The Common Acupuncture Myths You’re Falling For & What The Truth Is

When you think of acupuncture, you probably think of two things: needles to the face, and your weird alternative friend who shadily doesn’t believe in vaccines. Well, like most stereotypes, this is not really correct. Acupuncture has been around forever and isn’t like, some back-alley shit you turn to in a moment of desperation. Well, I mean, maybe you’re desperate, but my point is it’s a legit science that’s been proven to help with so many issues like pain, digestive issues, and sleep. Acupuncturists have to go through a lot of schooling before they can practice—a three- to four-year masters program, to be exact. So yeah, we’re going to bust some common acupuncture myths thanks to our friends from Sanctuary Acupuncture & Holistic Health in NYC.

We were lucky enough to have Sanctuary Acupuncture & Holistic Health come to our office, where they offered a variety of services. We tried out ear acupuncture and cupping. These are our stories. EXECUTIVE PRODUCER DICK WOLF. Oh wait. That’s not right. Moving on.

Ear Acupuncture

First of all, acupuncture doesn’t have to be needles all over your body. It can be if you’re into that, but it’s not necessary. If you want the same rest and digest benefits of all-over acupuncture, but like, you can’t sit with your facial muscles completely still for an extended period of time (hi), you can do ear acupuncture. The acupuncturist will stick five needles in various parts of your ear and leave them chilling in there for about 10-20 minutes. I know what you’re thinking, and it hurts wayyyy less than getting your cartilage pierced, so it’s a pretty painless experience. Afterwards, they can continue the treatment and put gold ear seeds or crystals in the same points. It helps prolong the benefits of the acupuncture AND you get to feel like one of those super edgy people with multiple ear piercings even if you secretly cry at night listening to Taylor Swift.

I specifically told the acupuncturist that I wanted help clearing my sinuses, and I shit you not, I stopped sniffling so damn much during the procedure. I’m not saying acupuncture works miracles, but I am saying I might book another appointment when I feel a sinus infection coming on. So like, the second I step outside today. If you want the full benefits of acupuncture but you’re a little commitment phobic, try ear acupuncture as your gateway.


You probably remember vaguely hearing about cupping back during the last Olympics, when Michael Phelps showed up with perfectly round bruises all over his body that made us think, “Damn, who gave Michael Phelps all those hickies?” The answer: ancient Chinese alternative medicine. Cupping was developed thousands of years ago, and it is the practice of putting special cups on your skin to create suction (hence the hickies). It can be use for pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation, and, in the case of Michael Phelps, winning gold medals.

Okay, so cupping won’t directly help you win gold medals, but it definitely didn’t hurt. Basically, if you spend 90% of your week rubbing your shoulders and screaming about how you need a massage, cupping is for you. Funnily enough, cupping is actually the opposite of a massage in that it uses pressure to suck the muscles upward, rather than pull them down. Tons of celebs are obsessed with cupping, including Jennifer Aniston, Lady Gaga, and Victoria Beckham, so if you’re worried about the marks, don’t be. They’re literally a status symbol at this point. (But also if you’re going to an event and are wearing a backless dress or something, you can just tell the specialist and she’ll place the cups strategically for you. NBD.)

Don’t forget to follow @sanctuaryacu and book your appointment NOW!

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This Is Why Copay-Free Birth Control Is So Important To Me

Why Copay-Free Birth Control Is So Important For My Health, Profession, & Wealth

Today, as I do every three months, I went to my local pharmacy to pick up my birth control. As I walked up to the counter, I let out a sigh relief that I didn’t have to open my wallet to receive my chosen form of contraception. This is all thanks to the birth control benefit included in the Affordable Care Act, which designated birth control as preventive health care and made all FDA-approved contraceptives copay-free with insurance.

I am one of the more than 62.4 million women across the country who have access to copay-free birth control because of this benefit. But in October, President Trump rolled back this copay-free birth control coverage, immediately allowing any company or university to deny birth control coverage if it conflicts with “religious” or “moral” beliefs. While I don’t believe my employer will take away my birth control coverage, thousands of other women will not be so lucky. And President Trump’s actions could cost these women hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars each year — the cost of trying to have control over their own futures.

I started taking birth control nine years ago when I was a college student. College was a turning point in my life — I was investing in my future and excited for what it might hold. I wanted to put preventative measures in place that would allow me to concentrate on my education. Nine years later, my birth control has given me peace of mind to know that I have control over one part of my life. I’ve been in a committed relationship for almost 13 years and we’ve always known that we both have goals we want to achieve before taking the next step to have a family.

Keep Birth Control Copay Free on YouTube

Trust me when I say that finding the best birth control for me wasn’t easy. Staying away from the pill (I knew I could not for the life of me remember to take a pill every day), I ultimately landed on the NuvaRing, which I’ve been using ever since.

Right now at 26, I’m able to focus on developing my career and saving for retirement. I’m building an “emergency” savings account to ensure I have funds available in case I lose my job or get sick. I want the peace of mind in knowing I won’t have to struggle to support myself.

Not only has having copay-free birth control allowed me to control my life, it’s helped my bank account. Over the last five years since the birth control benefit was put in place, I’ve saved almost $125 each month and nearly $1,000 in 2017 alone. I use what I’ve saved from birth control to increase my “emergency” fund, invest in my future, and expand my horizons through my favorite hobby: travel.

Without copay-free protection, the cost for my annual birth control is nearly equal to one month’s rent. My Nuvaring is the same cost as a monthly MetroCard that gets me to and from work. And for low income families, paying for birth control could mean skipping a meal here and there.

Why are we putting women and their families in the position to choose between two things they need to succeed?

Copay-free birth control should be a standard benefit for women across the country. It’s mind boggling that the Trump administration would create loopholes for any company to deny birth control coverage to their employees when contraception has been such an important benefit to our economy, our society, and our families.

Women should be making our own healthcare decisions. Not our bosses and not our government. That’s why I’m joining women across the country to stand against President Trump’s efforts to roll back women’s health. We will fight back.

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17 True Scary Stories That Will Ruin Your Night

Favi Santos

“I’m not your dad

“A girl I used to know told me a story that her ex husband used to wake up in the middle of the night because someone was tickling his feet. She told him her dad used to tickle her and her sisters feet to wake them up for school in the morning. So when weird things started happening around the house they would just say “knock it off dad” and it would stop. Well one day something happened in the kitchen (I don’t remember what) and she said “knock it off dad” and as she was walking out the door something growled in her ear “I’m not your dad”. They moved out a few weeks later.”

The man with the mustache

“When my son was about 3 he had a tent canopy attached to his bed frame. It covered about 3/4 of the length of his bed. He would always scoot towards the head of the bed and insisted covering up head to toe with his blanket, no matter how warm it was. I couldn’t turn off the lights until he was finished. I figured it was normal kid stuff. One night, just out of curiosity, I asked why he covered up so thoroughly. His response, “Because the man with the mustache won’t stop touching me. He’s always trying to tickle me. If I’m covered and way up here, he can’t reach me”. No one else had access to our house so needless to say, that scared the crap out of me. Till this day he still covers with his blanket, no matter how warm it is, although not as thoroughly as he used to. He doesn’t remember the man but still will not go to bed uncovered. He’s a teen now.”

Imaginary friend

“Ex-girlfriend moved into an apartment across the street from me, and told me her little brother had a new “imaginary friend” named Alex. Well I had been living in that neighborhood for about 5 years and 3 years prior to her moving in my neighbor Alex hung himself in that house.”

This is all very nope

“When I was a teenager in Colorado Springs we all used to crawl though this small tunnel that was directly under the interstate to get back and fourth from our neighborhood to the shitty trailer park with out obviously having to jump fences and run across the highway.

One drunken night alone I was on my way home about 2-3 am I came out of the tunnel only to find myself face to face with this huge rottweiler staring at me. I was in shock for a second, my stomach dropped. Instinctively I started yelling at the damn dog to go home. He just stood there glaring at me and every step I slowly took trying to get away he would bark and growl showing his teeth. So I started stomping towards him in a dominant way yelling at him to go on.

He turned and took steps back but still proceeded in torturing me barking and growling. I stupidity drunkenly started to power walk away. I then heard his feet running towards me as I had my back turned away from him. I turned back around only to see him lunging at me. I fell, when I turned and looked up the damn dog was completely out of sight as if I imagined the entire thing. To this day I don’t know if the dog was somebody’s pet or what. I didn’t hear him running away after I fell so I’ll never know I guess. Maybe he was a dark spirit.”

The thing

“When I was about 8 years old I was up in Maine at my uncle’s house with my cousin and little brother, all in the same age range. The part of Maine, Stratton, is pretty secluded about 30 minutes from Canada.

We were sleeping on sleeping bags in his living room, well all of the sudden through the window of my uncle’s door, probably about 9 feet tall, but had human like anatomy, this thing was standing hunched over looking into the house.

We all screamed and it did a non-human maneuver with it’s neck and ran behind the house. The footsteps of this thing practically shook the house. My mom and uncle come running into the living room. It’s been practically 20 years and we all still talk about it like it was yesterday.”


“My friends father was a missionary in Africa. He was 16 and learning how to shave his face. 3 weeks went by and he woke up one morning with his throat extremely swollen. Flew him to the nearest hospital where the trauma surgeon took a scalpel…nicked my friends throat… and out spewed 100’s of tiny spiders….”

This is why I don’t work the late shift

“Was working midnights at a gas station. A couple came in trying to get behind the register. They went outside and left. I went in the bathroom and called the police. Who came as they were coming back in. They had bags, knives, a gun, rope, and various other weapons in the trunk. I don’t think they planned on me living. I was hiding in the bathroom when they were trying to come back in.”

Killer doll

“My pappy(grandfather) found a life size doll hanging by a rope around its neck, in a tree/wooded area on the way home one day. He said it looked like somebody hung it up there and was using it for shooting practice or something.

My mom was still a child so the jokester he is, brought it home for her and my Aunt. Well they actually liked the thing and cleaned it up and played with it. My grandmother says till this day the scariest things started to happen around their house.

ONE example: It was nighttime and her and my pappy were in bed sleeping. Well she said she woke up to the blanket making her feel strangled. And it was almost like someone crawled into their bed and laid in between them. She sat up, startled and that’s when their bed started to shake and dressers shaking also. But nothing on the dressers moved or fell. It got to the point she was so freaked out and fed up with all the spooky things going on in their house, she made my pappy get rid of it.

So he was good friends with the owner of a bar who was more than happy to take it off his hands. As he thought it would be a good conversational piece. Exactly one week later the man who the doll was given to died. Mind you he had perfect health.”

Final wishes

“On and episode of Beyond Belief like 7 years ago, I saw a true story about a step daughter who died She hated her step mother. And in death, they were both put in the same mausoleum. Every morning, the stone carcophagus’ were cracked and there was writing on the walls in blood begging for her to be away from the step mother even though the mausoleum was sealed every night… Still gives me chills to think about it.”

Dream boy

“This happened to me… I saw the ghost of a little boy run in front of my car and I almost crashed. That’s not the scary part tho. When I told my mom about it and where it happened, she told me of a dream she had when she was pregnant with me where she hit a little boy with her car on the same road at the same spot and when she got out to check on the boy, she said it was me.”

No curtains

“My husband and I had just moved into a new house in a new state with our then 3 year old. Naturally I needed to go food shopping for pretty much everything. It was dark by the time I arrived home and I could see, upstairs, in what is now our bedroom, (no curtains/blinds yet), what I was sure was my husband standing in the window. The light was on so it was pretty easy to see that he was standing there. I clearly needed help unloading so I went straight inside and upstairs only to find no one was up there. Came back down to find him on the other side of the house completely immersed in a video game, clearly had been there the whole time but I asked anyways and yup, hasn’t been upstairs since I left. Gave me the chills at the time, but more so after meeting our new neighbor who informed us the previous owner committed suicide inside our house. It was her (our neighbor’s) own late husband that discovered the body. Lots more stories, creepy but harmless, we still live in the house and have learned to coexist.”

Facebooking from beyond

“My friend’s friend died and a few days later the deceased was commenting on people’s fb post. People were spooked, angry, and confused. What it came down to was that it might have been something with his phone. He might have commented, loss service, passed away, phone was moved to a location with service, and then it posted. Still shocking.”


“One night I hear my 6 yr old daughter talking to someone in her room. She was by herself. I asked her who she was talking to and she said “grandma ermmie”. Grandma Erma (only 2 people called her ermmie) died when she was 1. She never met her in person.”


“One Christmas, me and my son were at my parents house celebrating. It was getting late, i told my son, who was about five at the time, let’s get home and get you to bed before Santa goes to our house and has to leave because you’re not asleep. We get home, I’m getting our bags out of the car and my son says, mama!! Shhhh…Santa is in our house! My blood froze, our front curtains were open to show off our tree, so i asked what did you see? He said, Santa peeking at us in the window. I’m crapping my pants, i took him to my neighbors, and told them to call the cops if I’m not back in five minutes. The doors and windows were all locked and no sign of anybody in the house. I was scared all night.”

The dream

“One night I had a dream/nightmare? I was in a war. I went around the corner cause I was running from something. Came around the corner to see a gun pointed at my chest. It shot. With my left hand (this is important) I touched the wound and pulled my fingers away. There was blood on my 3 middle fingers to about the first knuckle line. I woke up in a dead sweat, calmed myself down it was only a dream, and went back to sleep. When I woke up however. I noticed there was something on my hand. My left hand. There was dried blood on my 3 middle fingers only down to the first knuckle. Of course I freaked out and immediately went to the full body mirror in the house. There wasn’t any other place that had dried blood.”


“When I stayed at my grandparents house I was laying in bed and something came running down the hall. Everyone was asleep and the dogs were in the garage but whatever it was jumped on my bed, and since I had my head covered I never saw it, but it trapped me under my covers and I screamed and cried until I fell asleep.

I still have nightmares about it and that was close to 10+years ago.”

👻 You can read 101 of the scariest (and shortest!) true stories in our new collection, , available here. 👻

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‘Lack of humanity’: Dana Loesch unloads on nursing home staff who laughed as WWII veteran died

Horrific footage from 2014 was released this week showing how staff at a nursing home in ignored the dying pleas of a decorated WWII veteran.

The undercover video and depositions, which the Northeast Atlanta Health and Rehabilitation attempted to keep sealed, show how staff at the facility lied about their treatment of 89-year-old James Dempsey in the last moments of his life:

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This Is How Youll Fall In Love In 2018, Based On Your Birth Month

Marcelo Matarazzo


Your ambition and your strong work ethic are two of your best characteristics, but the way you’ll fall in love in 2018 is by meeting someone who reminds you that there is so much life to be lived  of work. They’ll be 100% supportive of your career and your goals, and will only cheer you on rather than getting in your way – but they will also remind you that it’s important to look up from your screen, open your eyes, experience the world around you, and remember that work is important, but so are things like family, friendships, self-care, joy, and silliness.


You will fall in love unexpectedly – with a person you were never initially into but who, with a relaxed confidence, slowly garnered your interest. It will be someone who enjoyed your bright and sparkling disposition from the start, but who also challenged you to open up further for once, and encouraged you to not be afraid to let go and simply let yourself fall.


You’ll fall in love in 2018 when you meet someone who finally takes care of you for once. You’re always the one putting everybody first, taking care of everyone else, and never using a spare moment to think about yourself or to prioritize your own needs. So when you meet that person who sees you as someone they want to make happy and take care of and do things for – instead of looking at you as what you can do for them – you’re going to fall hard, and you’re going to fall fast.


As someone who is really in tune with your own emotions and of what you want, you’re going to find yourself in a relationship with someone who makes you feel like you no longer have to apologize for having strong feelings. In the past, you’ve always felt a little self-conscious of how open and certain you were about yourself and your wants, but in 2018, you’ll finally find yourself with someone who loves that about you, and who makes you feel more like yourself than you ever have with anyone else.


As someone who is highly motivated, focused, and constantly on the go, you always have a list a mile long of things you want to do, places you want to travel, goals you want to accomplish. But in 2018, you’re going to fall in love with someone who actually decreases your restlessness, instead of making it worse. In the past, you’ve always felt weighed down or held back by significant others – worrying that they’re going to keep you from moving forward or distract you from your goals. But this person is going to be the one who finally makes you feel like you have both – like you can be your own version of ‘settled down’ where you’re in love and have a partner and are incredibly happy, while still growing and challenging yourself and pursuing new things every day.


In 2018, you’ll finally find yourself in that relationship you’ve always wanted – with the person who is sensitive and loving and gentle, without ever making you feel bored or disinterested or antsy. They’re going to be someone who understands that despite your great sense of humor, you can also be really sensitive and feel hurt very easily; and they’re going to be someone who makes you feel like you could talk to them about absolutely anything without the conversation ever growing dull or colorless.


As friendly and magnetic as you are, and as effortlessly as you make friends, you actually have a very hard time opening up and making yourself available for romantic relationships. So in 2018, the way you’ll fall in love is by meeting someone you never expected to fall for – but who ends up totally fascinating you with their ability to make you feel instantly comfortable and to only ever feel energized and invigorated around them (rather than exhausted or socially tired).


You will end up with a person who actually stands up to you and doesn’t let you get away with everything. They will understand that you have a natural lean towards leadership and confidence, and they will both love this and respect it; but they will also call you out when you need to be called out, and they will stand up for themselves, and they will always make sure the relationship is 50-50 rather than allowing it to be something where you run the show.


In 2018, you will fall in love with someone who makes you more emotional than you’ve ever been with anyone else (but in a way). In the past, your sense of self-preservation has lead you to be detached from and/or critical of your significant others – always subconsciously looking for ways to chase them away before you have a chance to truly get attached. But in 2018, you’ll fall for someone who makes you willing to take risks and makes you to not be afraid of your own feelings – because being with them will wake you up and make you feel so alive.


As someone who is very self-possessed and has a health sense of self-esteem, you will find yourself with someone who only makes you feel more and more like yourself, instead of making you feel like you’re losing your sense of self by being with them. They will encourage you to do your own thing, to have your own life outside of them, and to figure out how the two of you can be a team together while also putting in time to figure out who you are as individuals.


In 2018, you will fall in love with a person who truly feels on your level. You’ve always had a fast mind with a lot of ideas, and have struggled in the past to learn how to let another person in because you’ve been protective of your sense of self. But this person will finally feel like someone who can keep up with you – somebody who can handle your energy, who gets you without you having to explain yourself, and who fully loves you without being dependent and totally reliant on you.


In the new year, you will fall in love with a person who bursts through your tendency to think and love in a very controlled and logical way – and someone who turns your world upside down in the best way. They will adore your sense of humor and will always give you the space you need, but they will also show you how to live in the moment, they will never be intimidated by your temper, and they will show you how to think with your gut and your heart instead of only relying on your brain.

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12 Wedding Vows That Are WAY Too Honest for the Altar

It’s been six years since Tiffani and I exchanged vows. Like most soon-to-be-married couples, we had an idea of what marriage would look like. After all, we watched “chick flicks,” read a few marriage books, and spent time with older married couples.

Looking back, however, I realize I didn’t know much at all about marriage. The words I promised Tiffani at our wedding were idealistic and romantic. This isn’t much different from the traditional vows you hear at almost any wedding. “To have and hold, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”

There’s nothing wrong with these vows. But, seriously. Who really understands what they mean?

I know what you’re thinking. Why do marriage vows matter?

Here’s why. Vows are promises. But not just any promises. Vows are markers that guide your marriage. So, while I’m not against writing vows Casanova would applaud, I am against vows that are more romantic and emotional than practical and honest.

Let’s be real. In a culture that idolizes romantic love, we don’t need any more Shakespearean vows. We need vows that will shape and impact marriages.

Here are 12 truthful marriage vows you won’t hear at a wedding.


When you get married, you vow faithfulness to your spouse. You vow exclusivity to them. You promise to never flirt, lust, or seek attention from the opposite sex. You promise to protect your mind from images that aren’t your spouse.

You don’t listen to music that degrades people. You don’t allow your eyes to view images or watch shows portraying people as objects and relationships as indispensable. These are obvious, right?

But when you vow exclusivity to your spouse, you vow more than physical purity. You vow emotional purity as well. You promise to never confide in a secretary at work or be flattered by someone of the opposite sex.

Emotional purity is much less obvious than physical purity, but it’s just as destructive. You must fight to give all of your emotions, your desire to impress, your attention, struggles, heartaches, and everything in between to your spouse. These don’t belong to other people. Fight for purity, both physically and emotionally.


There’s no such thing as a 50/50 marriage.

You can’t keep score in a marriage. There’s no such thing as a 50/50 relationship. That’s a contract.

Give 100% of yourself every day. Some days, 100% won’t be much. But on those days, trust your spouse will pick you up. Regardless, let go of this give-and-take idea.

Just give. Giving is the essence of love and the heart of the one who created marriage, God.


Most marriages struggle because the relationship is the end goal. The mission of most marriages is to provide stability to your life, to have a family, to have a companion. Get the idea?

But God created marriage, and because he created it, the goal is larger than selfish desires. The goal is to glorify him. Even in Christian circles, few couples make the gospel the mission of their marriage. And this explains why Paul said it was better NOT to marry (1 Cor. 7). Your interest would be divided between your spouse and God.

Your mission on earth is to serve God. Everyday. This mission doesn’t change when you get married. But if you’re not intentional, pleasing your spouse will take precedent over serving God.


For the sake of your sanity and your marriage, please listen. You can’t change your spouse. You don’t have that power.

If this is your goal, two varmets will infest your relationship: bitterness and resentment.

For years, Tiffani and I tried to change each other. It wasn’t until we stopped trying to change each other and started enjoying one another that we experienced intimacy.

One of the profound mysteries of marriage is two people with different values learning to love, flourish, and celebrate one another. It’s not easy, but that’s why you must rely on God and embrace the unique values He places in every person, including your spouse.

This sounds overly simplistic because it is…just love the person in front of you. Don’t long for a “fixed” version of your spouse. Don’t hope for a day when your spouse changes. Just love the current version of your partner. Doing this will transform your marriage.


Marriage isn’t a quest to find happiness or completion. God created you complete. You must learn to love yourself before trying to receive or extend love.

When another person is responsible for your happiness, you idolize that person. You obsess over everything. You check Facebook profiles, text messages, and missed calls. It’s a miserable way to live. It’s a terrible recipe for a quality relationship.

Be confident in the man or woman God created you to be. Then you will be free to love your spouse the way God intended.


This was probably the greatest barrier in my marriage the first few years. Tiffani and I had expectations that influenced our decisions and shaped our understanding of marriage.

Tiffani’s expectations for me were influenced by her dad. Tiffani has an amazing dad. I respect him. I’ve learned a lot from him. But I’m not Tiffani’s dad. Likewise, my expectations for Tiffani were shaped by my mom. I have an amazing mom. But it’s unfair to expect Tiffani to respond the way my mom responded. And these unrealistic expectations created a lot of disappointments.

Your spouse should never endure disappointments as a result of ignorance. State your expectations clearly. All of them. Be thorough. What do you expect from a wife? A husband? What does marriage look like to you? What does sex look like?

If you can’t state your expectations, either because you don’t know them or you’re too shy to say them, it’s a red flag that you aren’t ready for marriage.


Your spouse will hurt you and vice-versa. When this happens, search your heart, seek God, and forgive your spouse the same way God forgives you.

Don’t forgive with conditions. Don’t say, “I forgive you” when you’re really storing your spouse’s mistake to use as ammo in a future argument.

Unless you forgive the way God forgives you, completely and unconditionally, a wall will grow taller and taller in your relationship. Eventually, bitterness and resentment will make intimacy impossible, and your marriage will be nothing more than two roommates living under the same roof.


Many days you won’t feel like being for your spouse. But you must be for your partner if you want your marriage to grow. What does this look like? Here are a few examples.

  1. You pray for your spouse.
  2. You affirm your spouse’s strengths and gifts.
  3. You focus more on the positive aspects of your spouse’s personality and actions than the negative ones.
  4. You help your spouse pursue his or her dreams and talents.
  5. You make your relationship a safe place for hard questions and deep conversations.

When you are for your spouse they open up like a flower, stepping into their relationships, workplace, etc. with boldness and courage. Is your spouse living with boldness and courage?


God created marriage to be a private relationship between two people.

God created marriage to be a private relationship between two people. In the social media era, virtually everything is available to the public. Privacy is viewed as stinginess, almost as though six billion people are entitled to full access of your life.

Don’t buy the lie.

Your marriage is private. When you fight, your girlfriends don’t need to hear your husband is a jerk. Your homeboys don’t need to hear that your wife is irrational and ridiculous. No one, other than your spouse, should know intimate details about your sex life.

Don’t publicize a relationship God designed to be private.


Regardless of the circumstances in your marriage, never spend more time looking in the rear-view mirror than the windshield. You must always believe the best is yet to come.

Why? God is a futurist.

He always leads people towards the future, towards the unknown. This forward movement is rooted in hope. Hope that the unknown is better than the known because God forges the path.

But here’s the lie our world says: future circumstances are tied to current actions. So, if your marriage is miserable right now, it won’t get better in the future. But the future isn’t dependent on external actions. It’s dependent on internal perspective.

In other words, you must choose to believe tomorrow will be better than today. If you choose this, it will be true, regardless of the actions of your spouse.


Marriage is about intimacy, and intimacy requires time and exclusivity. Here’s what this means practically. You must learn to say no. Go ahead and practice now.

Dr. Henry Cloud, in his book Boundaries In Marriage, says, “A marriage is only as strong as what it costs to protect it.”

Saying yes to outside influences means saying no to your marriage. You will hurt people’s feelings. Your parents won’t understand. They might even call you selfish. Your golf game might take a hit. Your friends will send you passive-aggressive text messages because you aren’t spending time with them. Your co-workers might think you’re uncommitted because you choose to spend a night with your spouse instead of working late on a project. Unfortunately, even your church might make off-hand comments.

I’m giving you a heads up because these are the costs you must take to protect your marriage. If you don’t do this, your marriage will fail. And, trust me, it’s must easier to implement this vow on day 1 of your marriage than several years in.


I’m going to be real here. At some point, you will want to give up. I know what you’re thinking. “Not me. I would never leave my spouse.”

That’s real sweet and all, but you’re naive.

Marriage is crazy hard. Eventually, your spouse will wound you deeply, you will lose the will to invest in your relationship, or you will come to the realization that marriage is more work than you signed up for.

When this season comes, the line between giving up and pressing forward will be drawn by your community. If your community caters to your ego and feeds your “woe is me” attitude, the line will be easy to cross. If you aren’t plugged into a local church, doing life with a group of Christians, the line will be easier to cross. If, however, you surround your marriage with a community of Christians who are for you, the line will be much harder to cross.

The presence of Christian community is so important that I ask those attending weddings I perform to make vows to the couple being married. After the couple’s vows, the audience stands. Then I ask them two questions.

  1. ________ (couple being married) have asked for your prayers and support as they begin marriage together. Do you pledge to pray for them as they work on building a deep and abiding love? 
  2.  ________ (couple being married) will need determination and patience to cultivate their love for one another. Do you pledge to support them in every way as they build a Christ-centered marriage?

After each question, the audience responds with “We will.” It’s powerful to see the crowd looking at the couple, vowing to pray for and support them.

For too long, wedding vows have focused on emotional, romantic love and not practical, solid pillars. You probably won’t hear these vows at any wedding you attend. But they’re essential for building a marriage that lasts.

Six years of marriage taught me one thing. Marriage is the most difficult, rewarding, painful, joyous journey you will embark on. And when the storms of life come, a few well-structured, emotional sentences won’t do you any good. You need something more practical. More realistic. You need guardrails to keep you from running off the road.

To my wife: I love you so much. Thank you for challenging me to become a better man, husband, father, and follower of Jesus. I love every day with you. I love every moment with you.


I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!


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Sephora Hit With Lawsuit After Woman Claims She Got Herpes From One Of Their Testers!

Let this be a warning to shoppers!

A California woman is suing Sephora after she says she contracted herpes from using one of their lipstick tester samples in 2015, this according to

The unnamed woman is suing for emotional distress from her “incurable lifelong affliction.”

Sephora hasn’t commented on the lawsuit, although a spokesperson did share a statement with Fashionista:

“While it is our policy not to comment on litigation, the health and safety of our clients is our foremost priority. We take product hygiene very seriously and we are dedicated to following best practices in our stores.”


May this be a reminder to stay away from the communal testers…

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Supergirl Star Hospitalized, Says He ‘Almost Died’ After Eating Chipotle!

One thing Supergirl can’t save you from? Norovirus!

Jeremy Jordan, who plays Winn on the hit CW show, shared his first Instagram Story Thursday night to let fans know he was alive but very, very ill in the hospital.

And it was all because he ate at Chipotle.

Video: Rats Fall From Ceiling At Chipotle!

Jordan shared video of his pallid face, IV drip, and hospital room, saying about the infamously illness-spreading fast food chain:

“I know I’ve advocated for them in the past, but they’re terrible. I, as you can see, am in the hospital and I have fluids in my arm because the food did not agree with me and I almost died.”


Jordan is scheduled to perform a “salute to Broadway” concert at the Houston Symphony on Friday night; he goes on to tell fans he hopes he can still make it.

Get well soon, Jeremy!

Chipotle has released an official response to the story, telling People:

“We are sorry to hear that Jeremy is sick and have attempted to get in touch with him directly regarding where and when he ate so we can look into this. We take all claims seriously, but at this time we can’t confirm any link to Chipotle. We are always committed to making things right for our guests and will do the same for Jeremy when we are able to reach him.”

Do YOU still eat at Chipotle??

[Image via Instagram.]

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5 Ways The War On Drugs Has Always Been Racist As Hell

Sometimes drugs can ruin lives, and sometimes they’re simply a fun Friday night. It’s a complicated subject, and we’re not going to take a side. We will, however, point out that a lot of so-called anti-drug efforts which authorities have put together over the years have mostly been excuses to harass minorities. We’re talking about how …


White Employers Got Black Employees To Use Cocaine, Then Panicked About It

Cocaine used to be just another food additive which could be found in everything from children’s pain medication to pop. You’d think its 1914 ban would’ve come down to “Holy shit, we’re putting cocaine in everything, what the hell were we thinking? It must have been all the … oh.” But while people were aware of the dangers of cocaine abuse among middle- and upper-class white Americans, that’s not why it was banned. Instead, lawmakers were driven by the early 20th century equivalent of a racist chain email from your grandpa. There were stories of black Americans supposedly abusing cocaine, gaining superhuman strength, and using that strength to attack white men and sexually assault white women.

Wiki Commons
Using up precious cocaine earmarked for white children.

If you’re wondering what happened to the “black people gain drug-based superpowers and use them to commit crime” chapter of your history book, then obvious spoiler alert: It wasn’t really happening. What was happening was that cocaine use among black laborers was widespread. Its recreational use was tolerated, and sometimes white employers were explicitly giving it to their workers, in both cases because they believed it would make the employees work harder. We, uh … we used to be pretty dumb when it came to drugs.

Somehow, the “let’s give our workers coke” strategy backfired, as ridiculous stories began to spread. In 1914, The New York Times ran an article claiming that “most of the attacks upon white women of the South are the direct result of the ‘cocaine-crazed’ Negro brain” and “Negro cocaine fiends are now a known Southern menace.” While “Negro Cocaine Fiends” would be a great ironic album title, there was, shockingly, no evidence of crazed black people running wild.

While widespread use of cocaine probably wasn’t great for anyone’s disposition, “news” reports claimed that cocaine made black men hallucinate taunts and abuse, as well as gain incredible accuracy with guns and immunity to bullet wounds which would stop or kill a sober man. Holy shit! Why wasn’t cocaine being used in secret supersoldier projects? Oh, right, because it was all bullshit. But the 1914 ban was passed anyway thanks to those myths, and not out of fact-based concerns about the health risks of cocaine. (Because white people could handle their coke, goddammit!)

If you want a silver lining, the ban largely put a stop to lynchings of black men based on the “We think he’s high on coke, so he probably raped someone or whatever” clause. It also, uh, fueled nasty, often lethal stereotypes about impoverished minorities and drugs for decades to come, but that’s something, right?


Banning Alcohol From Native American Reservations Has Its Roots In A Myth That They’re Genetically Unable To Handle Booze

Yeah, there’s a running trend of white people thinking other people react differently to intoxicating substances. You may have heard the still-prevalent idea that the genes of Native Americans make them biologically prone to alcohol abuse. Supposedly, when Europeans introduced Natives to alcohol, their bodies didn’t know how to handle it and a tremendous cultural struggle with alcoholism ensued. No sir, it wasn’t the depression and trauma of watching their friends and family die while their culture and lifestyle were extinguished which contributed to alcohol abuse — it was biology! Not whitey’s fault, so deal with it.

William Faden
“After all, they did trade Manhattan for four six-packs.”

It is true that Native Americans experience problems with alcohol … at a rate equal to white people. But thanks to stereotypes, we tend to view alcoholism among Natives as a moral failing endemic to their culture, while an alcoholic white guy is some dude with a problem who doesn’t reflect on other white people. Natives do experience more alcohol-related health problems than whites, but that’s because as a group, they have inferior access to healthcare, healthy food, etc. — a problem which is a subject for a future wacky comedy article.

For governing whites, prohibition laws on Native reservations were seen as a quick and easy way to address alcoholism. Natives can’t handle their booze, so cut them off and punish those who try to keep drinking. But Natives tended to see prohibition as white people trying to force a solution on them … to address a problem which they also forced on them. It’s like if someone smashed your car window and then took away your driver’s license because they said you were a bad driver for letting your window get smashed.

But even if the root causes are horrible stereotypes, prohibition is still meant to help, right? It’s certainly an improvement from the days when laws against selling booze to Natives were lifted so settlers could turn a tidy profit from alcohol abuse. But “meant” is the keyword there. If you treat Native American alcohol abuse as a unique and more desperate problem than it is among other people, you create brand-new problems. Stereotypes about Natives and alcoholism can make them too embarrassed to seek medical treatment, and it can also lead to Natives who have never touched a drink in their lives getting rejected from jobs. Hey, do you think those kind of bullshit economic punishments might contribute to alcohol abuse?

Also, a total ban on alcohol leads to people getting arrested for possession of a single beer, even though the stigma of having a criminal record is going to do someone more harm than one can of Bud Light. In one especially depressing incident, one cousin stabbed another to death over a bottle of beer, which A) might not have happened if beer wasn’t illegal, and B) is a clear sign that prohibition isn’t working. Could the truly atrocious living conditions on many reservations be contributing to incidents like that? Nah, they probably just can’t handle their firewater, right?


America’s War Against Opium Was Fueled By The Fear Of Race-Mixing

Another trend in antique drug laws is a baseless belief that minorities were stealing away white women and enabling the heinous crime of race-mixing (and implicitly, the equally heinous crime of white women not having sex with racist white dudes, even though they were totally nice guys who had their best interests at heart). Exhibit #317-B is San Francisco circa 1875, when Chinese immigrants, mostly railroad and mine workers, liked to unwind after a long day on the job by smoking opium. Hey, we’ve all been there.

The Bancroft Library
“Mondays, right?”

White locals accused the Chinese of taking jobs from them during a rough economic downturn (technically true, but they were performing dangerous labor for shit pay, which is the kind of job that white locals tend to turn down or not even be offered). That complaint somehow morphed into accusations that opium dens were “girl traps.” The Chinese supposedly lured white women and teens into their dens with opium-laced candy and other treats until they were addicted and willing to have sex for more, which maybe says more about the people dreaming up such accusations than anything else.

So San Francisco outlawed opium smoking in 1875. But this was a nationwide belief. In New York City in 1883, a local worrywart set up surveillance teams to keep an eye on suspected opium dens which were supposedly corrupting white women. Tellingly, this surveillance was done by people from other neighborhoods, as most local whites didn’t have an issue with their Chinese neighbors. But they called the police whenever they suspected a stranger’s vagina was in peril, and a series of raids uncovered … a 19-year-old woman. Singular. Who didn’t appear to be an addicted sex slave. Claims that girls as young as ten were escaping before the police showed up were unproven, probably because they were super-duper made up.

But troublesome “facts” didn’t stop people from declaring that “hundreds of American girls” were becoming “associates and then slaves of the Mongolian” (old-timey racists weren’t big on demographic accuracy). So by 1909, Congress had made opium smoking, and only smoking, illegal nationwide. Drinking and injecting tinctures — how white Americans liked their medicinal and recreational opium — was still totally cool for a while, presumably as long as you pinky swore not to seduce dozens of sex slaves with the contents of your medicine cabinet.


Alcohol Prohibition Was An Anti-Immigrant And Anti-Black Panic

Prohibition and the events leading up to it had all sorts of complex causes. But one of those causes was a bunch of tedious people getting together to complain about immigrants — specifically the still-viewed-as-extremely-anti-American Germans and Irish and their love of beer. Because when history is at its worst, the masses are swayed to the side of the people complaining about beer instead of enjoying it.

In 1855 Chicago, the mayor and his followers were concerned about the influence of foreigners who took jobs and pledged spiritual allegiance to one of the most dastardly villains in history: the Pope. Gasp! They were especially distrusting of Irish and German immigrants, who liked to hit the pub on Sunday, their one day off. The Chicago Tribune called Irish Catholics “depraved, worthless and irredeemable drunkards and sots which curse the community.” We’re assuming that “sot” was a harsh burn back then.

So Chicago dusted off an old law which required taverns to be closed on Sunday … but only enforced it in immigrant communities. Chicago also sextupled the price of an annual liquor license to $300 (about 7,800 modern dollars) to try to drive immigrant bars out of business. 200 tavern owners were brought up on charges, and when the first one went to trial, there were massive protests, because you don’t fuck with a 19th century working man’s booze. One protester was killed, the mayor’s political career tanked, and the laws were eventually repealed, but it wasn’t the end of anti-letting-immigrants-drink sentiment.

The Prohibition movement was in full swing during World War I, and as you hopefully remember from history class, Germany was on team Not America. So Prohibitionist propaganda linked beer and brewing with Germany, and therefore treason. Prohibitionists also connected drinking with the Irish and other immigrants, with one congressman calling foreign drinkers the “degenerate vote” which “overwhelmed the liberties of free people” and were a “menace to our institutions.” Irish Americans were accused of being unpatriotic if they opposed Prohibition or the war, which silenced dissent.

Meanwhile, in the South, “colored only” saloons were declared “centers of vice, schools of iniquity, and hot-beds of crime.” Prohibitionists dressed the movement up as concern for those poor black people who were spending all their money and “[feeding] their animalism,” but they also accused black saloons of threatening the safety of white women and children. Because who knew what those dastardly blacks were planning when whites couldn’t keep an eye on them?

Again, Prohibition was complicated, but to some proponents, taking away one of the joys of minorities while making them less scary to the sort of people who wring their hands a lot was a big plus. One Southern Prohibitionist even argued that getting rid of saloons could prevent a race war and keep black Americans from rampaging through the streets, because ready access to alcohol was obviously the only reason black Southerners might get mad at white Southerners.


Numerous Government Officials Have Confirmed That Laws Against Drugs Are Based On Race

So far we’ve only given you historical examples, but you know what they say about history repeating itself to screw over minorities. Here, for example, is a 2015 interview with a former DEA agent who says they were told not to target drug sellers and users in rich areas, even though drugs are as prevalent there as anywhere else. The reasoning was that rich (read: mostly white) people have connections to lawyers, politicians, and judges who could make life a living hell for the DEA, while people in poorer areas (read: generally nonwhite people) wouldn’t be able to fight back.

You can find comments like that throughout American history. In the ’30s, Harry Anslinger, one of the big shots behind cannabis laws, said, “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men,” and, “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.” It’s admittedly kind of refreshing to hear someone be openly racist instead of trying to dress it up as being “for their own good,” although it sounds like Mrs. Anslinger probably had an unsatisfying marriage.

Ironic, considering her husband was named “Anslinger.”

Now let’s skip through time to a 2016 article on a 1994 talk with John Ehrlichman, one of Nixon’s top advisors and a Watergate jailbird. He told Harper’s, “The Nixon White House had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people … We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” He then presumably twirled his mustache and demanded one billion dollars, or else he would melt the ice caps.

The Nixon administration’s official line was that they were responding to a heroin epidemic and an uptick in the smoking of jazz cigarettes, as we believe the cool kids still call weed. And to be fair, several of Ehrlichman’s children and colleagues called bullshit on his statements, suggesting he either never said them or was being sarcastic (the writer who talked to Ehrilchman thinks he was serious and trying to atone). Nixon did establish drug education and addiction treatment programs, but also signed off on no-knock searches and is on record as referring to black Americans as “little Negro bastards” who “live like a bunch of dogs.” Again, drugs are complicated. You’re welcome to draw your own conclusions.

But while you’re reaching those conclusions, keep in mind that the drug war is incarcerating African American men at a rate about four times worse than black South Africans were during apartheid. Oh, and thanks to drug laws, there are more black men in the prison system than there were black men enslaved in 1850. So … maybe a change in strategy is in order here.

Mark is on Twitter and has a book.

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Catch a faceful of funny on Thursday, October 19 at The Cracked Stand Up Show, hosted by Alex Schmidt and featuring Soren Bowie, Eddie Della Siepe, Joel Samataro, Riley Silverman, and Barbara Gray. Get your tickets here.

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