English Towns Are Installing ‘Chat Benches’ to Combat Loneliness

iStock/monkeybusinessimages
iStock/monkeybusinessimages

Loneliness is a serious health condition: One AARP study found that prolonged social isolation can have the same risks as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. But unlike other ailments, the symptoms of loneliness can be hard to detect to everyone but the person having them. A new initiative in the UK aims to combat the problem by making it easier for people who feel alone to socialize with strangers.

As Yahoo! reports, the police department of Burnham-On-Sea, in southwest England, has posted signs designating some public seating as "chat benches." Two were unveiled in a park in nearby Taunton and one was installed on the waterfront in Burnham-On-Sea. The signs read: “The ‘Happy to Chat’ Bench: Sit Here If You Don’t Mind Someone Stopping To Say Hello.”

For people who feel isolated in their daily lives, the benches are an opportunity to make a connection with someone new. They also give people who want to help the lonely members of their community a way to do so.


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Burnham-On-Sea police community support officer Tracey Grobbeler told Burnham-On-Sea.com, “Simply stopping to say ‘hello’ to someone at the Chat Bench could make a huge difference to the vulnerable people in our communities and help to make life a little better for them.”

The initiative was launched to coincide with United Nations World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. According to a recent poll, more than a third of seniors reported feeling a lack of companionship at least some of the time, while 27 percent said they feel isolated some of the time or more often. While the project was conceived with the elderly population in mind, the Burnham-On-Sea police department encourages residents of all ages to use the chat benches.

Giving people permission to strike up conversations with strangers is just one of way to fight social isolation among seniors. In China, young people can live in a nursing home for a discounted price in exchange for spending time with older residents. Meanwhile, in the U.S. and Europe, adult playgrounds act as social hubs for seniors.

[h/t Yahoo!]

Nike Is Releasing a Sneaker Inspired By Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America

Nike
Nike

Giannis Antetokounmpo, the NBA’s 2019 Most Valuable Player, is paying homage to his favorite movie with a new Nike basketball sneaker inspired by Eddie Murphy’s 1988 romantic comedy Coming to America, Geek.com reports.

Murphy’s character in the film, Crown Prince Akeem Joffer, comes to America from his fictional country Zamunda with a dream: to escape from his impending arranged marriage and find true love. Antetokounmpo also came to America, though from a real place (Athens, Greece), with the dream of becoming a professional basketball player in the U.S. The Milwaukee Bucks chose him as the 15th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, and he has since made a name for himself as “the Greek Freak,” a lightning-quick, Euro-stepping power forward who carried his team to the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals.

The new shoes are the latest addition to Antetokounmpo’s Zoom Freak 1 line, which launched last month with three colorways: black and white, red and white, and multicolored. All versions feature a king-sized Nike swoosh running along the outside of the sole and up the heel, but the Coming to America kicks have a few extra film-inspired design elements: the swoosh is gold, the mesh is leopard-print (like Prince Akeem’s leopard stole), and the tongue displays the Coming to America logo. Also, they come in a box containing pink rose petals and an illustration of Antetokounmpo looking very much like Prince Akeem himself.

Illustration of Giannis Antetokounmpo inspired by Coming to America
Nike

This particular partnership between Nike and Paramount Pictures goes beyond feet: The rest of the collection includes a track jacket, basketball shorts, a T-shirt, and a hat, which all complement the design characteristics of the sneakers.

Coming to America Nike Collection
Nike

Fans of basketball, '80 comedies, and/or animal prints can shop the collection starting August 2.

[h/t Geek.com]

Oscar Mayer Is Renting Out the Wienermobile on Airbnb For Overnight Stays

Airbnb
Airbnb

Oscar Mayer is about to make all of your hot dog dreams come true. To celebrate National Hot Dog Day (today), the meat-industry titan has listed its legendary Wienermobile on Airbnb for overnight stays. Mark your calendars for July 24, when reservation opportunities will go live throughout the day, with prices starting at $136 per night.

Oscar Mayer Wienermobile on Airbnb
Airbnb

The 27-foot-long locomotive hot dog, parked in Chicago, can accommodate two people and includes a sofa bed, sitting area, and outdoor space with a bathroom and “hot dog picnic zone” where you can lounge in Adirondack chairs while enjoying a savory snack. The 'mobile will also be packed with all the hot dog amenities you didn’t know you needed: Highlights include a mini fridge stocked with hot dogs and Chicago-style fixings, a custom Wienermobile art piece by Chicago artist Laura Kiro, and an Oscar Mayer roller grill that you get to keep forever. And that’s not the only souvenir: each guest will also receive a welcome kit with as-yet-unidentified “hot dog-inspired accessories.”

Other features include air conditioning, free parking, breakfast, a hair dryer, and the essentials: towels, bed sheets, soap, shampoo, and toilet paper.

Interior of Wienermobile on Airbnb
Airbnb

Interior of Wienermobile on Airbnb
Airbnb

The booking dates overlap with Chicago’s famed Grant Park music festival Lollapalooza, which takes place from August 1 through 4. The lineup this year includes Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, The Strokes, and Kacey Musgraves, to name a few. What better way to stay nourished and well-rested after a musical marathon than in a cozy, oblong automobile filled with meat?

If you can't book a Wienermobile getaway, you can still celebrate July as National Hot Dog Month by hosting your own hot dog picnic wherever you are (just make sure you know the proper way to plate, dress, serve, and chow down on a plate full of frankfurters).

Check out the full listing on Airbnb.

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