I'm mentally worn ragged from all the cataclysmic shit that's spelling humanity's doom, so for once I thought it'd be quite nice to hear some GOOD NEWS for a change. Actual good news, not the so-called "good news" of the Gospel and its evangelists. Today, this Christmas, we'll be treating each other to stories of the various uplifting trends and heartwarming feats of courage and compassion that have been buried by state brinksmanship and breaches of human rights.
Good News #1Edit
Leading with the greatest news of all, Sylvia Browne is finally a corpse. If there were ever a person whose death ought to be celebrated, it’s Sylvia Browne, the infamously exploitative “psychic” fraud who made a routine of telling parents of missing children they were dead for shock value on a talk show… and only waded in deeper from there. With a prediction success rate hitting the impressive percentage of 0—including a faulty forecast of her own demise!!—one wonders if she only became successful due to some Faustian pact whereby the devil was allowed to stuff her horrid scratchy ashtray throat with unmentionables. Recently she’d taken to responding with a flippant “Only God is right all the time” when confronted with her many, many countless failures as a psychic. Actually, I think we would have thanked God to have curb stomped her in the womb, so we can count at least one error of his own. We can only hope the vultures that swoop in from afar for her will be half as vicious as she was while they commence bringing her to the next world, the pit of droppings. In any case, as this is a festive and merry occasion, I have devised a ditty you’ll all find exceedingly precious and uplifting.
Ohhhhh… Sylvia Browne is fucking DEAD
It’s awesome she’s deceased
But I bet she’ll stir from her new dirt bed
While there be cash on which to feast
She’ll breach from the tomb like a porpoise
And bellow her return with a rasp
But someone will point out from her corpus
Her leeching of hearts has passed her grasp
With a subtle little swipe of the hammer
Her clam will eat ore till it reaches the core
Real souls mocking her as she stammers
And who could ask for mooooooooooore
Ems' Good News #1Edit
The History of Purrfect Pals (from their website)
In 1988, a cat lover named Kathy Centala started accepting stray cats at her home in Brier. Her name spread even further after cat lovers heard about her “no-kill policy.” By 1992, Kathy was taking in up to 500 stray and unwanted cats annually and placing them up for adoption.
Determined to open the northwest’s first no-kill shelter and sanctuary, she somehow managed to scrape together the down payment for a modest house on five acres in rural Snohomish County.
For over twenty years, Kathy worked the overnight shift in a Seattle call center so she would be available during the day to scoop litter, drive cats to veterinary appointments and meet with potential adopters.
Over twenty-five years later, Purrfect Pals has grown into an organization that adopts out 2000 cats and kittens each year and provides free spay and neuter surgeries for 1000 more.
We currently have 15+ offsite adoption centers.
The Purrfect Pals sanctuaries have become one of the most important cat resources in all of North America. Our comfortable sanctuary spaces for cats with special medical needs, and cats with behavioral issues set a standard for cat comfort and care.
Today, the Puget Sound region is home to several no-kill shelters, TNR programs and low-cost spay and neuter clinics. Cats and kittens are being spayed and neutered before being adopted, something that was rare in shelters in 1988. Municipal and public open-admission shelters are partnering with non-profit rescue groups and that collaboration is helping lower euthanasia rates in Western Washington.
Once a week, we now provide a free spay and neuter clinic for cats (and kittens) whose owners are unable to afford even the low-cost clinics available in our community. We also provide a cat food bank for low-income cat owners and the caretakers of free-roaming and feral cats.
Our “Angel Fund”, created in 2013, is used to pay for medical care for cats whose owners are facing financial hardship. We are also developing a program which will assist the owners of cats who are at risk for being rehomed because of behavioral challenges. Our hope is that Purrfect Pals will be able to reduce the number of cats being surrendered unnecessarily.
Now, not all kittens can be put up for adoption ASAP - they need to be old enough, well enough and socialised. Their mammas also need to be cared for and well and fed so they can care for their kittens and trust hoomans.
This is where Foster Dad John comes in.
FDJ first came to my attention a couple of years ago. He is an amazing person. He takes in tiny kittens and their mammas who have been abandoned, and raises them until they are ready to be adopted. He also works, has a son, has his own cats and is allergic to cats.
Sometimes he needs to hand feed the kittens because they are not growing as expected. He goes into his "critter room" every day and pats them, talks to them, plays with them, weighs them, updates their room and toys as they develop better playing skills, balance and strength. He introduces them too food and pooping, changes their litter, gets them used to wearing collars, gets them vaccinated and de-sexed. Then, he hands them over to the people who are adopting them. He does all this on a volunteer basis and has raised over 38 litters.
One of the best things that FDJ does is have the kittens and their mammas on 24 hour video feed on Livestream, called "The Critter Room." So, you can watch the kittens grow and develop and play right up until adoption day. Most of the recently adopted kittens and cats now have their own FB pages so you can keep following them in their "Furrever" homes. Each litter is named after a theme (e.g. The Spice Kittens, The Cosmo Fosters, Ripley's Kittens, The Looney Tunes Fosters, the Mythbuster Kittens and The A.I. Fosters are some of the more recent litters).
Over the last few months, many of the Critter Room "alumni" have posted messages from their adopted cats on FB upon request from fans, and in response to those fans making a donation to Purrfect Pals.
So to Purrfect Pals (and all other no-kill animal shelters), FDJ and all the hoomins who give the kittehs their forever homes - thank you for saving animals from cruelty and death, and for bringing happiness into many people's lives.
Joe's Better Good News
Daryl Davis, a member of The Legendary Blues Band, is a badass, and so insanely cool that not even a Klansman can hate him for very long. For one thing, he's an accomplished musician whose style is named:
Burnin’ boogie woogie piano. This is a man who plays burnin’ boogie woogie piano. Like, how do you even win an argument against a master of boogie woogie piano? Every point can just be easily countered by boogie woogie piano. Let's play a clip
That was actually me playing that on my ukelele. Forgot who gave me this thing but it's BURNIN' THE SCENE. Anyway, doesn't Boogie Woogie Piano just fill you with the will to live? It's almost like I don't want to disappoint boogie woogie piano. I have to live up to its existing.
But the real story is even better, because Daryl has made it a habit to pull the stupid pointy hats off the KKK members he's come across through friendly acts of logic. It all started when he was told after a gig at a venue full of whitey that it was the first time he'd heard a black guy play as well as Jerry Lee Lewis—only for Daryl to tell him he was a friend of Jerry Lee Lewis, and that the man had learned everything from black musicians. Emma, you play the career racist!
KKK member that sounds suspiciously like Emma: “That can't be! A black guy be influential in musical history!? By the way I'm a Klansman, do you happen to have a lighter and a fresh lawn for this cross?”
Did Daryl turn tail and head for the hills? No, he just sat down for a long conversation. Sure enough, they formed a genuine bond through music. And, years later, when Daryl decided to research the Klan for a book, he hit that guy once more so he could grab the contact info of the leader of the Klan in Maryland, his balls having compressed into a singularity of superlative density. Emma, you are now the voice of a black ninja.
Black ninja aka Daryl Davis: Every time my cassette would run out of tape, I would reach down into my bag and pull out another. Every time I reached down, the bodyguard would reach for his gun. He didn’t know what was in the bag. After a while he relaxed and realized nothing was in the bag but cassettes and the bible. After about an hour, there was a very loud, strange noise which was ominous, and I was apprehensive. In the back of my mind, I heard my friend in my head saying ‘Mr. Kelly will kill you.’ I stood up and slammed my hands on the table, and I felt my life was in danger. When my hands hit the table, my eyes locked with his, and he could read them. We stared into each other’s eyes. The bodyguard was looking back and forth at us, but then my secretary Mary realized what had happened.
The ice bucket had melted and the cans of soda shifted, and that’s what made the noise! We all began laughing at how stupid we all had been. In retrospect, it was a very important lesson that was taught. All because a foreign entity of which we were ignorant, entered into our comfort zone, we became fearful of each other. The lesson learned is: ignorance breeds fear. If you don’t keep that fear in check, that fear will breed hatred. If you don’t keep hatred in check it will breed destruction.
And then he became friends with him. Just like that. Dozens of other members soon succumbed to his super hardcore friendship aura, and he single-handedly dismantled the Maryland KKK. The guy's even gotten a Grand Dragon who was initially highly hostile to open up and eventually hand in his hood to his new soul brother along with the rest of them. The book is named Klan-Destined Relationships.
Em's pressie #2
I don't want to spend too much time on this, because apparently Brittany has several commercial interests. However, the TED talk she did was fucking awesome. Even if it was self promotion, it still made a big impact on me, so I thought I would share it.
Brittany Gibbons is a woman who has three kids and a husband. She is not a magazine cover, airbrushed very thin and toned Barbie doll. She is curvy, real, and personally I think gorgeous (London Andrews style) and probably representative of the majority of women who are listening to this (in terms of body shape, anyway).
She did something that stirred a lot of emotions within me. She did a TED talk, during which she stripped down to her bathers/bathing suit/swim suit - whatever you call it.
This made me think a lot.
There were some opinions that what she did was "courageous". Um, I wasn't sure why that should be the case, but I knew (from personal experience), that it was the case. And, that really shat me.
As Brittany said, I think a lot of women out there DREAD being seen in their bathers (that's the term I'm gonna use from now on, because that is what they are called in Melbourne, Australia). I know I do. I have actually discussed this with Joe: how I feel I have to suck my gut or wear a sarong until I get into the at least waist deep water until I can, well, be who I am so no one will see the real me. As soon as I get out of the water, I walk very quickly to my towel so I can lie down on my back and look kinda thin (with the help of gravity)- right? Maybe some of you can relate to that.
Brittany, I thank you for showing what "real", sexy women look like, and challenging the media's absurd definition of "beauty" which is an insult to both women and men. Really, who thinks they can tell us who should arouse us? Really? Are you shitting me? Yes, we can describe photos of people as "beautiful" (as you can a painting by Picasso or Jackson Pollock). However, I think beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. To me, what Brittany did was sexy as hell. And not because it was "challenging" or "confrontational" or "risky" - because she is who she is. Thanks Brittany for shaking me - and hopefully others up regarding how people should evaluate themselves. It should NOT be on how they look.
And yesterday, I read her post about how she is trying to teach her daughter to love her body. It's great. http://brittanyherself.com/2013/12/16/house-rule-in-these-bodies-we-dance/
Joe's ONLY THE BEST Good News
So you've paid through the teeth to ensure that your daughter's big day is the best it can possibly be, with a doting four course reception—only for her to call off the wedding after anything could be done to refund or change the reservation. What would you do? That's a lot of food to pack in during a funeral for an aborted wedding, everyone shooting each other awkward glowers. So this Atlanta couple were like, fuck it, let's just treat 200 homeless people to the dinner of their lives!
When they called in to a charity with the idea, they literally thought they were being pranked.
“The passed hors d’oeuvre were very interesting because the children were wondering, ‘could we take the whole tray, or do we just take one off of the tray?’” said Elisabeth Omilami, CEO of Hosea Feed the Hungry. “So this was an educational opportunity as well, because now they all know how to eat at a four-course meal and the etiquette involved in that.”
Isn't the etiquette of a four course meal that you stick your fingers into the soup, stick those fingers in your throat for ample lubrication, and then shovel everything into your mouth with our pinkies outstretched? (The more vomit on the table, the more appreciation you show your hosts)
The event was such a success that it's going to become a yearly bash... with the proper etiquette, of course. I just want the homeless people to come every year with increasingly creative approximations of formal wear with coattails and handkerchiefs and those white Mickey Mouse gloves. Maybe whichever hobo eats with the most etiquette gets a top hat for their begging. Think how Instagrammable that'd be
Ems' Pressie # 3Edit
1. http://abcnews.go.com/US/georgia-family-donates-cancelled-weddings-reception- homeless/story?id=20344600
Georgia Family Donates Cancelled Wedding's Reception to Homeless
The Family Hosted 200 Homeless People After Their Daughter Cancelled Her Wedding
By CHRISTINA NG
Sept. 23, 2013 —
When Willie and Carol Fowler's only daughter cancelled her wedding 40 days before she was set to walk down the aisle, the parents were faced with a venue, food and entertainment that had all been paid for.
But instead of cancelling everything and losing their deposits, they decided to change the guest list -- to 200 homeless people.
"We went home that evening and my husband woke up the next morning and I was in the process of cancelling out the venue and he said, 'No, what we'll do is donate it to Hosea Feed the Hungry,'" Carol Fowler told ABCNews.com today.
"It was a vision," Fowler said of her husband's idea. "He said he had prayed on it during the night and God had directed him and that's what we were going to do."
The Fowlers called Hosea Feed the Hungry, an organization that their daughter had volunteered for when she was younger. It is a nonprofit organization in Atlanta, Ga., that provides homeless individuals with services and resources.
"When they first called, the administration thought it was a prank call because it was too good to be true," Quisa Foster of Hosea Feed the Hungry said. "It's a very creme de la creme wedding venue, so to say that you're going to host 200 homeless individuals at Villa Christina -- it sounds like a prank call."
The Fowlers persisted and eventually had a meeting with the organization to prove their good intentions and plan the event.
On Sept. 15, buses transported 200 homeless women, children and families to Villa Christina for the event. It began at 2 p.m. with outdoor appetizers and space for the children to run and play.
The event then moved inside, where the approximately 50 children had a room to themselves with face-painting, juggling and crowns.
"The children had chicken fingers, French fries, fresh fruit and chocolate chip cookies," Carol Fowler said. "The adults had salmon and chicken."
"All the plates were empty and there wasn't any leftover food at all. It was an eye-opening experience," Foster said. "You go to weddings sometimes and you see a lot of people really waste food. We take so many things for granted. These clients or guests, as we call them, they don't."
The day's "inspiration program" included a motivational speaker for the adults.
"When you look at the faces of the women and children and actually participated in the event, they look like you and me," Foster said. "These are working families that for whatever reason -- the recession, economic turn -- have found themselves in a place where they're without a place to live and starting over."
"It was a wonderful event. It brought tears to my eyes," she said.
The Fowlers were very involved in the whole event and enjoyed greeting all of their guests. Their daughter was also on hand for a day that was "bittersweet but rewarding" for her, Willie Fowler said. The family declined to comment on why the wedding had been cancelled.
"There is no way to explain how it makes you feel, but it's wonderful," Willie Fowler said of seeing the joy at the event.
"It's just that wonderful, rewarding feeling," Carol Fowler said. "If we could just inspire one youth in that crowd to rise above the situation today and be a very responsible member of society tomorrow, that would be extremely rewarding."
The Fowlers are hoping to make the affair a yearly event that will be two days and incorporate educational elements for the participants.
They pointed out that events are cancelled all the time and encouraged others to think about donating
"If you have cancelled an event, do not walk away. Pick up the phone and call your favorite charity and offer it to them," Carol Fowler said. "We're regular, working people and anybody can do this. This is not star stuff."
Copyright © 2013 ABC News Internet Ventures
3. The Science of Happiness
Let me start by saying that I am always uber cynical re "this will change your life" videos that I get linked to on FB. My first reaction is "pfft", my second is "snopes.com".
But, this one struck a chord with me because I think it is worth considering.
This video suggests that we can feel happier if we express gratitude. From the VERY VERY small sample they questioned, it seems there may be a relationship between expressing gratitude and positive feelings. That seems logical.
These guys (whose channel is "Soulpancake"), asked people to write a letter of gratitude to someone who had been influential in their lives. Then, they (apparently unbeknownst to the participants), called the person to whom the letter was addressed. They video recorded the phone calls and audio recorded the responses of the recipients. People were crying all over the shop. Using a scale, they asked people how happy they were before and after doing this. The people who GAVE gratitude ended up having the highest ratings of happiness, and the less happy you were to start with, the higher your change in score at the end.
So, I guess the moral of the story may be that if you feel down, expressing gratitude may help you (and someone else) feel better. If that is the case, that's kinda nice.
Joe Good News
Imagine you're a first aid surgeon on the battlefield in a war without an exit, Iraq 2004. A young woman crash landed a helicopter as best she could even after the RPG took her limbs. You can only take your mind off her fate as she's airlifted to Germany for additional treatment, probably never to be seen or heard from again. Just another casual statistic bleeding out her.
That is, until you see her on TV with prosthetics. As a United States Congresswoman.
When they met again, they started shooting the shit and cracking jokes like bosom buddies:
"I might have an old complaint card if you want to fill that out," Gillis said.
"Oh yeah, would you? That'd be great," she replied.
"He said I was unconscious, but later on ..." Duckworth said, before Gillis jumped in: "She was ignoring me." Duckworth replied, "I was pretending to be dead, hoping he would go away."
We need another MASH with these two as the mains. We can replace her prosthetics with bionic leg cannons, whatever it takes to get this on the air PRONTO. Opening scene: Somebody is shot in the face by Dick Cheney while Congress is in session, but he has money and is therefore immune to the justice system! Enter Duckworth to save the day, stabilizing his vitals with cybernetic precision and stalling for time with an expertly delivered and emotional filibuster re agricultural subsidies when BOOM! In comes Gillis with the saving surgical skills! The man Dick Cheney shot? None other than JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF. Primtime.
Ems' pressie #4
Most of you probably know about "Movember". This is a campaign that encourages men to grow a moustache during November, and recruit sponsors to donate money to support men's health.
In 2013, this had a special meaning for me. My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer in April and had to have surgery. I am very pleased to say that all his blood tests since then suggest that the cancer has been successfully removed.
But, I just wanted to share the results of Movember with you. Not just because of my personal association with it, but because I believe men's health needs to be promoted more.
From The Movember Website: Since its humble beginnings in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia, when 30 Mo Bros first grew moustaches, Movember has grown to become a truly global movement inspiring more than 4 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to participate across 21 countries worldwide. Movember is also aware of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas supporting the campaign and men’s health causes from across the globe, from Moscow to Rio de Janeiro, and everywhere in between. Together these selfless Mo Bros and Mo Sistas have raised $443 million which are funding 577 projects aimed at achieving our vision of having an everlasting impact on the face men's health.
The goals of Movember are:
Campaign Strategy & Goals:
We will get men to grow moustaches and the community to support them by creating an innovative, fun and engaging annual Movember campaign that results in:
• Funds for men's health program investment
• Conversations about men's health that lead to:
- Greater awareness and understanding of the health risks men face
- Men taking action to remain well
- When men are sick they know what to do and take action
Living with and Beyond Cancer Men living with prostate or testicular cancer have the care needed to be physically and mentally well.
Staying Mentally Healthy, Living with and Beyond Mental Illness • Men are mentally healthy and take action to remain well
• When men experience mental illness they take action early
• Men are not treated differently when they experience a mental illness
Men's Health Research We will fund innovative research that builds powerful, collaborative teams that accelerate:
• Improved clinical tests and treatments for prostate and testicular cancer
• Improved physical and mental health outcomes for men
As an aside, I thought about getting Joe to do Movember, but I thought after a couple of days, he'd look like a 'squatch.
The Australian Movember campaign raised $29.1 million in 2012. 93.5% of this went towards men's health programmes, including programmes targetting men's mental health and cancer - both research and practical support. The 2013 campaign amounts are yet to be finalised, but hopefully will be even more.
In summary, this is now a global, mulit-million campaign that was started by a few friends that had a cooky idea. Who knows what seemingly silly ideas will result in when followed through.
By golly, this episode sure warmed the cockles of my heart! Why, it was enough to make me briefly forget the record extinction rates and degraded oceanic ecology and increasingly insane weather and the ever widening income gap and how humanity will die within the century due to the water shortage wars to come!! Ahahahaha! Oh god I think I just gained asthma.