Movie

As if popcorn munchers were not distracting enough, a lot of today’s concession stand candy comes in plastic wrappers than can be hellishly loud when torn or rustled. Open your food during the trailers and be discreet when accessing it during the movie.

Cut Down on the Talking

There’s nothing wrong with laughing during a comedy or screaming during a horror film. Other than that, people paid to hear the movie, not you. So zip your lip and keep it zipped once that movie company logo appears onscreen after the trailers.

Keep Control of Your Children

Going to a movie can be especially exciting for kids, but their enjoyment should never compromise anyone else’s ability to have fun. If your child can’t sit still and be reasonably quiet during a movie, then they probably aren’t old enough to see anything outside of your living room (boisterous behavior is OK for kiddie matinees, though).


Exercise Can Help With Your Depression

We all know the amazing things that regular exercise does for the human body and our overall health. However, did you know that regular physical activity is also good for your brain? Not only does it help to make us mentally sharper, exercise can actually help you to overcome bouts of depression and/or anxiety.

You know how good you feel after a workout? Those brain chemicals generated by physical activity can also help depressed people achieve a greater sense of balance. Best of all, they are doing it in a completely natural way that has other benefits for them as well and can supplement additional forms of therapy without causing any kind of conflict.

By Anne Kohler (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Getting out to the gym, or even just going for a run in the area, increase the possibilities for human connection. That means a better chance of meeting someone who can become a friend and an ally. People suffering from depression and anxiety will often isolate themselves, but this only makes their conditions worse in the long run. Getting out of their home and exercising has a dual benefit in this case.

People with mental health problems usually don’t sleep well because their minds are often racing with distracting thoughts they have trouble turning off. Exercising helps to tire you out; when timed right, this can increase make both body and mind more receptive to sleep.

Exercising, particularly when doing activities like Pilates which stretch the muscles, can be great for reducing muscle tension. People battling mental health problems tend to have tense muscles, which leads to discomfort, additional anxiety or depression, and poor sleep. Stretching and relaxing those muscles can help to reduce the symptoms by causing both mind and body to attain a greater sense of ease.


Thinking About Starting a Blog? Here’s Why You Definitely Should

Do you have a blog? Are you thinking about starting one? Blogs have become extremely popular over the years, so we are guessing that you probably already know someone who has one. Or at least had one. It seems like many blogs are started in earnest, but soon abandoned.

So, let us say that you want to start a blog, but do not want to fall into the trap of losing interest early on. Here are some reasons why you should go ahead and give it a shot:

Practice makes perfect

While it sounds like it would be worlds away, writing is actually not all that different from, say, hockey. The similarity being that the more you practice, the better you get. It is important to maintain a regular schedule with a blog, so that means you will be writing on a regular basis. It may be time-consuming, but you will get better and it will get easier.

Meet others with similar interests

Whether your blog is read by only 100 people or 100,000 people, it provides a way for you to connect with others who have similar interests. This can result in wonderful, long-lasting friendships and sometimes even romantic relationships.

Lets your voice be heard

Before the days of the Internet, it was tough for the average person to get their opinion out there and heard. The Internet helped to level the playing field significantly. You can post and comment on social media, but having your own blog can add a level of credibility to your opinion.

You can sometimes make money with it

Blogs that have significant followings can attract major advertisers and some blog writers have been able to quit their regular jobs as a result. It can also bring you to the attention of publishers who are willing to pay you for your writing.

The Benefits of Massage

Everyone loves a good massage, especially after a long day of work or a particularly vigorous game of team sports. But have you ever thought about the actual benefits of a massage? Sure, it is a great way to relieve stiffness and pain, but here are some other things to think about the next time you are lying on the table and your massage therapist is working out those kinks:


Anxiety can be difficult to live with. When we are anxious, it is common for our muscles to tense up and knot. You know the feeling: you can almost feel the muscle lumps under your skin. That state can be extremely uncomfortable, which has the side effect of potentially making a person’s anxiety even worse. Massage causes your muscles to relax, making it easier for your whole body to follow suit.

Anxiety and depression can go hand-in-hand, and studies show that massage can also help to ease the effects of depression.


The more relaxed you are, the better your sleep will likely be. Also, if you suffer from pain, the relief a massage brings can also make it easier to drop off at night.


It seems like there is a new report every week on the negative effects of jobs that find people spending extended amounts of time sitting. In addition to the negative effects this can have on your circulation and heart, it can cause your muscles to become knotted up, as well as neck and back strain; a massage can help a lot with these.


Most exercises are more effective if the participants do some stretching first. Massage is even better at relaxing those muscles and leaving you in a physical state that is perfect for everything from Pilates to marathon running.

Relaxation Techniques for People With Anxiety

It is normal to feel some anxiety in life; it can even be a positive thing in small doses. However, when it becomes a daily occurrence or actually leads to panic attacks and other debilitating moments, this is of definite concern. There are many reasons why anxiety occurs and a therapist is the one best qualified to determine what may behind it. However, there are things you can do on your end to relieve the symptoms of anxiety:

Deep Breaths

When you feel yourself in the grip of anxiety, take several deep breaths. Set aside a few minutes a couple of times each day to practice this technique. Exhale slowly. You should feel your heart rate start to slow down. This can be done anywhere. Close your eyes if it helps you to retain focus.


Exercise is good for us on many levels, and it also helps us to relax. It doesn’t have to be very involved; even a simple walk will help. However, if you are motivated to do something more involved and intense, absolutely do so.


We all have places that we enjoy and hold fond memories for us. Do you like the ocean? Close your eyes and imagine gentle waves lapping against the shore on a calm summer’s day. Now imagine the sounds that go with it: a calm breeze, the water rhythmically reaching the shore and receding, the sound of seagulls talking to one another down the beach, etc. This sounds like a simple method, but it can be highly effective.


Do you like to draw? Paint? Create word games? Doing something that stimulates your creativity can be highly effective at distracting your mind. It also helps you to accomplish something positive at a time when you are feeling unhappy about how life is going.

Home Maintenance To-Do’s Before the End of the Summer

Preventative home maintenance will help you avoid fall and winter disasters.

With the summer more than halfway over, it’s important to make the most of the warm weather while it lasts. There’s still time to check a few things off your home maintenance to-do list. Here are a few tasks that are best done before the fall rolls around.

Clean the Fireplace

Fall weather can be unpredictable. Sometimes, you don’t see a speck of snow until December; other years, you see kids out trick-or-treating in full winter clothing. If you’re lucky enough to have a real, wood-burning fireplace in your home, you might want to light it as early as October. Get it clean and ready to burn before the temperature drops.

To do this, get down on all fours and shine a light up the chimney from inside. Open the damper and inspect for bird or rodent nests, loose or damaged bricks, or sticky residue from previous seasons (called creosote). If you spot one of these problems, you should turn to a chimney-cleaning professional to help get your chimney up to code.

Test the Heating System

Hopefully, it will be many months before you have to switch on the furnace, but it’s still best to get your system in order now. HVAC companies get swamped in the months leading up to the winter, so you should get any problems taken care of before the busy season.

To test your heating system, try turning the thermostat up five degrees on a cool evening. If the heat doesn’t turn on and stay on, something is either wrong with the thermostat or the system itself.

Try replacing the thermostat’s batteries to start. Once you’ve ruled that out, call a heating and cooling expert to check and service your system.

You should also replace the air filter on your furnace before the cold weather hits. This will ensure your system runs efficiently when the time comes.

Clean the Gutters

It’s important to clean the gutters before the winter. Debris left behind can cause ‘dams’ of ice to form around the edges of the roof, causing snow to pack up and create the risk of leaks or roof damage. But cleaning the gutters can be a dirty and somewhat dangerous job, so you don’t want to be up on the roof in the brisk fall weather.

Take Care of Trees

Like cleaning the gutters, inspecting and trimming the trees is an outdoor task that is far easier to get done while it’s still nice and warm out. You’ll want to remove weak, brittle tree limbs that could break off and fall under the weight of the snow, especially near the house. This will also help spur new, healthy growth next season.

Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors

You’ve heard it a million times, but too many people still ignore this critical home maintenance task. It’s best to check your detectors and replace the batteries at least every few months. Your safety detectors are very important in the winter, since we tend to shut our windows and use fireplaces more often.

But why not wait until fall? Because it’s an easy to forget, especially once the busy fall season gets going. Do it before you get distracted by back-to-school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the Christmas holidays.

Where Does Broil King Rank Among the Best Performance BBQs?

Where Does Broil King Rank Among the Best Performance BBQs?

Wouldn’t it be easier to choose a new BBQ if you could just fire them up and throw on a few steaks right there in the store? You can’t tell much about how a BBQ performs just from looking at it. After all, there’s more to a grill than meets the eye.

Luckily, Consumer Reports tested 100 gas BBQs so you don’t have to. Their ratings can help you determine who has the best performance gas BBQ for your needs.

Like many of you, I always prefer to buy local if I can. So let’s look at how Canadian manufacturer Broil King holds up against its competitors in the gas BBQ arena.


Durability is a problem with gas BBQs in general. The burners are often the first piece to go, and most gas BBQs don’t last much longer than ten years. But Broil King ranks well compared to its competitors, beating out Char-Broil, Char-Griller, and Napoleon with ease.

In a review of the Broil King Sovereign, one Consumer Reports reader writes:

“Grill is long lasting. I have owned mine since 2007. Had one burner go bad under warranty and the company sent me a complete set along with the gas rail. Did not expect that. The firebox slightly warped,sent a picture. Two days later a new firebox was delivered. Both issues were in the first three years and no problems since with some very heavy usage.”


It’s no surprise that KitchenAid, known for its colourful, trendy, appliances, snags the top spot for appearance. Kenmore (which does poorly in all other categories) also caught the eyes of readers in this category. As for Broil King, it sits somewhere in the middle, along with competitors like Weber.

Grilling Performance

This is where Broil King shines. Broil King BBQs of all sizes are rated highly for cooking performance, particularly the Sovereign, as one reader writes:

“The versatility is the main reason I am sold on this grill. I have rigged up a smoker and the grill will hold a very steady temperature to cook low and slow. I have even made beef jerky on it at low temperature to dry the meat yet not “cook” it.”

Ease of Cleaning

This is another pain point when it comes to gas BBQs. Scraping off the charred remains of your meal is something you accept when you live the BBQ life. But not all grills are created equal, and that’s true when it comes to cleaning them as well.

Boilmaster, Char-Broil, and Char-Griller lose out big time in this category. Weber and Napoleon are somewhere in the middle. Broil King, in all its kingly dignity, does somewhat better. It’s not the pinnacle of cleanliness, but it stands out among its competitors as being slightly less of a pain to clean.