Thursday, February 25, 2010

A clash of not-exactly-titans...

More like make-believe entertainment figures. But that wouldn't have made for a catchy blog post title. Robin Hood and Jed Clampett meet in today's post. How's that for an odd couple?

RobinHood702 has made it a practice of taking from the rich casinos and giving his winnings to the poor. Fox News broke the story of the Sin City do-gooder who uses his gambling skills to benefit those less fortunate back in 2008. His efforts were first noticed when he flew the Kegler family to Las Vegas and put them up in high style while he won $35,000 for them to cover their daughter's medical expenses. But now, RobinHood702 has added a Maid Marian and Little John to his posse (to take the metaphor just a little too far...).

Anyone over the age of 40 or with access to TV Land knows "The Beverly Hillbillies." Backwoods Texan family strikes it rich with oil and moves to Beverly Hills. Well, Yahoo! is reporting of a similar event (minus the dueling banjos and migration) in North Dakota. A massive oil reserve has been located under the Three Affiliated Tribes' Fort Berthold Indian Reservation which has brought money and jobs flowing into the area. Since oil was struck a year ago, over $179 million in lease payments has been made to the tribe and millions more in royalties and tax revenue have also come in. For the first time in anyone's memory, people are returning to the reservation for the opportunities which now abound there.


Rob Williams' column in The Province, a Vancouver, Canada daily, uses the Games as a motivation to get fit. The kinesiologist and posture specialist does a little feature on a pretty motivating 76 year-old fellow gym-user who should be able to shame those of use more than half her age into exercising at least a little before listing several easy suggestions for getting moving. This comes at a good time for those who are starting to slip a little (or a lot) on those New Year's resolutions. You know who you are... : )

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

O Canada...

The Vancouver Games have been a bit of a disaster, from the hydraulic issues that marred the Opening Ceremonies to the lack of snow on Cypress Mountain (until yesterday) and falling short of its boast to "own the podium" on home soil.

But these Olympics have produced its fair share of inspirational stories. As I've said before, the Games tend to bring front and center unique athletes who have compelling backstories. Host nation Canada is not devoid of such people.

Figure skate Joannie Rochette has been the center of world sporting events for the past few days. Tragically, she lost her mother to a heart attack just two days ago. Her efforts last night are the stuff of legend. Rochette took the ice and, to the delight and vociferous (and occasionally tearful) support of the entire crowd, skated the program of her life. She simply flew across the ice. The story on Yahoo! brought me to tears and it doesn't even include video of her performance. You can see it on NBC's online coverage of the Olympics here. FYI - I had to turn my sound all the way up to hear the commentators.

Rochette clearly poured her heart and soul into her performance. The other athletes at the Games also give everything they have for their event, though most do it with a much lighter heart. Canadian Jon Montgomery picked up the gold medal in what I consider the most terrifying sport on Earth - skeleton. I think lugers are just this side of crazy, but to speed down an icy chute on a thin piece of metal headfirst? That's just insane. As Yahoo!'s article points out, sports stars come ready-made these days. They are full of logoed clothing, sound bytes and publicists/managers/assistants/agents/coaches. Montgomery seems to break the mold, and not just because he drank a fan's beer on the way to the interview stage.

The Olympics seem to be a time still of unlikely heroes, despite the preponderance of prepackaged stars. Cross country skier Brian McKeever is one of those heroes. He will compete in the 50-kilometer cross country race on the last day of the Olympics and then stick around Vancouver to compete next month in the Paralympics.

McKeever is legally blind.

The Philadelphia Daily News has a short article detailing McKeever's bout with Stargardt's Disease and how he has continued to compete regardless of the degenerative effect it has had on his vision. Near the bottom of the Daily News story, McKeever outlines what he thinks is the beauty of the Olympic Games. What I think is that he fits that ideal to a tee.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Three-point play...

The three-point play is one of my favorites in basketball. No, I'm not talking about a long-distance bomb from a dude who usually has no business jacking up that shot and is then emboldened to take more after the rare make. I'm talking about the guy who crashes through the lane, makes the effort to finish his shot and gets fouled for his trouble. He then goes to the line and makes the free throw. To me, it's a beautiful thing.

My other favorite play in basketball is the extra pass - which is why I generally don't like the NBA. I have had protracted arguments with my friend Joel about my views on the National Basketball Association, which are generally stymied by the fact I refuse to watch NBA games to bear out Joel's theories that it's gotten better.

However, today's blog features two news articles that look on professional basketball with a positive or, at the least, neutral eye. And from reputable news sources, no less!

The Wall Street Journal takes a look at what it terms the "locker room nerds" - international players who are bringing reading back to the locker room. The article calls out many international (and some US) players by name for their reading habits, some of which are far more advanced than mine. While some may argue the Bucks players have more pressing matters to attend to on the court, the organization gave them Kindles for Christmas last year, and the player's association publishes a quarterly reading list. I do have to give Dwayne Wade props for admitting one of his favorite books is Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." Especially since the "handful" of Trail Blazers who read aren't comfortable acknowledging they do so.

The New York Times published a story in the Health section that examines the findings of researchers who have been focusing on non-verbal cues like touches. The scientists have found that a touch to the arm, a grab of the shoulder or a pat on the back not only emphasizes the feeling being conveyed in words but is also capable of conveying the same feeling without verbal communication. In an experiment a blind-folded participant was able to identify eight different emotions with 70 percent accuracy. Later in the article, the Times references work by Berkeley scientists who studied non-verbal communication in NBA games last year. They report, with a few exceptions, good teams tend to be touchier than bad ones (hello, Celtics and Lakers) and good players are also more likely to touch teammates during a game - fist bumps, chest bumps, high fives, etc.


Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few days, you know that the USA men's ice hockey team defeated Canada by two goals on Sunday. While clearly not of the magnitude of the 1980 US men versus Russia, this was definitely an upset. The Boston Globe mentioned in a blog that five year-old YouTube star Josh Sacco attended a team dinner before the match up. Sacco is known for his oddly affecting and remarkably accurate impression of Herb Brooks giving his famous locker room speech during the "Miracle on Ice." I enjoyed watching Sacco the first time I saw this video. Here it is if you would like to see it too.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thoughts on happy...

Amy Bloom has an interesting and decidedly non-committal Sunday New York Times book review. In her review, she talks about both the proponents and opponents to the happiness phenomenon. As she mentions, for as long as people have been seeking happiness, there have been people making fun of the first group. Bloom discusses several book titles from each camp. This being a positive blog, I'm more interested in the pro-happiness ones, but to each their own...

Bloom's review mentions happiness guru Deepak Chopra. I've personally never read any of his books, but he had a column in the San Francisco Chronicle last week. In this column he tackles the thorny issue of how to have a good life. His advice? Have a good day. Chopra gives five specific elements that he considers essential to having a good life.

Chopra talks about how interpersonal communication is a key to helping people have a good day in the above article. Researchers at UPenn took that a step farther, analyzing the New York Times' most-emailed stories to see if readers liked to propagate good news or bad. The researchers found people sent stories with an overall positive tone and/or ones that were about intellectually challenging subjects. John Tierney's NYT column on these conclusions goes on to say the researchers found, most of all, readers like to send stories that inspire awe.

The science department of another news organization, the BBC, published an article that suggests happiness deters heart disease. It cited research by US scientists which said those who were anxious or depressed were the people at highest risk for cardiac issues. The research, published in the European Heart Journal, could not conclusively prove being happier would protect an individual but did say it was worth the effort.


Sports Illustrated noted yesterday that Wednesday may have been the greatest day in Winter Olympics history for the US. Lindsey Vonn, Shani Davis, and Shaun White each grabbed a gold as the US registered six medals in one day. No other country has ever garnered more edals in a single day. The article also notes that the last time the US competed in a Canada-hosted Games (1988), America only had a total of six medals for the entire Olympics.

(Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The deep blue sea...

Just a couple of ocean-themed tales for today...

This is another example of how my themes just sort of come together. I'd been holding this first story for a couple weeks since it didn't really seem to fit into my recent posts. I suppose I could have just dumped it in somewhere since it's an update to a story I posted awhile ago, but I just didn't pull the trigger for some reason.

The Boston Globe did a follow-up to the story about Baltic, the dog found floating on an ice floe in Poland. He was safely rescued, but they were trying to figure out who he belonged to and how he ended up in the middle of the Baltic Sea. While it is unfortunate the second question probably won't be answered, the first has been...sort of. After meeting with several impostors, Baltic has been adopted by the seaman who saved him.

My friend Michelle sent me the next story from a website called This is one of those random stories that makes you sit back and think, "Who does this happen to? Really?"

In Oct. 2008, the Gregorys were on the Queen Mary 2, taking photos of the Queen Elizabeth 2 which was sailing beside them. The article isn't specific on how, but their camera soon fell into the ocean off the coast of Ireland. The article also doesn't say exactly where Benito Estevez was when the fisherman netted more than just his seafood. Estevez fished the camera out of his nets, tracked down the couple and returned the camera and the memory card, which was remarkably undamaged.


Yahoo! Sports' Olympic blog posted a story on Tanith Belbin, the US ice dancer, yesterday. Blogger Maggie Hendricks notes Belbin's change in eating habits which has added 10 pounds to Belbin's frame and improved both her strength and her lifts. The post includes a quote from Belbin about her eating issues, which I think is important to get out there. The more eating issues are talked about, particularly by famous women, the more they become de-stigmatized.

(Photo courtesy of the Boston Globe)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Do you believe in miracles? YES!...

So I've noted my dislike for Valentine's Day, mildly on the blog and more emphatically to friends and family. So much so, apparently, that any V-Day cards I do receive come with a disclaimer from the sender - I know you don't like the holiday, but I'm sending it anyway...

Then I suppose it's a minor miracle that I'm doing not one but two Valentine's Day-themed posts. While I guess I shouldn't be surprised at what can make the Guinness Book of World Records, I was intrigued by a story in the Boston Globe about setting a world record in hugs. Jeff Ondash set the WR for most hugs in a day with 7,777 hugs in 24 hours. The 51 year-old native apparently stood on a street corner in Las Vegas and collected hugs under the pseudonym Teddy McHuggin, in support of the American Heart Association. I'm a little surprised you can do that these days and not get hauled off to jail, so well done, Jeff...

And the San Diego Zoo has a new little bundle of joy to love, according to the Globe. A male African baby elephant was born around 2 a.m. on Valentine's Day. The other elephants in the enclosure announced the bouncing baby pachyderm by trumpeting awake campers in the area. He has not been named yet and is the sixth calf to be born to this pack since it was imported from Swaziland in 2003.


In honor of the US men's ice hockey team's first win of the Olympics last night, I decided to post the following feature from NBC's online Olympic coverage. We're all familiar with the "Miracle on Ice" (as a former employee of the university that produced Mike Eruzioni and Jim Craig, who featured prominently in a certain Disney flick, and was thus forced to answer phone calls from a lot of stupid people, I am more aware than most). But what I, and I'm betting a lot of other people, don't know of is the "Team of Destiny" from the 1960 games in Squaw Valley. This US men's ice hockey team had an eerily similar story to that of the Lake Placid team but seems to have been completely forgotten by history.

(Photo courtesy of NBC)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The fattest Tuesday...

My blog post title is a paraphrase from a line in an article I read this morning. It referenced how this year's Shrove Tuesday seems to be the perfect combination of joy - the usual MG madness together with the still-going euphoria of the 2009 Superbowl champion Saints. posted an editorial this morning that really reaches out to the reader and gives them all the reasons they need to get out and dance, regardless of which state in the Union they happen reside.

The image to the left is taken from Carnival Fete-ish, a site which actually has a really good, even description of the history of and current events surrounding Mardi Gras in Louisiana. If nothing else, it taught me that the connection between the names "Mardi Gras" and "Fat Tuesday" is simply that Mardi Gras means fat Tuesday in French.

Because we all know New Orleans knows how to throw a party, posted an article looking at three classic cocktails which came from establishments in New Orleans, complete with drink recipes (for those of you still digging out in the DC area).

And another tradition of Mardi Gras has made it all the way to a training base in Mississippi. WDSU Channel 6 reported on "Operation King Cake," in which the news station partnered with a local bakery to send 100 King Cakes to Camp Shelby and some Louisiana soldiers in training. The bakery donated the treats to the 3000 men and women far from their beloved Bourbon Street this week.

If you want to take a gander at some of the festivities going on today, you can catch the action via one of the many web cams trained on various spots in New Orleans. This is one of the few live cameras I found which was in working order this morning.

Finally, my Olympic addition for the day is this short post from Yahoo! Sports. Apparently the Norwegian men's curling team is taking its sartorial inspiration from, of all people, John Daly. And I thought the Czech Republic's pants were bad in the Opening Ceremonies...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Snow and the Olympics...

Not that the Olympics are getting a lot of snow at the moment. One area of North America which is getting slammed with snow is the Washington, DC area. Last year, Pres. Obama gently mocked the East Coast's inability to handle snow as well as his hometown of Chicago. It seems the 44th president has changed his tune now, coining the phrase "snowmagedon."

But it seems some residents of the metro area made something out of nothing, courtesy of Facebook. The Jerusalem Post reported on a massive snowball fight Ami Greener and Michael Lipin organized on Dupont Circle last week. Greener, an Israeli army veteran, worked with Lipin to organize the winter battle to take advantage of weather the pair didn't see much of as kids. Nearly 2000 people showed up after the snowball fight was announced via blogs, FB and other forms of social media. Called the largest snowball fight in Washington history, all missiles were aimed in good fun.

In other news out of Israel, archaeologists recently announced the find of a 1400 year-old, extremely large and unusually shaped wine press. Found in what was the center of an agrarian area, the 21x54 foot, octagonal wine press appears to have been used for producing wine for export. According to the Yahoo! article the archaeologists believe the technology employed by the sixth to seventh century wine press is more advanced than previously assumed.

And now for something completely different...Since feel-good stories pop up more often than usual during the Olympics, I will most probably put random Olympic happy thoughts in amongst otherwise unrelated themes for the duration of the Games. Today's one-off story is from the New York Times, detailing the men's moguls results. Alexandre Bilodeau won Canada's first gold medal at a home Olympics with his inspired last run. Fast, aesthetically pleasing and technically perfect, Bilodeau beat turncoat countryman Dale Begg-Smith to the top of the podium. Bilodeau said before the race he was dedicating his efforts to his older brother Frederic, who has cerebral palsy (CP).

(Photo courtesy of the Jerusalem Post)

Friday, February 12, 2010

A little of this and that...

So I couldn't decide on a theme for today - Olympics or Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day or Olympics? I decided to do both. I'm such a multi-tasker. : )

(PS - I have emerged from my technical difficulties with an entirely new power cord, so sorry about my absence yesterday...)

Author Debbie Robbins, who may have the most creative self-help book title I've seen, posted an article on Huffington Post listing 14 tips to surviving Valentine's Day. These tips are aimed at single and coupled people alike, which is nice, because usually these articles are for "lonely hearts." Robbins has a refreshingly upbeat and no-nonsense tone, and she's kinda funny to boot.

Robbins points out in her article that one way to get through V-Day is to be kind to people who you are not in a relationship with - coworkers, mailmen, dog walkers, etc. Well, that is the entire point of one article at If you work in an office building, I defy you to read this article and not recognize your own company in some of her examples. There's a reason whole films and books have sprung up over office angst. Liz Jazwiec provides some solutions to those problems in this story.

USA Today made an attempt to tie its article about the US Olympic figure skating team to everyone's favorite Hallmark holiday (hint: the effort is smack in the middle of the story). Nevertheless, this is a neat little article examining the backstory to the pairs teams. Each of them have a unique rise to where they are today.

And finally, the Baltimore Sun provides an Olympics crib sheet for anyone who has some last minute cramming to do. The story lists notable movies and books either about the various Olympic Games or by Olympic athletes. Gratifyingly (to me), the first movie listed is "Cool Runnings," which holds a near-and-dear place in my heart as referenced here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow day!...

Boston finally joins in on the fun. If you need me, I'll be under my comforter with a big mug of hot chocolate. See you guys tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chocolate and beer...

Don't scoff. According to a lot of my foodie news sites, that is the new "it" combination. Think about it. The same countries - Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Holland - known for their beer production also produce some pretty good chocolates. Really, though, how can you go wrong?

Yahoo! News reported on the new analysis of a range of beers. The study concluded beer is a good source of dietary silicon, which is good for bone density. The researchers tested 100 commercially available brews and came up with the recommendation to drink in moderation to improve bone density. Apparently "hoppier' beers are better for your bones, as they contain more silicon. So maybe kick back with an IPA the next time you turn on ESPN? posted a video interview with Tom Aspirino, a New England-area mortgage-banker-turned-candy-peddler. Sick of the mortgage field, he went into business producing Rhode Island Rocks - chocolate-covered pretzel clusters. This is an excellent example of a small business succeeding in a recession. Aspirino seems to be following a passion, so good for him.

Time Magazine has an article on the new revolution in Peru - chocolate. Previously known as a major producer of cocaine paste, Peruvians increasingly have been turning to producing cocoa beans. Peruvian chocolatiers even earned a prestigious aroma certificate from the Salon du Chocolat in Paris. Peru is the second-largest coca producer after Columbia, but the Andean nation increased cacao exports over 400 percent in the past decade. This year the output will be around 35,000 metric tons, which would make Peru among the top ten cacao producers in the world.

(Photo courtesy of Time)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Who dat sitting at her desk all sleepy?...

So, like 90 percent of the country, I am beyond tired this morning. I debated calling in sick, but I couldn't justify it as I'm more anti-Colts than pro-Saints. However, I am very pleased for the city of New Orleans and the Saints franchise.

As a former advertising copywriter, I usually look forward to the Superbowl ads since the are really the pinnacle of that industry's yearly body of work. However, this year I was less than impressed. The Doritos ad above turned out to be my favorite, followed closely by the e*Trade baby commercials.

I promise tomorrow I will be back with actual news stories, but today I just couldn't be sure of being coherent...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Superbowl Sund-, er, Friday...

Since I don't post on the weekends, I thought I'd do a football-themed entry today. My friend B mentioned this morning it doesn't feel like it's time for the Superbowl. I'm not going to lie, I actually forgot it was this Sunday. I've been in a baking frenzy, trying to assemble 120 iced cookies into 40 baby shower favors, so I'm not really sure what day it is, much less what's on TV. However, I shall spend the weekend on the other end of my apartment from the kitchen, parked on the couch, watching as much TV as humanly possible. : )

I will, in fact, be rooting for the Saints. Not that one of the highest-powered offenses in football is an underdog, but somehow, a franchise's first trip to the big game (despite the ridiculous numbers put up by that team all year) do not compare with a four-time league MVP and multiple trips to the Superbowl in the last few years. (PS - This is one reason for the dearth of Colts stories in today's post...The other is I'm from Baltimore.)

The following Reuters article is fun to read for its educational tone alone. Aimed at explaining the hoopla to non-Americans, the story nicely juxtaposes the Saints' success with the struggles of New Orleanians post-Katrina. Pay no attention to the Danny Downer somewhere in the middle of the story; focus on the "Saints Salve."

The Saints have been a big part of helping to rebuild New Orleans from the inside out, particularly in terms of education and the well-being of the city's children. As this story on tells, New Orleans teachers are returning the favor. Schools of all levels throughout the area are teaching their children through football-themed lesson plans. Some of the more creative ideas include third-grade math students learning how far $4000 goes for people attending the game, music students wrote lyrics to a Saints mambo, and one class of fourth-graders will Skype with their counterparts in Indianapolis.

This last little one isn't necessarily Superbowl related, but it's a nice thought (and good excuse to get on Facebook during a slow day at the office). St. Jude is partnering with Target and Facebook to help the kids at the hospital. Target is giving away $1 million to St. Jude's and other charity partners via its Super Love Sender app. Facebook users have until Feb. 14 to send football-inspired, customized video cards to family and friends (up to 10 per computer per day), and St. Jude will get one vote for every card sent which designates the hospital as the sender's charity of choice.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Citius, Altius, Fortius...

I have been assured the 2010 Vancouver Olympics are coming. I'm not entirely sure when they will invade NBC, but judging by the repeated (and curious) Michael Phelps Subway commercials the attack is imminent.

In anticipation, or failing that preparation, I've come up with three stories connected to the upcoming Olympics. Remember the Jamaican bobsled team? The one that inspired the Disney movie "Cool Runnings"? Well, this year's unlikely hero may just be Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong. He is Ghana's entire Winter Olympic team. According to Yahoo! Sports, Nkrumah-Acheampong will compete for the small African nation in alpine skiing events. He is the first Ghananian in the Winter Olympics and only picked up skiing six years ago after taking a job at a ski resort in England (of all places).

The New York Times highlighted an American bobsledder who will be competing in the Games despite some incredibly long odds. Steve Holcomb succeeded in driving a bobsled at speeds over 90 mph regardless of the fact his vision factored in at 20/500 due to a degenerative disease called keratoconus. But two years ago, when his vision reached its nadir, Holcomb feared he'd have to retire. His coach, Brian Shimer, connected him with a surgeon who was able to correct Holcomb's vision back to 20/20. Now he is back, ready to compete and take aim at the German favorites for the gold medal.

Dorothy Hamill earned the nickname "America's Sweetheart" after winning a gold medal in figure skating at the 1976 Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria (and started a fad with that hair...). She turned professional shortly after her triumph, and remains active in skating to this day, despite a bout with breast cancer. has a video from the Today Show that highlights Hamill's latest venture - I-Skate. The program helps children with cerebral palsy, brain damage or paralysis receive therapy through ice skating. It's a short video, so I really hope you watch it. The grins on these children's faces throughout the feature cannot fail to make you smile.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

We should all be like Mylyn...

Ever since I got a normal, 9-5 job, I've had Netflix. I wanted to catch up on all the TV I missed while working 80-hour weeks. Consequently my queue is constantly, like, 27 titles long. My current rotation is Eureka, NCIS and JAG.

Don't judge.

Anyway, one of the current plot lines on JAG is a character becoming an amputee after stepping on a land mine. The season I'm on is set in 2002, so obviously, they're factoring in the war in Afghanistan. The show tried to be honest but sympathetic to the Navy, and this storyline is no different. While the writers picked the most good-humored character to have this happen to, it did explore the ramifications on his career, on his marriage and with his friends. I think sometimes televised war numbs you a little. It's good to be reminded those who are injured are people, not statistics.

The Journal Gazette - Times Courier out of Illinois had a story on an Iraq war veteran's (and double amputee) new home, built by dozens of volunteers from "Homes for our Troops" and "StormHawk Construction." National Guard Sgt. Cameron Crouch suffered his injuries after falling from a roof in Iraq onto marble floors. Presumably, he was in one of Saddam Hussein's palaces. Crouch fell 70 feet and required 25 surgeries. Later this year he is set to marry his fiancee Christy.

Risks for injury do not just occur on the battlefield. EJ Poplawski was competing in the 10th annual US Telemark Extreme Freeskiing Championships when his last descent over a cliff broke one of his skis, according to the Ski Channel. He subsequently hit a tree and shattered his knee. Poplawski didn't get to the hospital quickly enough to save his lower leg. But that didn't stop him from continuing to ski and race. He recently competed in the Winter X Games and tours the country as a motivational speaker.

This next little girl should motivate all of us. One night, three year-old Mylyn Beakley, herself an amputee, saw Haitian children on TV who had also lost legs, and ran into her bedroom. The little girl retrieved a prosthetic leg she had grown out of and told her mother she wanted "to give it to Haiti." The hug she gives one of the staffers at the 1:10 mark in the NBC video is precious.

(Photo courtesy of The Journal Gazette - Times Courier)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy health news...

One of my favorite parts of my job is reading the thank you letters we get from former patients and their families. Hospitals are a last resort; you only end up here if everything else has failed. And that generally means you're in dire straits. So it's always nice to get notes from the people who walk out our doors well. Things do go wrong and that makes you sad, so hearing from those who had things go right makes it better.

A lot of the bad news coming out of Haiti now seems to be related to survivors' health, from crush injuries requiring amputation to the smallest of cuts turning into raging infections. The US and other countries have been helping with the injuries, but recently the US put a hold on medical evacuations due to concerns on the pressure they would put on our health care system. The Boston Globe reported on a group of doctors who went around that obstacle by flying three children with tetanus, pneumonia and third-degree burns to Children's Hospital in Philadelphia on a private plane. All were critically ill and would have died soon without the evac.

We have Haitian staffers in all of our hospitals in my health system, and many of them lost contact with family and friends after the quake. Some still have not reached their loved ones. Yahoo! News posted a first-person account of a group of TIME reporters who helped a friend send money to her 94 year-old great-aunt. France St. Fleur came out of the quake okay, but she was living in a tent outside her badly damaged house. The article details the challenges the team faced with tracking down St. Fleur when all their landmarks to her home were demolished.

One of the unfortunate consequences of natural disasters like the earthquake in Haiti can be the rampant spread of disease. Microsoft's Bill Gates has pledged through his foundation to donate $10 billion over the next decade to finding vaccines. He and wife Melinda made the announcement at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, according to a short article on

Monday, February 1, 2010

Leave it to the Globe...

Sometimes it can be feast or famine when looking for good news stories. Today happened to be a feast. I even found extra stories I can "put by" for later. The articles on today's post are only tied together by the fact I found them all on the Globe website, and they are all fun and quirky.

I know it's not cool, but I have long been a proponent of the Slanket, aka: the originial Snuggie. I have had my royal blue, fleecy slice of heaven for about four years now, and I've been made fun of for it nearly as long. However, I refuse to part with it. With the weather the way it's been for, well, ever up here in my frozen corner of, Boston, it's necessary to my survival. It appears the blanket with sleeves is finally gaining some traction. Somerville hosted the Boston-area's first Snuggie Pub Crawl this past Friday. Nearly 100 people, clad in Snuggies and the occasional piece of pirate gear, crawled their way through Union Square bars. You can view photos here.

After a long day in my cube-like office (that occasionally does not have heat - do not even get me started), I slip on the Slanket and watch Netflix. That is my version of TLC. For the turtles on the Cape, however, Dr. Charles Innis, provides his own brand. Increasingly rare Kemp's Ridley turtles migrate between New England and the Caribbean, but some of them get lost and end up tossed on shore by the tide. These turtles often end up at the New England Aquarium's marine care center where they get top-notch, state-0f-the-art care.

Julia Child never had any recipes for turtle (that I know of, thank goodness), and neither does Bubbe, the 83 year-old Jewish grandmother who is becoming an Internet sensation. Two years agao, Bubbe thought the Internet came from the air and had no idea what an email was. Now she is a YouTube star and is knowledgeable about Twitter and Facebook to boot. Her grandson, Avrom Honig, filmed her originally for a demo tape while looking for a job. Bubbe now has over 30 episodes on cooking kosher and a legion of fans who want to adopt her. Honig now has a job. : )

(Photo courtesy of the Boston Globe)