Trump is now dangerous that makes his mental health a matter of public interest | Bandy Lee

This world authority in psychiatry, consulted by US politicians, argues that the presidents mental fitness deserves scrutiny

Eight months ago, a group of us put our concerns into a book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President. It became an instant bestseller, depleting bookstores within days. We thus discovered that our endeavours resonated with the public.

While we keep within the letter of the Goldwater rule which prohibits psychiatrists from diagnosing public figures without a personal examination and without consent there is still a lot that mental health professionals can tell before the public reaches awareness. These come from observations of a persons patterns of responses, of media appearances over time, and from reports of those close to him. Indeed, we know far more about Trump in this regard than many, if not most, of our patients. Nevertheless, the personal health of a public figure is her private affair until, that is, it becomes a threat to public health.

To make a diagnosis one needs all the relevant information including, I believe, a personal interview. But to assess dangerousness, one only needs enough information to raise alarms. It is about the situation rather than the person. The same person may not be a danger in a different situation, while a diagnosis stays with the person.

It is Trump in the office of the presidency that poses a danger. Why? Past violence is the best predictor of future violence, and he has shown: verbal aggressiveness, boasting about sexual assaults, inciting violence in others, an attraction to violence and powerful weapons and the continual taunting of a hostile nation with nuclear power. Specific traits that are highly associated with violence include: impulsivity, recklessness, paranoia, a loose grip on reality with a poor understanding of consequences, rage reactions, a lack of empathy, belligerence towards others and a constant need to demonstrate power.

There is another pattern by which he is dangerous. His cognitive function, or his ability to process knowledge and thoughts, has begun to be widely questioned. Many have noted a distinct decline in his outward ability to form complete sentences, to stay with a thought, to use complex words and not to make loose associations. This is dangerous because of the critical importance of decision-making capacity in the office that he holds. Cognitive decline can result from any number of causes psychiatric, neurological, medical, or medication-induced and therefore needs to be investigated. Likewise, we do not know whether psychiatric symptoms are due to a mental disorder, medication, or a physical condition, which only a thorough examination can reveal.

A diagnosis in itself, as much as it helps define the course, prognosis, and treatment, is Trumps private business, but what is our affair is whether the president and commander-in-chief has the capacity to function in his office. Mental illness, or even physical disability, does not necessarily impair a president from performing his function. Rather, questions about this capacity mobilised us to speak out about our concerns, with the intent to warn and to educate the public, so that we can help protect its own safety and wellbeing.

Indeed, at no other time in US history has a group of mental health professionals been so collectively concerned about a sitting presidents dangerousness. This is not because he is an unusual person many of his symptoms are very common but it is highly unusual to find a person with such signs of danger in the office of presidency. For the US, it may be unprecedented; for parts of the world where this has happened before, the outcome has been uniformly devastating.

Pathology does not feel right to the healthy. It repels, but it also exhausts and confuses. There is a reason why staying in close quarters with a person suffering from mental illness usually induces what is called a shared psychosis. Vulnerable or weakened individuals are more likely to succumb, and when their own mental health is compromised, they may develop an irresistible attraction to pathology. No matter the attraction, unlike healthy decisions that are life-affirming, choices that arise out of pathology lead to damage, destruction, and death. This is the definition of disease, and how we tell it apart from health.

Politics require that we allow everyone an equal chance; medicine requires that we treat everyone equally in protecting them from disease. That is why a liberal health professional would not ignore signs of appendicitis in a patient just because he is a Republican. Similarly, health professionals would not call pancreatic cancer something else because it is afflicting the president. When signs of illness become apparent, it is natural for the physician to recommend an examination. But when the disorder goes so far as to affect an individuals ability to perform her function, and in some cases risks harm to the public as a result, then the health professional has a duty to sound the alarm.

The progress of the special counsel Robert Muellers investigations was worrisome to us for the effects it would have on the presidents stability. We predicted that Trump, who has shown marked signs of psychological fragility under ordinary circumstances, barely able to cope with basic criticism or unflattering news, would begin to unravel with the encroaching indictments. And if his mental stability suffered, then so would public safety and international security.

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Kim Jong-uns new year speech increased tensions about who had the biggest nuclear button. Photograph: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

Indeed, that is what began to unfold: Trump became more paranoid, espousing once again conspiracy theories that he had let go of for a while. He seemed further to lose his grip on reality by denying his own voice on the Access Hollywood tapes. Also, the sheer frequency of his tweets seemed to reflect an agitated state of mind, and his retweeting some violent anti-Muslim videos showed his tendency to resort to violence when under pressure.

Trump views violence as a solution when he is stressed and desires to re-establish his power. Paranoia and overwhelming feelings of weakness and inadequacy make violence very attractive, and powerful weapons very tempting to use all the more so for their power. His contest with the North Korean leader about the size of their nuclear buttons is an example of that and points to the possibility of great danger by virtue of the power of his position.

It does not take a mental health professional to see that a person of Trumps impairments, in the office of the presidency, is a danger to us all. What mental health experts can offer is affirmation that these signs are real, that they may be worse than the untrained person suspects, and that there are more productive ways of handling them than deflection or denial.

Screening for risk of harm is a routine part of mental health practice, and there are steps that we follow when someone poses a risk of danger: containment, removal from access to weapons and an urgent evaluation. When danger is involved, it is an emergency, where an established patient-provider relationship is not necessary, nor is consent; our ethical code mandates that we treat the person as our patient.

In medicine, mental impairment is considered as serious as physical impairment: it is just as debilitating, just as objectively observable and established just as reliably through standardised assessments. Mental health experts routinely perform capacity or fitness for duty examinations for courts and other legal bodies, and offer their recommendations. This is what we are calling for, urgently, in doing our part as medical professionals. The rest of the decision is up to the courts or, in this case, up to the body politic.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/07/donald-trump-dangerous-psychiatrist

17 People Share The Best Decision They Made In Their Love Life In 2017

João Silas

1. “I stopped making excuses for the selfish or hurtful choices of the jerks I was dating, and started immediately breaking things off with them instead. It was harder in the moment but paid off a thousand times more in the aftermath.”

–Tracy, 31

2. “I started being straightforward about my feelings and it saved me a lot of heartache and a lot of time and a lot of guessing.”

–Lindie, 24

3. “Working on my commitment issues.”

–Jack, 30

4. “Asking for advice from my parents who are a lot smarter than me and a lot better at love than me. And then actually taking the advice.”

–Bryan, 28

5. “Only dating someone if they were interested in finding someone to settle down with. Not that dating for fun is wrong, but it’s not what I wanted, so why waste my time with people who didn’t want what I want?”

–Aubrey, 29

6. “After my previous breakup: figuring out what kind of person I wanted to be and what I liked doing on my own before I started diving back into the dating pool again. It made it a hell of a lot easier to understand what I was looking for because in my previous relationship, even I didn’t know what I wanted from him.”

–Michele, 25

7. “Actively not dating, because that’s what I really needed this year and I don’t regret it.”

–Sam, 27

8. “Throwing out the mental checklist I secretly had in my mind about what I expected from a boyfriend, because I finally realized the guys who had met those requirements in the past are actually some of the ones who made me the most miserable, so the arbitrary checklist you make in your head doesn’t even matter most of the time.”

–Cristina, 28

9. “Asking my girlfriend to take me back even though I am an incredibly stubborn person and I hated swallowing my pride. I broke things off because I didn’t know what I wanted and after a while I realized I was so much more unhappy without her. And I think the old me would have been too stubborn and would have decided that I missed my chance, but I went after her again and I’m so glad I did, and I don’t know what I would have done without her.”

–Ben, 25

10. “Being straightforward and actually asking a woman out on a date and literally using the word ‘date’ instead of just trying to be vague and asking if they wanted to hang out or something. Why do we do that? That’s so dumb.”

–Allan, 28

11. “Not comparing my relationship to everyone else’s like I used to do a lot in the past. It’s made me so much happier and present in my own relationship.”

–Angie, 26

12. “Always trying a second date even if I wasn’t totally excited after the first date (unless it was so horrible or she was so awful that I knew 100% that I wasn’t interested).”

–Simon, 28

13. “Being on my phone less when I was spending time with a girl I really liked.”

–Marc, 25

14. “Being totally myself on the dates I went on instead of trying to appear a certain way. For example, I ate more burgers on dates this year than the last several years combined, and I had a great time every time.”

–Emma, 27

15. “Waiting a few months longer than I wanted to to move in with my boyfriend, to make sure I was really ready and I was doing it for the right reasons. Totally worth it.”

–Clint, 27

16. “Going on dates to restaurants or bars where I could actually hear what my date was saying and have a good conversation where I actually felt like I got to know her.”

–Pat, 32

17. “Prioritizing my mental health and my wellbeing and my own happiness, so that I was actually in a healthy place to fall in love if I wanted to. Which I did!”

–Lindsey, 30

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/sophie-wrenfield/2017/12/17-people-share-the-best-decision-they-made-in-their-love-life-in-2017/

Kentucky Just Made It Harder For Poor People To Get Health Care

The Trump administration on Friday told Kentucky it can go ahead with its controversial Medicaid overhaul ― an initiative that would reduce benefits, require some beneficiaries to work, and generally make it more difficult for people to stay on the program.

Administration officials and their Kentucky counterparts have portrayed the plan as a way to improve the health of low-income residents and encourage self-sufficiency among poor but able-bodied adults. “The result will be a transformational improvement in the overall health of our people and will provide a model for other states to follow,” Matt Bevin, the state’s Republican governor, said at a press conference Friday.

But there’s scant evidence that Kentucky’s changes will have the effects that Bevin and his allies are promising. In fact, of the roughly 95,000 people expected to lose coverage, some will almost surely be people who are working ― or have reasons why they can’t work ― but who failed to satisfy the new system’s paperwork requirements.

Almost by definition, the people likely to lose coverage already have some combination of financial and medical problems, and without coverage, both are likely to get worse. It’s not clear how much this worries Bevin and his allies in Washington ― or whether it worries them at all.

In the new scheme, most working-age adults in Kentucky would have to demonstrate that they have spent at least 80 hours a month working or engaged in employment-related activities, like searching for a job or performing community service. Many would also have to pay premiums, of up to $15 a month.

Anyone who does not pay their premiums or submit paperwork to show their eligibility would lose their coverage and would not be able to reapply for six months, although people who don’t pay premiums could restore coverage by completing a financial literacy course (the details of which aren’t yet clear).

The Kentucky initiative also eliminates a transportation benefit, designed to get poor people to the doctor or hospital when they don’t have the means to do so. And it ends “presumptive” or “retroactive” eligibility, under which Medicaid covers bills from the past three months for people who sign up for Medicaid only after they’ve had a medical episode that landed them in the hospital.

Kentucky’s proposal is likely to prompt legal challenges. If it survives, then the result will almost certainly be a smaller Medicaid program. Both the state and the federal government would likely end up spending less money than they would otherwise. But fewer people would be on Medicaid: The number of beneficiaries would drop by roughly 95,000 within five years, according to official state estimates.

By comparison, Kentucky’s total Medicaid enrollment ― including kids on the Children’s Health Insurance Program ― is about 1.25 million right now, according to official statistics.

In theory, the new requirements would not affect children, the elderly, pregnant women, primary caregivers or the “medically frail,” because Kentucky’s proposal explicitly exempts them. But those categories are narrower than they might seem, experts warned Friday as they pored over the final proposal and checked it against previous versions. (Every analyst studying it has warned that their conclusions are still a little tentative.)

“Medically frail,” for example, doesn’t appear to include people with serious chronic diseases that make jobs difficult to find and keep. And the new paperwork requirements will be difficult for some people to satisfy ― because they can’t get the right documentation, for example, or because overwhelmed state offices won’t be responsive to questions.

As a result, some people who remain eligible for Medicaid will almost surely end up losing coverage anyway. It’s happened that way before, when states introduced work requirements for food stamps and straightforward cash assistance.

“The policy could allow many people to fall through the cracks, including those with chronic health conditions, and those with mental health or substance use disorders such as opioid addiction,” Hannah Katch, a senior analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told HuffPost. “And for those who are eligible for an exemption, the policy could still require someone who is medically frail, for example, to jump through administrative hoops to demonstrate that they are eligible for an exemption.”

Kentucky isn’t the only state that wants to impose these kinds of restrictions on Medicaid. Nearly a dozen states have similar requests sitting in Washington, awaiting approval from the Trump administration that they’re almost certain to get. More could follow soon.

Friday’s approval of Kentucky’s new plan came one day after the Trump administration announced it would approve work requirements. This represented a considerable policy shift. Previously, the Obama administration had rejected such requests, arguing that work requirements violate Medicaid’s guarantee of health care for poor people. These are the same arguments that advocates for the poor are likely to make if and when they sue to block the changes.

Trump administration officials, like their Kentucky counterparts, know this. In their letter approving the proposal, they previewed their defense by making the same argument they did on Thursday ― that requiring able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work would improve their health outcomes and help them become familiar with the way private health insurance works. That is why, the administration said, it was within its rights to approve Kentucky’s request as a “demonstration project.”

But there’s very little evidence to suggest Kentucky’s overhaul will improve health outcomes, and quite a lot of evidence to suggest it will actually worsen them. Multiple studies, some of them focusing on Kentucky specifically, have shown that giving people Medicaid makes them healthier and more financially secure, which in turn makes it easier for them to find and hold on to jobs.

There is also little reason to think these changes would make Kentucky’s Medicaid program more efficient. On the contrary, new requirements such as checking to make sure people have jobs will inevitably require more administrative work ― not just for the people who want Medicaid, but for the state government as well.

Retroactive eligibility ― a key if underappreciated provision of Medicaid in most states ― doesn’t simply help low-income people avoid crippling medical debt. It also helps finance the operation of safety net hospitals. Ending it, as Kentucky plans to do, would likely hurt both. When another state, Indiana, experimented with having Medicaid recipients contribute toward the cost of their Medicaid, large numbers did not, and they ended up losing coverage as a result.

Those are just some of the reasons to think the real motivation for these changes has little to do with health outcomes, efficiency or the economy as a whole. A more plausible explanation is that Republican officials ― including Bevins and Seema Verma, the Trump administration official in charge of Medicaid ― think too many able-bodied adults are on the program. In fact, Verma has said this explicitly before.

Many Americans ― quite possibly most ― would have no problem linking Medicaid and work. But nearly 80 percent of people on Medicaid are already in families where somebody is employed, and nearly 60 percent work themselves, according to data from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. And of those who don’t work, most are in school or caring for a family member, or have a medical condition that they say prevents them from working. Other studies have yielded similar findings.

That all of this should be happening in Kentucky is ironic. Although a relatively conservative state, smack in the heart of what now qualifies as Trump country, Kentucky enthusiastically embraced the Affordable Care Act when it became law. It took advantage of new federal money to expand its Medicaid program, so it would be available to all people with incomes below or just above the poverty line.

Between 2013 and 2016, the share of Kentucky’s residents without insurance fell from 20.4 percent to 7.8 percent. That was the single biggest drop of any state in the country.

But that change took place while Steve Beshear, a Democratic governor enthusiastic about helping poor people get health insurance, was in charge. Bevins, his successor and a loud critic of “Obamacare,” campaigned on a promise to roll back the expansion. Although he backed off that promise ― perhaps because many of those who supported him would have been among the hundreds of thousands losing coverage ― he has continued to suggest Medicaid needs radical changes because, he says, it encourages dependency.

Bevin has also made a threat that if he can’t get his way on the work requirement and other changes, he will go ahead and roll back the expansion after all. That would leave a much larger number of Kentucky residents, perhaps approaching half a million, without health insurance.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-kentucky-medicaid-work-requirement_us_5a591c2ee4b03c4189658d23

Trump mounts extraordinary defence of his ‘mental stability’

President boasts of being a very stable genius and calls Michael Wolff a fraud but author says his explosive book will finally end this presidency

In an extraordinary public defence of his own mental stability, Donald Trump issued a volley of tweets that seemed guaranteed to add fuel to a raging political fire.

Suggestions in a new tell-all book that he was mentally unfit to be president were out of the old Ronald Reagan playbook, Trump wrote on Saturday.

Actually, the president added, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart.

He also said he would qualify as not smart, but genius … and a very stable genius at that!

The book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, by Michael Wolff, burst into the public consciousness on Wednesday, when the Guardian reported excerpts nearly a week ahead of publication. Trump threatened to sue but succeeded only in prompting the publisher Henry Holt to bring the book forward.

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Fire and Fury: Key explosive quotes from the new Trump book – video

Wolff presents a picture of a doomed administration lurching from crisis to crisis, steered by a childlike figure who responds to overstimulation with intense, reflexive outbursts.

The president may not be able to restrain himself from commenting but I can restrain myself from commenting on his comments, Wolff told the Guardian on Saturday.

At a lunchtime press conference at Camp David, the president was asked why he tweeted. In a characteristically freewheeling answer, he said: Only because I went to the best colleges or college. I went to I had a situation where I was a very excellent student, came out and made billions and billions of dollars, became one of the top business people.

Went to television and for 10 years was a tremendous success as you probably have heard. Ran for president one time and won.

In fact, in 1999 Trump mounted a first run for the White House when he sought the nomination of the Reform party.

The president continued, referring to Wolff: And then I hear this guy that does not know me doesnt know me at all by the way did not interview me for three he said he interviewed me for three hours in the White House it didnt exist, OK? Its in his imagination.

Trump called Wolff a fraud and his book a work of fiction and complained about US libel laws, which he has threatened to change.

The White House chief of staff, John Kelly, told a White House pool reporter the president tweeted to get around the filter of the media. Trump had not at all seemed angry on Friday night or Saturday, Kelly said, adding that the president had watched the Hugh Jackman movie The Greatest Showman about the hoaxer and politician PT Barnum with lawmakers and others.

Before Trumps tweets, Wolff spoke to the BBC. He said: I think one of the interesting effects of the book so far is a very clear emperor has no clothes effect.

Suddenly everywhere people are going: Oh my God, its true, he has no clothes. Thats the background to the perception and the understanding that will finally end this presidency.

The 25th amendment of the US constitution provides for the removal of a president if a majority of the cabinet and the vice-president agree. In Wolffs book, the then White House strategist Steve Bannon refers to Vice-President Mike Pence as our fallback guy. Pence stood to Trumps right at Camp David, his gaze rarely leaving the president.

Bandy Lee, an assistant clinical professor at the Yale School of Medicine, briefed a dozen members of Congress last month on Trumps behaviour. At the end of a week that began with Trump taunting North Korea over the size of his nuclear button, Lee told the Guardian the danger has become imminent.

Fifty-seven House Democrats have signed on to a bill to establish an oversight commission to determine if a president is mentally and physically fit.

We need this legislation quite apart from the Trump administration, Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland and the author of the bill, told the Guardian.

The 25th amendment was framed during the nuclear age the nuclear arsenal being a vast destructive power that is vested, as the president reminded us this week, in one person who views himself as having the power to press a button. We certainly dont want someone in that position who lacks the power of empathy.

The rising tide of questions around the presidents mental health reflects a lot of anxiety unleashed by the presidents nuclear taunts lodged at North Korea.

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A queue for Fire and Fury at Kramerbooks, in Washington. Photograph: Guardian

The White House has forcefully criticised Wolff, who has said he stands by his work, which included more than 200 interviews and extensive access to the West Wing and key administration figures.

At Camp David, Trump referred to Bannon derisively as Sloppy Steve. The former Trump campaign chief has avoided extensive comment, though in the aftermath of the Guardian story he called Trump a great man.

Trumps reference to the Ronald Reagan playbook was a curious one. Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimers, a degenerative brain disease, in 1994, five years after leaving office.

The extent to which he suffered during his time in the White House remains a matter of contention. Reagan, like Trump in his 70s when in office, long faced questions over his mental state. Opponents pointed to his habit of forgetting names and making contradictory statements.

In the Hollywood Reporter this week, Wolff wrote of Trump: Everybody was painfully aware of the increasing pace of his repetitions. It used to be inside of 30 minutes hed repeat, word-for-word and expression-for-expression, the same three stories now it was within 10 minutes. Indeed, many of his tweets were the product of his repetitions he just couldnt stop saying something.

The White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, has said Trump will undergo his annual physical examination on Friday 12 January. The results are due to be made public.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/06/donald-trump-tweets-mental-stability-fire-and-fury-michael-wolff

Cranberries Singer Dolores ORiordan Dead at 46

London (AP) — Dolores O'Riordan, whose urgent, powerful voice helped make Irish rock band The Cranberries a global success in the 1990s, died suddenly on Monday at a London hotel. She was 46.

The singer-songwriter's publicist, Lindsey Holmes, confirmed that O'Riordan died in London, where she was recording,

"No further details are available at this time," Holmes said, adding that O'Riordan's family was "devastated" by the news.

Her Cranberries bandmates — Noel Hogan, Mike Hogan and Fergus Lawler — tweeted that O'Riordan "was an extraordinary talent and we feel very privileged to have been part of her life."

London's Metropolitan Police force said officers were called just after 9 a.m. Monday to a hotel where a woman in her 40s was found dead. The police force said the death was being treated as "unexplained."

The Hilton hotel in London's Park Lane confirmed that a guest had died on the premises.

Ireland's President Michael D. Higgins said O'Riordan and The Cranberries "had an immense influence on rock and pop music in Ireland and internationally."

O'Riordan was born on Sept. 6, 1971 in Ballybricken, southwest Ireland. In 1990, she answered an ad from a local band in nearby Limerick city — then called The Cranberry Saw Us — that was looking for a lead singer.

A name change and a confluence of factors turned The Cranberries into international stars. Their guitar-based sound had an alternative-rock edge at a time when grunge was storming the music scene.

The band's songs — on which O'Riordan was chief lyricist and co-songwriter — had a Celtic-infused tunefulness. And in O'Riordan the group had a charismatic lead singer with a distinctively powerful voice.

Heavy play on MTV for their debut single "Dream" and the singles that followed helped bring the group to the attention of a mass audience.

The Cranberries' 1993 debut album, "Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?", sold millions of copies and produced the hit single "Linger."

The follow-up, "No Need to Argue," sold in even greater numbers and contained "Zombie," a visceral howl against Northern Ireland's violent Troubles that topped singles charts in several countries.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar tweeted Monday that "for anyone who grew up in Ireland in the 1990s, Dolores O'Riordan was the voice of a generation. As the female lead singer of a hugely successful rock band, she blazed a trail and might just have been Limerick's greatest ever rock star. RIP."

The band released three more studio albums before splitting up in 2003. O'Riordan released a solo album, "Are You Listening," in 2007, and another, "No Baggage," in 2009.

The Cranberries also reunited that year, resulting in the album "Roses" in 2012.

For a time, O'Riordan was one of Ireland's richest women, but she struggled with both physical and mental health problems.

The Cranberries released the acoustic album "Something Else" in 2017 and had been due to tour Europe and North America. The tour was cut short because O'Riordan was suffering from back problems.

In 2014, O'Riordan was accused of assaulting three police officers and a flight attendant during a flight from New York to Ireland. She pleaded guilty and was fined 6,000 euros ($6,600.)

Medical records given to the court indicated she was mentally ill at the time of the altercation. After her court hearing O'Riordan urged other people suffering mental illness to seek help.

She told London's Metro newspaper last year that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and she spoke to the Irish News about her battles with depression.

O'Riordan said depression "is one of the worst things to go through," but that "I've also had a lot of joy in my life, especially with my children."

"You get ups as well as downs. Sure, isn't that what life's all about?" she said.

O'Riordan is survived by her ex-husband, the former Duran Duran tour manager Don Burton, and their three children.

    Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-15/urgent-cranberries-singer-dolores-o-riordan-dead-at-46

    Barcelona off the beaten path: A city guide for the culturally adventurous

    Image: pixabay

    From the architectural masterpieces of Antoni Gaudí to the sweeping vistas of the Catalan countryside, Barcelona is a city full of sensory delights. 

    But there’s far more to this vibrant metropolis than initially meets the eye. For locals and travellers alike, Barcelona is full of hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path wonders that go far beyond the typical tourist traps. 

    Below, we’ve outlined a few bucket list items for every type of traveller who hopes to live like a local during their stay in this remarkable city.

    WHAT TO DO

    For couples: Couples who want to experience the “real” Barcelona can find a number of authentic activities that veer from the standard stroll down to la Sagrada Família. To delve into the heart of Catalan culture, a hands-on approach is key.

    Image: pixabay

    Start with the city’s world-renowned cuisine: At bcnKITCHEN, visitors can sign up for cooking classes (offered in both English and Spanish) to learn the art of local, traditional dishes like coca catalana and crema catalana.

    For couples craving a taste of the dramatic, visit Barcelona Improv Group to catch an improv show or even partake in a Sunday drop-in workshop hosted at Teatre de l’Enjòlit

    For business travellers: Those staying in Barcelona for business may find inspiration at MADE, a flexible space for artists, designers, entrepreneurs, engineers and more. This creative co-working organisation hosts Open Monday Meetups for interested parties to drop in, explore the space, and mingle with resident entrepreneurs.

    For families: Entertainment options in Barcelona go beyond correfoc, a traditional fireworks display — though these shows are highly recommended if you happen to be in town for any kind of Catalan festival. For a unique take on the city’s theatre scene, check out puppetry at Sala Fenix. The shows are primarily in Catalan and Spanish, so it’s an experience best reserved for families who speak a little of the local language.

    Barcelona’s expansive beaches are also well worth a visit. For those seeking sandy beaches sans crowds, head to Playa de Llevant, Barcelona’s easternmost beach. Other less-touristic beach options include Platja del Bogatell, Nova Icaria, and Mar Bella.

    Image: pixabay

    For anyone on a budget: Market strolling is a quintessential Barcelona activity, and there are options to satisfy every budget. Bypass Boqueria to explore some of the local hot spots, like Els Encants Vells, the largest permanent flea market in town, which is accessible via the Glòries metro stop, or Sants Market, where locals swarm Montero, a lunchtime spot that specialises in menjars casolans (“homemade meals”) to go.

    WHAT TO SEE

    For couples: You may not know that some of the world’s top-rated vineyards are within an hour and a half drive from Barcelona, and nothing says romance quite like vino with a view. Go beyond the city limits for a day of wine tasting, vineyard touring, and soaking in the mountains, monasteries, and stunning nature that surrounds this metropolitan hotspot. Devour Barcelona offers a variety of options to choose from for day or half-day tours of Catalonia.

    Or, stick around town, throw it back to the ’90s, and rent skates from Inercia. The company’s website offers a variety of ideas for roller activities around town, as well as information about local tours and classes for all levels.

    For business travellers: Meandering through Gràcia, which has become one of Barcelona’s hippest neighbourhoods in recent years, will provide a peek into how the locals live. Along with a smattering of indie shops and architectural landmarks (such as Gaudí’s Casa Vicens and Park Gϋell), this area has a number of outdoor cafes with WiFi,  so you can take a laptop and enjoy  people watching. Onna Cafe has excellent coffee, plentiful electrical outlets, and a variety of delectable menu options.

    Image: pixabay

    For families: Skip the guided tours of Barcelona’s most heavily trodden tourist traps and opt instead for a comprehensive bike tour of this fabulous city. Steel Donkey Bike Tours offer a unique experience; no two tours are the same, and the group prides itself on discovering hidden hot spots that even locals may not know about. 

    For anyone on a budget: Get a feel for the gritty side of Barcelona with a free street art tour that will take you down the rabbit hole of some of the city’s most intriguing alternative culture. For a glimpse into comprehensive Catalan culture, it’s worth paying a visit to the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, which hosts talks, events, as well as  a wide range of ever-evolving exhibitions.

    WHERE TO DINE

    For couples: A visit to Barcelona simply isn’t complete without a truly memorable meal. Such an experience is all but guaranteed at Etapes. Don’t be fooled by the restaurant’s small size: exquisite dishes like smoked sardines, bluefin tuna loin, and stuffed rabbit porchetta pack explosive Mediterranean flavour.

    For a more laid-back meal, take the funicular up to Cafe Mirablau to enjoy delicious bites with a spectacular view.

    For business travellers: Barcelona’s numerous art cafes are the perfect blend of boho ambiance and WiFi fuerte. Cosmo Cafe in Carrer Enric Granados is the ideal place to grab a bite and a natural juice while working from the cafe’s cozy sofas. It’s a particularly apt option for health-conscious, eco-conscious travellers. The majority of the menu’s ingredients come from local establishments within a 100 km radius. 

    Image: pixabay

    For families: Skip the long lines at the restaurants and opt to pack a Catalan-style picnic complete with Iberian ham, local cheeses, and delicious breads and pastries. Picnic locations are plentiful, including any number of the city’s beautiful parks like Park Guinardó or the Tamarita Gardens, where you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon amongst the locals walking their dogs. These parks are a quiet refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city.

    For anyone on a budget: There’s no better way to experience a city’s culinary creative side than to sample the sensory smorgasbord of street food. At the Palo Alto Market, peruse local crafts and handmade goods alongside some of the city’s famed food trucks, which serve up any number of inventive delicacies.

    WHERE TO PARTY

    For couples: A stroll down the winding streets of El Born is the perfect way to set a romantic mood before an evening out on the town. Head to El Xampanyet for the local experience and an extensive wine menu — and prepare to get close amongst the crowds. 

    For business travellers: For an authentic experience that’s a great option for groups (not to mention a chance to relax from work-related stressors), score tickets to a local football match. Barcelona’s beloved team, FC Barcelona, plays at Camp Nou stadium, the largest stadium in Europe. Tickets may be tricky to come by, but visit the FC Barcelona website or Ticketmaster a few days before a game to search for seats.

    Image: pixabay

    For families: Parents and kids alike will have a blast at Tibidabo, Spain’s oldest running amusement park. The park has been around for more than a century, and it features more than 25 rides as well as stunning panoramic views.

    For anyone on a budget: To take the evening up a notch, head to Espit Chupitos, a bar that specialises in unique shots. Each drink comes complete with a story, so be sure to inquire about the meaning behind the menu. A lively atmosphere, affordable drinks, and up-for-anything bartenders makes this place a hot spot for anyone looking for a night out on the town.

    WHERE TO STAY

    There’s more to Barcelona than meets the eye. Whether you’re looking to explore the city’s lesser-known wonders or get a taste of true Catalan culture, there’s a TRYP by Wyndham hotel to meet your needs. Located right in the middle of Barcelona’s vibrant culture, stunning architecture, and unique dining scene, TRYP by Wyndham hotels are perfect for any type of traveller.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2018/01/08/barcelona-city-guide-2017/

    New Sex Tape Reportedly Shows Offset Cheating On Cardi B Yet AGAIN, But

    Call us skeptical on this one, but it’s worth passing along to let you know what’s going on.

    There’s a new clip of a sex tape making its rounds on the internet right now, reportedly showing Offset cheating on

    The tape, which you can see (below), is a very short clip as it’s been sent on Twitter, and it’s not entirely clear whether it actually is Offset…

    It’s also a very adult clip and super NSFW, so be careful watching it and judge for yourself:

    Hmmm… call us skeptical on that, because it sure doesn’t seem like it’s Offset???? Could be anyone. Too tough to tell, not good enough picture quality!!!

    Poor Cardi B getting dragged through these salacious rumors!!!

    It hasn’t stopped people from commenting on it, at least (below):

    Yeah…

    And then, of course, there’s Maury Povich with the best tweet about it all (below):

    Ha!!!

    What do y’all think?!

    Is Offset STILL cheating, or is this all much ado about nothing this time???

    Let us know in the comments (below)!!!

    [Image via Ivan Nikolov/WENN.]

    Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2018-01-06-cardi-b-offset-cheating-again-video-sex-tape-leak-news

    Heartbreaking: This Elderly Womans Family Thinks Shes Lying About The Fact That ALF Is A Janitor At Her Nursing Home And Sometimes Bullies Her

    Between the loneliness, the health issues, and the loss of independence, life for residents of eldercare facilities can often be demoralizing. And it can be even more demoralizing when one’s most vital support systems fail them in their time of need, which is why this story is so devastating: This elderly woman’s family thinks she’s lying about the fact that ALF is a janitor at her nursing home and that he sometimes bullies her.

    Wow. It really breaks your heart to hear stories like this.

    Since moving into Heritage Manor Nursing Center four months ago, 92-year-old Virginia Robkin has been receiving regular—and often upsetting—visits from a custodian named ALF, an extraterrestrial creature with a sardonic and twisted sense of humor. Robkin frequently calls her family members to complain about the janitor, who has inexplicably taken a cruel interest in her and often finds little ways to harass or intimidate her, like shrieking his grotesque alien mating call right into her ear when she’s trying to sleep, but her complaints fall on deaf ears. No matter what concerns she raises, whether it’s about ALF putting her treasured belongings on a high shelf so she can’t reach them, purposefully neglecting to restock her toilet paper, or eating her beloved cat, Sprinkles, right in front of her, Robkin’s cries for help are always immediately dismissed by her family as senile delusions, despite the fact that she is still of sharp mind in her old age.

    “When I told my daughter, Gloria, what was happening, she acted like I was losing my marbles and tried to get me to go to a doctor, even though I showed her proof that ALF works here,” said Robkin, explaining that she had previously linked her daughter to the staff page on the nursing home’s website, on which ALF is indeed listed, yet her daughter hadn’t even bothered to look. “She thinks I’m just being an old racist coot and calling my Haitian nurse ALF, but I would never say anything derogatory about Josué. ALF works here, and he bullies me, and it saddens me that no one will believe me.”

    “Just this morning I called my son, David, and told him about how last night ALF came into my room while I was sleeping and whispered, ‘I’m gonna fuck up your tub, bitch,’ before going into the bathroom, shaving himself head to toe, and stuffing all his fur down my shower drain,” she continued. “And David hung up on me! He thought I was just rambling and got fed up. And now I don’t know who to turn to for help with my tub, because when I brought up the issue with the facility manager here, guess who he sent to unclog the drain? That’s right, ALF. I just feel so helpless.”

    Sadly, Robkin’s complaints about ALF have seemingly affected her family’s willingness to engage with her, as it has been over a month since any outside visitors have come to see her. And, unfortunately, this isolation has only emboldened ALF to behave more aggressively toward her, as he recently woke Robkin up in the middle of the night to let her know that when he finishes the spaceship he’s nearly done building, he is going to take her to his home planet of Melmac and sell her to a zoo where ALF’s “thousands of children” will go every day to throw firecrackers at her.

    Tragically, stories like Robkin’s are increasingly common in America, as all too often elderly individuals are neglected by loved ones who see them as burdens. We can only hope that Robkin’s family realizes that she’s not lying before ALF takes his bullying any further, because nobody—especially not a woman in her nineties—deserves to be treated this way.

    Read more: http://www.clickhole.com/article/heartbreaking-elderly-womans-family-thinks-shes-ly-7191

    People Can’t Wait For Khlo Kardashian’s Baby, But We Don’t Know How Long It’ll Be

    On Wednesday, Dec. 20, Khloé Kardashian finally gave us the news we’ve all been waiting for and confirmed that she is, indeed, pregnant. Now, of course, all questions revolve around how far along Khloé Kardashian is into her pregnancy. As happy as America is for her confirmed pregnancy — since fans know how badly she wants to be a mother and how hard this journey has been for her — however, it’s important to remember that it’s pregnancy. Not ours.

    Yes, the Kardashians handed their lives over to be watched, fawned over, and scrutinized by the public. But they did so in a controlled environment through their reality television shows. At the end of the day, tell fans what fans get to know — fans don’t get to demand to know every detail about their lives, especially when it involves something as significant as a pregnancy. This was something that Khloé alluded to in her Instagram post announcing (well, confirming, really) her pregnancy. After taking a paragraph to shout some love and thanks to her boyfriend, Tristan Thompson, she wrote a bit to the fans.

    “I know we’ve been keeping this quite but we wanted to enjoy this between our family and close friends as long as we could privately. To enjoy our first precious moments just us,” Kardashian wrote in the caption, adding an emoji red heart. “Thank you all for understanding. I am so thankful, excited, nervous, eager, overjoyed and scared all in one! But it’s the best bundle of feelings I’ve ever felt in my life!”

    Rumors first started spreading that Khloé might be pregnant back in September of this year. Generally speaking, people start spreading the news of a pregnancy after 12-ish weeks. That’s because the early stages of a pregnancy can be risky in terms of possible miscarriages and other issues. So if you really, really just can’t wait for Khlo to confirm some sense of timing, you can use that as a super general gauge. Let’s speculate that in September, Kardashian hit 12 weeks of pregnancy. Extrapolating from there, you could expect that she would give birth in early 2018, possibly sometime around March (March Madness, anyone?). Then again, this is pure speculation! For all we know, she waited for her 20-week ultrasound to let people know (the 20-week ultrasound is really important for checking on the health of a fetus).

    If you don’t want to use pregnancy tropes to make a guess for when this world will be blessed with a baby KoKo, you could try on some gossip. reported in late October that Khloé and Tristan would be having a child in early 2018, according to multiple sources. Now, when, exactly, “early” 2018 is is a subjective question, so that’s up to you, bbs. (Also according to that same report, they’re expecting a boy!)

    Ultimately, it’s up to Khloé if fans will get to know approximately how much longer it’ll be until she gives birth. I know sometimes it like we’re owed every detail of these women’s lives, but we really are not. If she wants to share how far along she is, she’ll share it… and let’s be real about this, chances are, fans will know a whole lot more about all the details of her pregnancy just as soon as we get to the next episodes of . I mean, if I got to see Kourtney Kardashian literally pull her daughter out of her vagina, I have a feeling I’ll get to know a whole lot more about Khloé’s pregnancy. Patience is a virtue, people!

    Read more: https://elitedaily.com/p/how-far-along-is-khloe-kardashian-only-she-needs-to-know-7658362

    A Few Gentle Reminders To Myself As The New Year Approaches

    Avi Richards

    Some of this isn’t easy for me to say to you so I’m just going to come right out and say it.

    Please stop trying so hard. I know that seems like a really crappy goal to have in the New Year but you’ve been trying really hard and it’s been your problem for a while. You try really hard to make people like you, to be honest, to be a good person, to make health a priority, to make good sleep a priority, to make chasing your passions and a good career a priority. Cue the cliché line about how you need to make you a priority. Really though. The stuff you’re good at and the stuff you enjoy is the stuff that you aren’t trying so hard to prioritize. Why are you prioritizing all this other stuff? Did you forget what the word priority even means? You are never going to be perfect. You’re not a Barbie. Go watch LifeSize again and listen to pre-crazy Lindsay Lohan teach Tyra Banks a thing or two. Jot it down. Maybe buy a Lisa Frank notebook and make a whole thing out of it.

    I’m not saying to throw in the towel on your goals or anything, I’m just saying I think you should probably figure out what the hell your goals actually are. Like, you say you want to be honest and respected but you also want to be well-liked. Which is it? You say you want to be healthy but you sleep almost all the time due to your exhaustion from living a life that you don’t actually want. You say you want a different type of companionship but you surround yourself with the same people and write off any new people as too much effort.

    I’m sorry, I’m making you sound way worse than you really are. You have a lot of moments where you can be cool. The way you accomplish things that people tell you that you can’t do is one of my favorite things about you. The way you use your sense of humor in times of stress is pretty awesome. Sometimes you blow me away with how well you’ve learned past lessons. Other times, we have these long talks in hindsight and I can only hope you’ll go forward a little smarter. Despite the limitations you put on yourself, you’re pretty good at surpassing them. It kind of frustrates me but it also impresses me. Like, that little bit that you do where you act like you’re such a mess (part of your comedy routine mentioned earlier) and you laugh at your pain so that you and everyone around you underestimates you but thinks you have this awesome attitude on life. Then, when you pull yourself out of it, everyone can go “wow, who knew she had it in her?!” But, really, you were going back and forth between crying and grinding your ass off in between making jokes, giving the impression that you just stumble through your life and things work out. I really want you to stop doing that because you should never underestimate yourself or allow others to underestimate you, but it does make your life more interesting. Plus, you admit that you do it so it’s not like you’re completely inauthentic about it. I don’t know, maybe this will be another hindsight fireside chat that we have in the future.

    Basically, I’m saying you don’t need to change everything about yourself, just the parts that aren’t making you truly happy.

    I apologize that I still can’t give you advice on what to do about boys and dating. Put yourself out there? Do what makes you happy? Life your life #noregrets? I really don’t know. Just keep doing what you’re doing and hope for the best. Maybe pick someone a little more awkward (less calculated) next time and someone who cares more about what they say to you instead of who they can “impressively” quote.

    Be nicer to your family. I know you guys are really close so you can forget what being “nice” is. It includes manners and patience, even though you know they’ll love you no matter what. Be nicer to your friends too. Don’t forget that you suck sometimes and they put up with it because they love you. Don’t forget that your lives are on different paths and none of them are correct or incorrect.

    Also, stop being so scared of growing up.

    You’ve literally been doing it your whole life. It’s a popularized fear, but you and I both know what’s feared and what’s popular are usually nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

    I really hope we can stay in touch more this year. I think we could be really good friends if you’d stop canceling on me so much.

    Love you. Talk soon.

    Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/erin-cinney/2017/12/a-few-gentle-reminders-to-myself-as-the-new-year-approaches/