Friday, January 29, 2010


I knew it was supposed to be cold this weekend. But that didn't prepare me for the high of 19 today. It's not supposed to get much better over the weekend, and that does not factor in the wind chill of the gusts of 30-40 mph we're having today...Super.

All of this definitely had me second-guessing my decision not to take that cheap trip to Portugal advertised by @cheapgirlboston on Twitter in the past couple days. Round-trip $474 (plus taxes of course, but still). Anyway, I guess I'll have to make do by turning up the ol' office space heater and taking a gander at the following articles.

Baltic the dog definitely had it worse off than I do. Somehow, and no one is sure how, he got stuck on an ice floe and ended up in the Baltic Sea. Polish firefighters tried to rescue him originally, but it took an inflatable raft and some pretty intrepid researchers (who were for something entirely different) to pull the dog to safety. They had a couple of misfires, including one where Baltic ended up in the water under the boat, but persistence paid off, and he is now warm and safe. The first link is to the story on the Boston Globe. This link is to the British paper The Guardian, which has a video interview with the researchers. You'll have to turn your volume up kinda high (or at least I did), and it's in Polish, but there are subtitles.

My parents are headed on a little European vacay later this year, and I've been doing my level best to give them more places to go to than they possibly have time for. However, I think this next suggestion is an absolute must-see, knowing you, knowing me...Even if you are no dancing queen... Thanks Boston Globe! :)

This past December, my mom and I took a day trip to NYC. We must have walked almost 60 blocks all told, but somehow we missed the Library Walk on east 41st Street. Since we're both book nerds, it is a bit of a disappointment. In fact, I would argue with E.B. White that it was as discouraging as both literature and chickens. The Papercuts blog on the New York Times has a link to see actual plaques and the quotes on them.

I've traveled a lot, but I'm sure if I ever sat down to make a bucket list, more travel would be on it. I feel like I'm too young to make such a list, but a group of college-aged, Canadian men felt no such limitation. I suppose that is why they now have a show on MTV, and I don't. Ben Nemtin and Duncan and Jonnie Penn teamed up, asked for donations and hit the road in a purple RV to do the things on their bucket lists. Along the way they realized it is just as gratifying to help others do things they've always wanted to do as well. The Frugal Traveler blog on NYT interviewed Nemtin on the genesis of the idea and what the trio has been up to since starting out in 2006.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A season for miracles and saints...

People usually associate the phrase in the post title to the Christmas season, but I think it's fair to call every survivor of the Haiti quake a miracle, particularly after the world got a look at the mess that is Haiti's architecture and over-populated cities.

But today, an even larger miracle occurred - a girl was pulled alive from the rubble of the first quake. Fifteen days after the earth first shook, teenager Darlene Etienne emerged from the shattered remains of a house near her university. Doctors have no idea how the girl lasted for so long but say she now has a 90 percent chance of survival. MSNBC says Etienne is stable, drinking and eating yogurt and mashed potatoes to the amazement of her medical team. She was found after a neighbor came back and heard a faint voice and saw her hair through the debris.

Alain Armand joined rescuers like those who found Etienne after Armand, a Haitian living in the US, could no longer simply sit and watch the news. Better known as @thehaitian, Armand flew to Haiti after the quake and has been making an impact there one person at a time. Carrying only a backpack and his Blackberry, Armand uses Tweets to find and help individuals around Port-au-Prince.

And finally, an update on Charlie Simpson, the little boy who raised over $320,000 by riding his bike around the local park. Simpson and his family took a trip to Number 10 Downing Street this week to meet the Prime Minister's wife and tour the residence. They even let him ride inside the house! While there, Charlie met with PM Brown's two children and talked about bikes. All of Charlie's funds will go to UNICEF's Haiti Earthquake Children's Appeal, according to the BBC.

(Photo courtesy of the BBC)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Er, happy Holocaust Remembrance Day?...

It seems wrong to wish someone well for a day that reflects on the epic tragedy when millions of lives were extinguished. But it's an important day. People need to remember what occurred so it doesn't happen again.

My friend Michelle sent me a link to an article from the English version of Der Spiegel, a German news magazine. Esther Bejarano survived Auschwitz, where she was forced to play in a girls' orchestra as people destined for the gas chamber arrived on the trains. Bejarano escaped on a death march, filled the rest of her life with music and spent the majority of her adult life speaking about the Holocaust. In the past, she collaborated with her two children on albums of Jewish and anti-fascist songs, but her latest creation is distinctly street. Bejarano teamed up with the Cologne-based Microphone Mafia (the children of Italian and Turkish families who emigrated to post-war Germany) to produce a hip hop album to combat the work of those who prefer to pretend the mass murder never occurred.

Bejarano's survival of the Holocaust is mirrored to a degree by that of Ena Zinzi, a 69 year-old woman pulled from the rubble of the earthquake in Haiti seven days after it struck. The woman survived untenable conditions, and her first words to her South African rescuer Ahmed Bham upon reaching sunlight were "Je t'aime". According to those around Bham Zinzi, she then began singing a song of praise. The South African Gift of Givers group had partnered with a Mexican rescue group after a dog scented Zinzi among the debris. Bham had helped with the rescue efforts in Pakistan two years ago when an earthquake there resulted in thousands dead, according to the newspaper The Hindu. He went on to describe Haiti as "much, much worse," and thus seemed all the more grateful to find Zinzi alive.

(Photo courtesy of Der Spiegel)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kids do the darnedest things...

Kids are funny little creatures. They have the ability to speak the truth (see: new clothes, Emperor's) and the wonderful and total belief that nothing is impossible. It's something us old fogies would do better to keep in mind sometimes. My friend Blair sent me the following link to a story on CNN on the amazing Charlie Simpson. The seven year-old British boy wanted to do something for the people of Haiti. He decided to ride his bike five miles around a park near his home with a goal of raising 500 British pounds. Word of his efforts caught the Internet's attention, and he recently passed the $240,000 mark.

The Daily Mail highlighted another seven year-old British boy undeterred by potential limits. Kieron Williamson attracted buyers from as far away as Japan and Canada when his watercolors, oils and pastels went to auction in November. The pictures sold out in under 15 minutes and earned the boy 17,000 British pounds. His mother arrived late to the sale and missed it completely. This after another auction last summer netted him 14,000 BP. Kieron just decided to start painting after a family trip to Devon and Cornwall; he showed no particular interest or aptitude before then.

Finally, the video above, courtesy of YouTube, is just fun. I'm not entirely sure how old the boy is or where he's from, but he exhibits excellent coordination. I've never really seen the appeal of the video game "Dance Dance Revolution" beyond a funny scene in "The Big Bang Theory", but this kid is amazing. I could never do what he does.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday round up...

It's been a little while since I've done one of these. I've been on a streak of themes lately, but alas, it came to an end. Much like the Jets' and Vikings' seasons last night. My team was out of the play-offs before last night, so I had no real rooting interest. However, I am glad to see New Orleans make it to the Super Bowl after how much its citizens have endured since Hurricane Katrina.

Another disaster is never far from our thoughts these days, and Ontario's Chronicle-Journal had a short article posted about a member of its Canadian Forces who survived the Haiti quake. Posted in Port-au-Prince as part of the UN efforts there, he was one of the few to get out of the collapsed UN headquarters alive. Lt. Commander Shekhar Gothi dug himself out of the rubble before being airlifted to the Dominican for medical attention. After a brief stint at home in Ontario, he has returned to the island to help with the recovery efforts.

From one side of the world to another, the Guardian reported on supermodel Erin O'Connor's work with some of the garment industry's most oppressed workers. O'Connor has become the spokesmodel for SEWA, the All India Federation of Self-Employed Women's Associations, which represents the women who work out of their homes, creating amazing (and time-consuming) hand embroidered and beaded clothing and home accessories. The middlemen of the fashion industry were exploiting this group, but with the help of SEWA and O'Connor, the women's wages have increased by 100 percent, and they've been able to gather to exchange ideas on family and finance.

And finally, I'm a little obsessed with the following link. I couldn't get the site to work with the first set of puppies, but the Shiba Inus who took the Interwebs by storm are back. Well, a new litter is here. Five puppies eat and sleep and play and wiggle, all on a live stream from their home in, purportedly, San Francisco. You wouldn't really think the lives of dogs which are less than 3 months old would be that captivating, but it's mesmerizing. I cannot explain it. They're just so darned cute...

(Photo courtesy of The Guardian)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Mile-wide smile indeed...

This morning I heard the rescuers in Haiti are changing their mission from rescue to recovery. Not exactly a bright way to start the day. There seem to be miracles around every corner down there, with new stories of improbable survival, so I worry about those still hanging on under all that concrete.

Logging onto Facebook this afternoon, my friend Nancy posted the following link in her status. The CNN video covers the heartwarming and smile-inducing rescue of a boy and his sister yesterday. Pulled from the rubble over a week after the first earthquake rocked the island, the seven year-old had to be coaxed out by a relative. Once he hit fresh air, however, his reaction is both precious and priceless.

I know this is a short post, but this video is such a day-brightener, I can't find anything in its league...

Happy weekend!

(Photo courtesy of the New York Post)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The flip side of conformity...

One of my cousins had the following as his Facebook status for this morning: "My wish for 2010 is that people will understand that children with disabilities do not have a disease; children with disabilities are not looking for a cure but ACCEPTANCE........93% of people won't copy and paste this."

Well, consider it copied and pasted, albeit not on FB. Tolerance and acceptance can be tricky. There are a lot of different people out there, and in general, people are afraid of things they aren't completely familiar with. The late, great Mitch Hedberg made a joke about that phenomenon, "Some people say 'I don't care if they're black, white, or purple...' Now hold on, we have to draw the line somewhere. F*** purple people!"

I am in the camp that supports purple people, so I was really pleased to see the following two stories. Baltimore Magazine did a write up on the Allied Sports program a few months ago. The program is a Baltimore County School System initiative for high school students with disabilities. The 16 year-old program puts a 50/50 mix of children with physical and/or learning disabilities and children without them on soccer, bowling and softball teams. Eighteen of the 24 schools have at least one Allied sport. The program promotes "sameness," the chance to shine for children who often get lost in the background.

Canada's Parent Central website posted an article on a little girl's ballet class. Normally a common subject, this particular class deserves a second look. Founded by mom Sarah Nixon-Suggitt, it is Toronto's first ballet class for physically challenged little girls. Three year-old Katie Suggitt, who has cerebral palsy, wanted to dance just like her twin sister. Suggitt's occupational therapist Barbara Lynch worked with the dance instructor to modify the beginner's class for Katie and little girls like her. Each class is staffed by older dancers at the school who volunteer their Saturday mornings. "The best thing, the beautiful thing, is this lets Katie be like every other girl," says Nixon-Suggitt. "We know these girls with special needs can do it too. They just do it a bit differently."

(Photo is courtesy of Angelina Ballerina)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Somewhere out there...

When I was little, one of my favorite movies animated movies was "An American Tail." In it, a young Russian mouse, Fievel Mousekewitz, gets separated from his family after emigrating to America and must find them again while navigating a brand-new country. I have no idea why this resonated with me so much; I've never emigrated and at that point in my life I'd barely left the state much less the US.

Judging by my current inability to watch "Ratatouille," I clearly hadn't yet developed my aversion to mice, so that must have piled on to the sympathy I felt for poor little Fievel. Regardless, when I saw the following two news stories, the signature song from the movie "Somewhere Out There," immediately began playing in my head.

Scripps News posted a story today on the 53 Haitian orphans who flew to Pittsburgh to finish up the adoption process. All but seven of the children aged up to 12 years old were nearing completion of their adoptions when the earthquake hit and leveled their orphanage. Jamie and Ali McMurtrie, sisters from Pennsylvania, ran the BRESMA orphanage in Port-au-Prince.

Their messages home spurred the state and national government to action. Governor Ed Rendell himself flew to Haiti with a medical team to bring the children to the UPitt Medical Center. The children cleared diplomatic and bureaucratic red tape just in time to use their time slot on the runway and take off for their new homes in the US, Canada, and Spain. They appear to be big fans of chicken fingers but not so much of snow.

A lot of families do emigrate to other countries as a whole unit, like Fievel. Somali families have fled their home country for years, leaving behind war, famine and poverty. According to the Boston Globe, 5000 Somalis and Somali-Americans have settled in Lynn, Mass., so the state government has built a Parent-Child Home Program, in which visitors come into the immigrants' homes and teach them skills to assimilate into their new society. One key, and often overlooked, component to the program is teaching the parents and children how to play. For various reasons back in Somalia, parents simply didn't convey this basic skill to their children. The Parent-Child Home Program helps family read and play so their children become school-ready.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

MLK still speaks today...

I hope everyone had a great long weekend. It is a fabulous thing to have a short work/school week in January so close to the Christmas/New Years holidays. It does help you get through the dead of winter, particularly when you wake up to an unexpected 4 inches of snow on your car (yes, I'm talking to you Boston).

But I think the meaning behind having a national holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. has been lost. I was among many who worked yesterday, and in catching up on my tasks, I missed most of the articles and stories on the man we were supposed to be recognizing. The day just sort of passed.

The above video is admittedly long. But it is worth turning off the iTunes, ignoring Twitter feeds and getting off Facebook to watch and absorb the scenes captured. In this speech, and in all his speeches, Dr. King exhorted his fellow citizens to be great. Have courage, stand up and do what needs to be done to right a wrong.

The crisis in Haiti is not one simply of the question of race, though that played its part a long time ago. But the basic message Martin Luther King, Jr. preached nearly 50 years ago can be applied here: Have courage, stand up and do what needs to be done to right a wrong.

September 11th and Hurricane Katrina showed disasters of this magnitude can be hard to handle. There are no dress rehearsals that can approximate the logistics and management needed in these situations. But texting Haiti to 90999 and donating to the Red Cross are great ways to be able to help both those affected and those in charge. The New York Times published a link to a site called Charity Navigator, which helps those who want to donate to learn about the charities which have responded thus far and how they are helping the Haitian people.

The outpouring of aid and money so far has been staggering. Four hundred million dollars from 20 countries, including $100 million from the US alone. It's so good to see that even when the whole world struggles, it can still have courage, stand up and do what needs to be done to right a wrong.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The light in the middle of the winter tunnel...

As I write this, it is thinly flurrying outside my office window. At first I thought I had a bunch of those floaters you get when your eyes are misbehaving, but squinting like Mr. Magoo proved I wasn't at risk of an imminent retinal detachment. Which is good. However, the snow reminded me it is still, in fact, winter, despite the feeling that it's already been winter for quite some time.

So the story I found on the website Voices (while tailored to the state of Connecticut) made me inordinately excited and got me to wondering which of my friends/coworkers has a little girl around the age of eight. It's Girl Scout Cookie time!!!!!!!!! This is actually one of the gastro-highlights of my year. They will never be featured on any hip restaurant menu unless Adrian Ferria deconstructs them into liquid or something, but Tagalongs, Samoas, and Thin Mints rank very high on my all-time favorite foods list.

And (to steal from one of the best comedy sketch shows ever) for something completely different...the economy! I found a couple stories recently which examine the effects of the Great Recession on children, teens and 20s. Experts are pointing to comparisons between this generation of people and the one which came of age during the Great Depression, citing a larger importance of family and frugality. Others featured in the Sun Sentinel's story are talking about how due to technology and the issues of the day, kids really care and have opinions about broader issues, like free speech in China and carbon footprints. They've seen Wall Street escape relatively unscathed from the mess it created, and they know companies no longer retain workers for 30 years. Their attitudes about fundamental things are being shaped, and it will be fascinating to see how they turn out.

Speaking of valuing intangibles, the New York Times did a story on the reappearance of the early bird special. Once the domain of thrifty retirees, dining before 6 p.m. is mounting a comeback. The phenomenon is experiencing its quickest rise in hard-hit Florida. Restaurants all over the Gulf Coast state which offer EBSs are seeing a younger crowd come in and bring coupons with them. While some restaurants are doing a little rebranding of the term - twilight dining, early dining - whatever you call it, the chance to go out and spend time with loved ones without spending a mint is certainly appealing.

(Photo courtesy of the New York Times)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Glass-bottomed boat...

I take today's blog post title from a Doris Day movie of the same name. The plot is a little zany - girl meets true love at a generic NASA but must dodge mistaken identity and real Russian spies to win the day, singing sporadically - but I love Doris. She managed to be both independent and quirky and very feminine at the same time. She can take care of herself too. In this movie she does all the heavy-lifting of defeating the spy for whom she has been mistaken.

Anyways, that is a very long-winded introduction to today's theme: bizarre sea creatures. None of the following beauties would Doris have been able to see from her movie father's glass-bottomed boat...

Yahoo! News posted all three of these articles (must have been a run on seafood stories that day). It seems researchers/scientists in have found a new species of crab off the coast of Taiwan. This one bears a striking resemblance to a strawberry with its little white bumps all over its red shell. The scientists only found two examples, and it's unclear where they have been hiding all this time.

A part of scientific research has been rocked with the recent discovery of fossilized tetrapod footprints that date from way before scientists thought mammals crawled from water to land. The footprints were found over a period of five years in Poland and have been duly examined and verified. Theories have been bandied about as to what led creatures from water to land, and now they will have to be questioned; but in true scientific form, researchers are cautioning people not to get all excited just yet - these footprints could just belong to the world's earliest adopters....

Back to water-dwelling creatures for a second, the journal Science has published findings by a group of researchers that states a certain type of fish appears to have "manners." These fish, which clean parasites off bigger fish, seem to practice third-party punishment. This fascinates me since I never really thought fish were all that advanced in their thinking, much less thought at all.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday afternoon scramble...

Good Monday to you all. I hope you had nice weekends. A perusal of today's good news stories showed no discernible pattern or theme, so I decided today I would take a cue from "Glee" and do a mash-up.

New York Times Op-Ed columnist Nicholas Kristoff centered his column inches around Costa Rica last week. The many polls/surveys/studies out there have named Costa Ricans as the world's happiest people. It seems no matter which way you slice it, those Central American natives consistently rank at the top of the happy charts. Remarkably, back in 1949 the government decided to disband its army and since then has spent the available funds on wildlife preservation, education and tourism.

A reporter for Australia's ABC News simply couldn't escape her profession on a recent vacation to NYC. Fulfilling a long-held wish to visit the Algonquin Hotel, famous as a haunt for the foremost writers, thinkers and actors of the Roaring '20s, Pip Courtney met a fellow Australian couple celebrating the 25-year anniversary of their engagement. Courtney's article is liberally laced with witticisms from Dorothy Parker, which will make you chuckle. Parker may be the originator of the concept of "funny 'cause it's true."

I recently went over to the dark side and joined Twitter to see what the fuss was all about. The answer: not much - people are not generally as witty as Dorothy Parker, myself included. However, in my Tweet trolling, I came across the following story on The Chef's Cookbook profile about Toni Poulos, who bakes birthday cakes for foster children. Now a mother to seven of her own adopted/foster children, Poulos spends up to $30 per cake and 60 hours a week in her kitchen to produce her gratis cakes. She started the non-profit Cakes for Kids and has made over 200 cakes since.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Old is new again...

The universe may be expanding but history seems to repeat itself. I knew I was old when my childhood toys - My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake - cycled back around to be enjoyed by a new generation of tots. A few years ago when I saw the return of ankle boots, I cringed. I firmly believe '80s fashion does not need to be repeated (nor do my childhood photos in said fashion need to be produced)...

But things have a way of turning up even after they have seemingly faded off into the gloaming. According to News Blaze, the Library of Congress has recently put nearly 60,000 books online from the depths of its collection. These books, deemed to brittle to handle, were carefully digitized by specialists using newly invented techniques and posted online for the public's (free) enjoyment. The books include first-person historical accounts from the eighteenth and nineteen centuries as well as a trove of genealogical data among others.

The New York Times has been doing something similar of late, delving into its dining archives and recycling found material into posts to its Diners' Journal blog. They have republished articles examining the public's hatred of garlic and how one turn-of-the-twentieth-century housewife put together a Christmas dinner on $2.50. This past Wednesday's installment examined the menus and dining traditions of the Ichthyophagous Club. Peopled by some of the more prominent members of New York society, the club was committed to the sea delicacies that were, at that point in time, out of favor with the general populace. The dining club received a tremendous amount of publicity from the Times and is credited with introducing such things as skate and whitebait to the general appetite.

And CBS reported on a nice mix of old and new when it profiled an Amish barn raising. Not necessarily news since the Plain Folk have been doing it for hundreds of years. But this time, hundreds of Amish locals turned up to help rebuild John Helmstetter's barn after it was burned to the ground. Long a landmark in western Maryland for train buffs, one in particular - Carl Franz - helped raise $41,000 to pay what Helmstetter's insurance wouldn't to rebuild the structure.

(Photo courtesy of The New York Times)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Weird news...

There is actually a sub-category with that same title on Probably the most descriptive sub-head on the site, you can count on that page for articles that will have you scratching the ol' noggin. As someone with an extremely active imagination, I particularly love that page since it does actually contain things even I couldn't make up - and they're true!

Today's post is an homage of sorts to MSNBC's Weird News. So we'll start with a monkey who has better dental hygiene than me. Which I guess isn't saying much since, to steal a phrase from my friend Sam, I'm an Anti-Dentite. I have gotten much better lately, but Chonpe, a Japanese macaque, may be one of the first primates to discover the art of flossing. She has three methods of cleaning her teeth and appears to be a particularly inventive little girl since she appears to be devising a method of removing splinters according to MSNBC. joined the rest of the written world with a top ten list from 2009, science style. The website examined the "year's most obvious discoveries." Chiefly among them are that children are affected by their parent(s') depression, lots of meat eating is bad for you, and, drum roll please......high heels cause foot pain later in life.

And finally, Brett Martin at GQ examined the effect of the "gottahaveitnow" syndrome on food. Martin, an apparently wide traveler, decided to test the true limits of immediate availability when it comes to food. He enlisted friends all over the world to FedEx him the foods he craved. The story is three pages long, but it is totally worth it for the wry retelling of Martin's battles with the USDA and dumbfounded food service proprietors.

(Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Little ones...

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

This past Christmas was the first in which my Christmas cards were divided equally between traditional holiday images and photos of my friends' children and/or pets. Being single and in a no-dogs apartment building, I have neither of those things. I've also noticed as more friends get married/have children, their Facebook statuses (stati?) now revolve entirely around what their child or children have said or done recently.

So with that in mind, today's post has a "little loved ones" theme. Because really, babies and puppies have an about-equal "omghowsupercute" rating.

When I first read "Polar Express," I was entranced. The possibility of hopping a train to the North Pole sounded amazing. And the movie made from that book is awesome (Can I have my copy back now that you've retired, Mom?). I mean, really, the North Pole in that film is great. I want to go there now as a full-grown adult. Children all over the US had a chance to get on a flight bound for Santa this past Christmas. MSNBC reported on plane-loads of seriously ill/disadvantaged children headed to Santa's workshop from cities all over the US thanks to airlines, the TSA and lots of "elves."

Jumping ahead to New Year's, identical twins Marcello and Stephano Velasco may just have been the last baby of 2009 and the first of 2010 in their hospital. The brothers were born just before midnight on Dec. 31 and just after on Jan. 1, respectively, according to MSNBC. Their father hit on the highlight of the twins being born in separate decades: two birthday parties.

And because some people's children are four-legged and furry, I had to include this last story from MSNBC. Due to movies like "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" and "Legally Blonde" and a certain hotel heiress, the state of California went Chihuahua loco over the last few years. However, as people realize these dogs are not the best with small children or as family finance dictates, they are dropping the wee pups off at shelters in droves. But thanks to lots of generosity, some of 4700 little dogs taken in over the last 12 months have found homes back east due to a slowly growing doggie relocation program.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Love is in the air...

So it's the new year. A time for resolutions and new beginnings. However, though we are approaching Valentine's Day, somehow I just don't normally associate love with the middle of winter. But there have been a spate of love stories popping up in my inbox and on Facebook, so I will surrender to the power of kismet and post a love-themed blog nowhere near Feb. 14.

My friend Michelle posted the following link on her Facebook profile. It comes from, a site I will admit to never having heard of before. It strikes me as a combo of Huffington Post and Star magazine, but I could be completely off there as I only visited the site once - after clicking on her link.

Regardless, it seems the airlines still have a heart, even if the TSA doesn't. The story never mentions which airline played cupid, but John Kilpatrick enlisted the help of ticket agents and two flight crews to propose to his girlfriend Erin. John booked a flight ahead of hers, so he could surprise his sweetheart in her seat once her plane landed in Dallas.

MSNBC had its own unusual proposal story posted as well. The Weather Channel's meteorologist Kim Perez and now-fiance Marty Cunningham became engaged on-air after the police sergeant moseyed on set during between her forecast for the southeast and the football forecast. The weather map behind Perez changed to "Will you marry me?" as Cunningham dropped to one knee.

The Florida Times-Union reported on a marriage partially brought about by Facebook. Now, before you get all those creepy stories about online dating popping in your head, this is a reunion story. Leslie Jones and Doug Williams were high school sweethearts back in the late '80s before they drifted apart in college. A little social networking on the Internet giant led to a reconnection and (sigh) a wedding. : )