November 14, 2016

Miscellany #49

The New York Times, the so-called paper of record, reports on the U.S. Presidential election.  The first is satire; the second is not.

Trump Forces Black Family From Home

'Democrats, Students And Foreign Allies Face The Reality Of A Trump Presidency."  Howard Kurtz said,"This is the most incredible headline I have ever seen in The New York Times , big screaming banner: 'Democrats, Students And Foreign Allies Face The Reality Of A Trump Presidency.'Just think about this for a second. The man has just won perhaps the greatest political upset victory in the history of American politics. He proved all the pundits and prognosticators wrong. He is the next president of the United States...

Daylight Savings Made Each of These Twins the Older One

Daylight Savings Time makes for some weird situations -one particularly strange example took place this year, when Emily and Seth Peterson gave birth to twins on November 6. One twin, Samuel, was born at 1:39 AM, but the later born twin Ronan arrived after the time change -at 1:10 AM. So which one is older -the one born first or the one born at an earlier time?


More Accurate World Map Wins Prestigious Design Award You probably won't like it, but what went into its creation is fascinating.


Do The Dutch Reach — A Bicyclist You Didn't Door Will Thank You.  And you may save a life

Michael Charney, a 70-year-old retired doctor from Cambridge, Massachusetts, is spearheading a grassroots campaign to end dooring forever. The campaign promotes the Dutch Reach — a technique where a driver reaches over with his right hand to open the car door, forcing him to turn his body, look over his shoulder — and hopefully see any oncoming cyclists.

"It's simple, it's obvious, and it costs nothing" Charney told The Boston Globe. "People just have to switch from one thoughtless habit to another thoughtless habit — but the second one is safer."

Armenian Fashion illustrator Edgar Artis Creates Amazing Dress Designs Using Everyday Objects   

 Pasta Dress Edgar-Artis

Famous Paintings Made Real With 3D Technology
A neat little video of 13 different Van Gogh's paintings turned into 3D scenes by Luca Agnani studios at the Van Gogh Museum in the Netherlands.

Funny, Creative Real-Life Trolls from De Milked

 Mystery In Bookstore

A giant, mysterious Celtic cross made of trees was recently discovered in a forest in Donegal county in Ireland.

 Celticcross Forest

An investigation by UTV found the answer: local forester Liam Emmery secretly created the image years ago by planting two different kinds of trees, telling few people about it outside his family. His wife Norma said she had forgotten about the image since Liam died 6 years ago.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:15 PM | Permalink

November 8, 2016

Feel Good Miscellany

51 Years, 17 Girls, and One Plaid Dress

 17 Girls One Plaid Dress

It all started in 1965, when Janice Parker bought a dress for her daughter Diana. She loved the dress and insisted on wearing it for her picture day in kindergarten. Her five younger sisters liked the dress, too, and they each wore it for picture day when they went through kindergarten. And so did their daughters. And then their granddaughters.

The latest girl in the family didn’t want to wear the dress, or any dress. But she did, along with pants and a baseball cap, so the tradition can continue.  Watch CNN video

Husband Makes Wife Harry Potter Inspired Pensieve Full Of Happy Memories


Matt Bracone made a Harry Potter inspired Pensieve so that his wife could open up lovely memories whenever she wanted.

Here’s Matt’s description:
When our wedding was getting closer, I was wracking my brain to find the perfect gift for my soon-to-be wife. As we are both Harry Potter fans, I turned to the Wizarding World for inspiration. After she smiled at me and hit me with a stunning spell, I awoke to know exactly what to get her: her very own Pensieve.

For those who aren’t Harry Potter fans, a Pensieve is a bowl used to view memories. Dumbledore would use his wand to pull memories from his head and store those memories in bottles. When he’d want to see a particular memory, he’d pour the bottle into the bowl to view it.

A Boy With Diabetes Saves Pennies For 4 Years To Buy His Own Service Dog

An eight-year-old from Waitsfield, Vermont, has spent the last four years collecting loose change with a goal in mind: to buy his very own service dog. That dedication paid off this week when Aiden came face to face with his new best friend, Angel.

Aiden was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes four years ago. Soon after he learned about canines trained to help monitor glucose levels in people.  "They can sense it 20 minutes to 30 minutes before the blood meter actually tells you that you're low," Jenni explained.  Service dogs are expensive - each costing $15,000. But not to be discouraged, Aiden's mom told her son to save, one penny at a time.  When Aiden was about $9,000 from his goal, news coverage of his story helped bring in donations from across the U.S., raising more than $20,000 almost overnight.

"We have been so amazed by the outpouring of support," Jenni said. "He is feeling the love. There are no words."

 Adam+Health Service Dog

12-Year-Old Turns Sadness Upside Down By Sewing Teddy Bears For Sick Children

Campbell Remess from Tasmania, Australia has made about 800 teddy bears since he took up sewing three years ago. The 12-year-old takes his finished works to sick children at Royal Hobart Hospital to bring some much needed joy....Campbell had wanted to buy presents for sick children but when his mom Sonia reminded him how he had eight siblings, he decided to make the teddy bears himself.

"Lots of people like skateboarding and socialising with their friends, I just like coming home and sewing," Campbell said.

 Campbell Teddybear

The self-taught sewer took five hours to make his first bear, but he now assembles a teddy in an hour.  Campbell visits sick kids in hospital every Thursday.  "He looks at sadness and tries to turn it upside down," Sonia said.

Five years ago, his father Nathan was diagnosed with cancer. A tumor the size of a tennis ball was removed, but there is an 80 per cent recurrence rate. "When we discovered dad had cancer it was really upsetting," Campbell said. "Cancer gets worse with stress, so I made him the bear, so he could get rid of the cancer." 

Nathan said the bear had helped him ward off the cancer.  "There's a little big of magic in them," he said.  "A lot of magic in Campbell though."

At The Boston Home, an unlikely classroom develops

Sometimes, when the paths of two lives unexpectedly intersect, magic happens. This is one of those times.

Beth Crowley grew up in Jamaica Plain, the oldest of six kids, and was educated in Catholic schools right up until she collected her history degree from Merrimack College in 1969.
Before a follow-up appointment, the doctor called with this message: Bring your husband. I have bad news. “Not something I expected,’’ she said.

The bad news was this: Beth Crowley had multiple sclerosis, a diagnosis that would eventually lead her to The Boston Home, a grand and extraordinary place on Dorchester Avenue for people with neurological diseases.
And that’s where Beth Crowley met Elisabeth Bellabe.

 Bostonhome Farragher Bellabe Met

Bellabe grew up in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, the youngest of four children in a home where her dad worked as a mechanic, her mother as a cook. When she came to the United States 11 years ago, she arrived without a high school diploma, bouncing around at odd jobs from Manhattan to Miami.

About a year ago, she took a job as a nursing assistant. She would help people like Crowley with their meals, medication, grooming — guiding them from bed to wheelchair. The women would exchange pleasantries, but their relationship was chiefly caregiver-patient.

Then, last year, that changed. Through a partnership with Jewish Vocational Services, The Boston Home tried something different. It embraced a new idea that turned Elisabeth Bellabe into a student and restored Beth Crowley’s treasured status as a sterling teacher.
Bellabe provides care. Crowley, twice a week for two hours, provides knowledge. She has worked with Bellabe, polishing her writing skills, imparting the power of literature, guiding her and a handful of other Boston Home caregivers through the labyrinth we call English grammar.

The objective? A high school equivalency diploma. Perhaps a degree in nursing.

“She was a great help to us,’’ Bellabe told me this week, sitting in a bright common room at The Boston Home alongside Crowley. “This is something we have now that is more than, ‘Good morning. Do you need anything?’ This is a real relationship.’’

Yes. It is. And as the two women talked — women who have leaned on and learned from each other — the power of their relationship, and the genuineness of it, were unmistakable.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:35 PM | Permalink

“I was my husband’s caregiver as he was dying of cancer. It was the best seven months of my life.”

May God Grant Us Grace to See the Beauty in Our Suffering

“I was my husband’s caregiver as he was dying of cancer. It was the best seven months of my life.” Grant is a deputy managing editor for the newspaper.

The people at PBS News Hour were so moved by her piece that they asked to tell her story in a video essay. (You can watch it below.)

I was my husband’s caregiver as he was dying of cancer. It was the best seven months of my life.  Tracy Grant

Ten years later, I haven’t started a foundation to cure cancer. I haven’t left the news business to get a medical degree. I work. I pay the bills. I try to be there for my sons. I will never again be as good a person as I was when I cared for Bill. I will never again have that high a purpose.  But every day I also try to find and put into practice the person I became during those seven months. I try to be a little less judgmental, a little more forgiving, a little more generous, a little more grateful for the small moments in life. I am a better person for having been Bill’s caregiver. It was his last, best gift to me.

Tracy Grant is a deputy managing editor at The Washington Post.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:20 AM | Permalink