“Hotel Rwanda” Hero Paul Rusesabagina Freed from Prison
Rwanda’s government has freed Paul Rusesabagina, who inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda” for saving hundreds from genocide. AP reports, “Rusesabagina was credited with sheltering more than 1,000 ethnic Tutsis … during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide in which over 800,000 … were killed. He received the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom for his efforts.” His family alleged he was kidnapped and taken to Rwanda against his will, convicted of terrorism, and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Here’s more of the story from AP, and additional coverage in the following video:
World Happiness Report: Benevolence is Still Up
Benevolence is about 25% higher than it was pre-pandemic according to the latest World Happiness Report. “Even during these difficult years, positive emotions have remained twice as prevalent as negative ones, and feelings of positive social support twice as strong as those of loneliness,” said John Helliwell, one of the authors of the report in an interview with CNN. The report also identifies the world’s happiest countries. CNN has more HERE.
Ringling Bros. Circus Coming Back Without Animals
After years of declining ticket sales and public concerns about the treatment of circus animals, the famous Ringling Brothers circus took down their tents. Now, they’re coming back, redesigned without the animals. Read all about it in this article from ABC News.
100-Year-Old Grace Linn Made a Quilt and Speaks Out For Reading Freedom
You’re never too old to be an activist. One-hundred-year-old, Grace Linn is a great example. She’s been speaking out against book banning and in favor of reading freedom. She’s made a quilt of banned and targeted books. She explains more on MSNBC:
“Every human being is just as important as any other.”
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Today’sprompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “wild animal.” Choose a wild animal (or many wild animals) and use it any way you’d like in your post. Enjoy!
Wild animals are not necessarily wild to each other. People can act as wild as (other) animals sometimes. Elephants grieve the loss of their loved ones in ways that we can see. Whale mothers carry their dead babies for days or weeks, not wanting to let go. Dolphins, Chimpanzees, and birds have been seen using tools. Wolves use strategic pack coordination in hunting. What makes them wild and humans not wild?
You can read about the emotional lives of “wild” animals
Today, penguins have been on my mind. Our choir director used to call us penguins because we dressed out in black and white choir garb. He has a collection of stuffed penguins on the organ. Now, his body is becoming overwhelmed by cancer. He’s been moved to hospice. It’s real now.
Chris has been a big part of my life for years of Wednesday night choir practice. His strange sense of humor made practice interesting. When Mama Cat was living at the church in the pre-pandemic years, Chris was the main person to feed her. She had a reputation as being mean, like a wild animal, but she was really scared. Her first expression of affection to a human was to rub against Chris’s legs. During the pandemic, when we were not having church, Mama Cat came to live with me. She’s not wild anymore.
Since Chris has been sick, I’ve been picking most of the music for Sunday mornings and playing my guitar to lead the congregation in singing. We tried a couple of hymns acapella, but that is risky. My guitar skills are very basic and much softer than Chris’s organ playing, but the guitar helps us be on key as I find the confidence to sing loud and clear enough to lead the singing.
On Tuesday, after seeing the scripture readings, I emailed my suggestions for Sunday’s music. Our priest added a suggestion from the hymn book. I started to feel a little overwhelmed. Sometimes it’s hard to find the guitar chords for traditional hymns so I’ve been leaning toward more contemporary songs. Now, I’d have to look for the chords and see how hard they were. I started to respond in an email that I was feeling a little overwhelmed. But I got a nudge. I checked one of my songbooks with chords and found the hymn there. The chords were easy! No problem.
Yesterday, I was praying. I started by giving thanks for the blessings of my life. I suddenly realized that with all the blessings – David, retirement, security, and relatively good health – I realized that preparing and leading music at church for a while is the least I can do. This is a temporary situation. Life is temporary. I can do this ministry with love and gratitude.
Animals act wild when overwhelmed by fear or maybe hunger. They act on instinct to protect themselves. The same thing can happen with us humans. We get anxious or confused. I think, this is too much. It’s not going to work. My stomach tightens and not in a good way. But if I take a deep breath, pray, and get more information, things work out. I also want to remember that most things are not life and death situations, except when they really are.
Here are some old and new photos:
I can’t get the “Eagles Wings” song chorus out of my head and that’s okay.
It goes like (this with God saying):
And I will raise you up on eagles wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of my hand.
Here’s our choir singing it a few years ago with Chris playing the organ.
Update: Chris passed away this morning. I’m very sad, but thankful he did not suffer long.
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Waylon Saunders was found face down in an icy swimming pool. His body temperature was so low, paramedics couldn’t get a reading. When he arrived at the hospital, he had no pulse and was “legally dead and had been for a while.” But a team at Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital in Ontario performed CPR for 3 hours without stopping while warming his body. After almost three hours, Waylon’s heart restarted. Here’s more from The Good News Network.
In Dublin, New York and California, cities that closed streets to cars in favor of pedestrians during the pandemic are keeping the streets car free. Here’s more from GoodGoodGood.
Former Poachers are Protecting Sea Turtles in the Philippines
As a child, Johnny Manlugay didn’t know killing sea turtles and collecting their eggs was illegal. Now he’s using his former poaching skills to help protect endangered turtles. You can read about how it works HERE.
Turkish Firefighter Rescues and Adopts Cat
After a firefighter rescued a cat who’d been trapped in rubble for ten days, the cat would not leave his side. Watch this short, sweet video!
A San Francisco non-profit is sending thousands of solar lamps to Ukraine where the war leaves millions of people without electricity. The lanterns produce 50 hours of light on one solar charge and have a USB port. This ABC affiliate has details.
Author gets Overwhelming Community Support after his Black History Appearances were Cancelled.
After his Black History Month appearances were cancelled by Alabama schools, author Derrick Barns received overwhelming support from community members who raised money and organized books drives to donate his positive books. Here’s more from Atlanta Black Star.
Teenager Joseph Salmon and several strangers saved an 83-year-old man and his dog after the man’s car fell through the ice in Iowa. The first video shows the rescue and the second is an interview with Joseph.
Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “starts with pro.” Find a word that starts with “pro” and use it any way you like in your post. Enjoy!
The first thing that popped into my head was pro-life. Then, Oh, no. You better be careful with that, especially if you’re going to be writing stream of consciousness style.
Maybe I should just get this out of the way and then change the subject. This is something I have strong feelings about:
If you’re going to call yourself, “pro-life,” then please be pro-life. Try not to harm things that are ALIVE.
If you’re going to call yourself, “pro-life,” at least try to be a vegetarian or vegan. Don’t use pesticides much, especially outside. Don’t buy poinsettias during Christmas time and then just throw them in the trash when Christmas is over if they still have LIFE.
If you’re going to call yourself, “pro-life,” then don’t support the death penalty. Don’t support war.
If you’re going to call yourself, “pro-life,” then help babies and children stay alive even after they are born.
If you’re going to call yourself, “pro-life,” then work to support all life on this precious gift of planet Earth. Protect forests and oceans from so called, “development,” which destroys the lives and habitats of so many plants and animals. Support renovation of existing buildings and build green.
The list goes on. Pro-life, means in favor of and in support of LIFE.
Well, I haven’t changed the subject yet. I’m not sure if I’m even going to publish this as it is so controversial. But it’s something that really irks me. If someone calls themselves pro-life, and they truly are pro-life and not just pro-human birth, then we could probably be friends, even if we don’t agree 100% on everything. I could respect them for being honest. For Life’s sake.
Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “heart.” Use it any way you like. Have fun!
I’m almost finished reading Glennon Doyle’s book, Untamed, which I think was recommended by Laura at https://riddlefromthemiddle.com/ (Correct me if I’m wrong, Laura.) It’s been a while since I am probably the slowest reader in bloglandia. The book has lots of gems about relationships with self and others and being true to ourselves. A couple nights ago, I read about purpose. She wrote that whatever breaks your heart, that is where your purpose lies. (I’m paraphrasing from memory.)
She listed my heartbreakers in her examples: animal cruelty and environment. This doesn’t mean I have to save every animal and the planet as I had hoped from the idealism of adolescence. Anything is possible, but we can at least do our part in our own little corner of the planet to heal what breaks our hearts.
If another person breaks our hearts, finding our bigger purpose helps along with crying and pampering ourselves. Small steps, small tasks of healing are okay. Because we have to take care of ourselves, too.
“Follow your heart but take your brain with you,” is a quote in my short book about finding a healthy relationship. (See sidebar) We need both heart and brain to make good decisions.
(I wrote the above yesterday afternoon, thinking maybe that was it for this SoCS. Good enough.)
A few hours later, I watched PBS news about the earthquake in Syria and Turkey that has killed many thousands of people. (23,000 people.) I watched a father crying, heartbroken, at the death of his child. He said they were used to missiles from planes – acts of war, but this was an act of God.
I don’t believe God would do this. But I don’t really know. Would God allow this to happen? An age-old question. There are heartbreaks we can do little about. But we can, at the very least, pray. Watching the father crying for his lost child, I wanted to put my arms around him and prayed for angels to hold him in his grief which cannot be removed, but maybe can be softened a tiny bit.
We have natural endorphins in our bodies that help reduce pain. Our physical pain would be worse without those natural endorphins that go away if replaced repeatedly with synthetic drugs/opiates which may then lead to withdrawal. Maybe if the angels didn’t hold us in our grief, the emotional pain would be worse. It’s bad enough that we have earthquakes and floods. Humans need to stop killing each other.
Sigh. What can we do? Our part is all. Do small things with great love, like Mother Teresa said. Be kind. Pray for the wounded and grieving. Thank the angels.
At Blueberry Lane Farm Animal Sanctuary, I don’t do much. Just cut up produce for Thursday lunch and feed it to the pigs and chickens. Then I go hang out with the old lady goats. This past week, I also went on Monday since some volunteers were out of town. Seeing me twice in one week, the old lady goats, Esther and Delilah, came to me on Thursday, wanting me to brush them and pet them, even after they knew I didn’t have any more carrots. Delilah has never done that before. So, I sat between them and brushed them and pet them which turned into giving them mini massages…. with great love.
I don’t know why this picture of Esther and Delilah got so small. I don’t remember cropping it.
Please clickon the picture to see the sweet old goats.
“Researchers working with Niger’s health ministry say they have managed to more than halve the number of women who bleed to death after giving birth in health facilities.” BBC News has details.
Washington Is Making Buses Free Forever
The Washington DC council decided to make public buses permanently free to ride starting this summer. The council also agreed to expand bus service to 24 hours on 12 major routes downtown. Fortune has details HERE.
Wind and Solar supplied more EU electricity than any other power source in 2022.
For the first time, wind and solar power combined supplied more electricity for the EU than any other power source in 2022. Contributing factors included Russia’s restrictions on energy exports and dips in available hydro and nuclear power. “Around 83% (of the hydro/nuclear) gap was met by wind and solar generation – and a fall in electricity demand. CarbonBrief has additional details.
Paper-Thin, Light Weight Solar Cells are on the Way
Researchers at MIT are developing paper-thin, lightweight solar cells. Each sheet can generate 370 watts/kg. Take a look:
Bonus Video: Biologists Make Human Chain to Guide Dolphin
Biologist formed a human chain to guide a dolphin out of creek to a canal to leading to the ocean.
Got Good News?
I know today’s video was more intellectual than my usual closing videos.
The video originally planned for today went to next week’s draft
where I’m collecting stories about different kinds of love for February 14th.
Then I remembered the dolphin video. Enjoy!
Feel free to share a link about your good news in the comments!
Today’s prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “throw in the towel.” Use the phrase “throw in the towel” somewhere in your post. Enjoy!
To “throw in the towel” means to quit something, maybe give up on something, after having worked on it for a while. Where does this phrase come from? Is it a football term? Don’t those football guys carry towels around? lol. I’m not a big fan of football. Maybe that’s un-American to some folks. Okay, the sport itself is okay I guess, okay. Stop saying okay. But I never really got the huge national extravagant $$$ part of it. But I didn’t really want to go there.
In general, where does one throw the towel? In the laundry basket? If a towel is dirty, then you should throw it in. That brings me back to what I really wanted to write about, and that is that sometimes it’s okay to quit. If something is not healthy, if it’s not working, and you’ve tried to the point of insanity or toxicity, and the fate of the world does not depend on your endeavor, then throw in the towel.
As a side note, resting or taking a break is not the same as quitting. I made a meme for that a while ago.
But sometimes, you just need to throw in the towel. About a week ago, I made the decision to throw in the towel on Amazon Prime which I got for the sole purpose of watching The Rings of Power. This was not an easy decision, because I am a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings (like some people are huge fans of football.) I can watch those movies, and The Hobbit movies over and over again, usually while doing stuff on the computer and stopping to watch when my favorite parts come on, like the parts with the elves.
After much consideration, including the cost of Amazon Prime and that I still want to watch Season 2 of Picard and Star Trek, Strange New Worlds on Paramount which costs less by the way, I decided that The Rings of Power was too dark for me. There were some characters I liked okay, but the orcs seemed a lot scarier, and the series just felt continually heavy. The final decision was the episode (still in season 1) where things happen to horses. I will not go into details (except to say there is fire involved), and I know it’s just a movie and those things didn’t really happen to the horses, but when you love animals and have a good imagination, it can be traumatic. And sometimes horses do get hurt on movie sets. So there. It’s done. There are plenty of other things to watch and books to read, and when the old LOTR and Hobbit movies come on cable, I’ll watch them again.
I had to look up the origin of throwing in the towel. It comes from boxing. The trainer throws in the towel to save his boxer when it is clear he’s not going to win. That way, he can live to fight another day, which brings us back to the idea that it’s okay to take a break and rest a while before going back into the ring of life.
And now, a message from Gandalf.
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US death rates from cancer have decreased by 33% since 1991 according to a recent report from the American Cancer Society. The decrease is attributed to early detection, treatment improvements, decrease in smoking, and the HPV vaccine. Here’s more from CNN.
Man Who Helped Disabled People Find Houses Wins a House
What goes around, comes around, and sometimes karma works within a person’s lifetime. Such is the case for Grant Carson who spent 27 years helping disabled people in Glasgow find homes and who recently won a £2.5million country house in a charity raffle. The Good News Network has details.
Town Opens Community Center Where a Factory Used to Pollute a Black Neighborhood
For years, Ruth Reed and Mary Sue Rich worked to shut down a charcoal plant that polluted the air over Black homes in Florida. Finally, in 2018, after the city bought the property, “…Mrs. Reed sat on top of a Yellow Cat excavator and knocked the first wall of that charcoal plant down.” Earlier this month, the community celebrated the opening of the Mary Sue Rich Community Center at Reed Place on the site now containing a gymnasium, a branch library, a gathering place for seniors, a banquet hall and meeting rooms. NPR has the story.
Stopping Traffic for a Crossing Koala
Will Thorton was sitting on his balcony in Queensland, Australia when he saw a koala bear trying to cross a busy highway, so he rushed out barefoot to stop traffic to help the koala cross the road.
Got Good News?
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Today’s prompt for #JusJoJan the 14th and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “once upon a time.” Start your post with “Once upon a time,” then write whatever comes to you, whether it be fact or fiction. Have fun!
Once upon a time we didn’t have phones. Or even TVs. Computers were barely imaginable by the average person. In the 1960s, we had a party line and a phone that sat on a table with a chord. We knew the important numbers by heart. There were three TV stations in black and white. And we thought it was pretty cool.
Lassie and Captain Kangaroo were my favorite shows when I was barely walking and later in kindergarten. Except in kindergarten when we were stationed on the Argentia Naval Base in Newfoundland, Canada. There was only one TV station, and a lot of French was spoken. When my dad got orders to go to Artentia (pronounced Argencia) mom thought he said Argentina. For a city girl from Washington DC, my mom found Newfoundland remote, a bit boring, and of course, cold.
Cold reminds me of the “Cold War” that was going on then. It seemed like everyone was talking about The Russians. I must have picked up on the tension and said, “I hate the Russians.” My dad stopped what he was doing, probably spit polishing his boots, and said, “Honey, you shouldn’t hate the Russians. You should feel sorry for them.”
That was one of the things my dad said that stuck with me. Like “Nothing is impossible” when I was 13.
Don’t hate. and Anything is possible.
Well, mom made the best of being in the frozen wilderness by making friends with the other military wives. The men used to play pinocle. I remember going sledding down a hill out back and that there were wolves howling at night. We used to go on picnics and go out to see the blue icebergs. I would have appreciated the remote location more if I had been older.
Stepping out of the stream, or maybe the stream took me there, I looked up Argentia to make sure I was spelling it right. The base was decommissioned in 1973 and the land returned to the Canadian/Newfoundland government.
One of my favorite photos of that time and place was this picnic photo. I’m wearing saddle shoes.
Mom must be wearing Dad’s jacket. Probably a Marine Corps jacket of some kind because it’s red. But that’s just a guess. We went on a lot of family picnics when I was a kid. Why don’t we do that anymore? I wonder what lead me to write about this time and place which I tend to romanticize. These are some of my earliest memories.
And then there’s this nostalgic Moody Blues song and video about remembering an old romance.
More recent memories include the residents of Blueberry Lane Farm Animal Sanctuary where I prepare and serve lunch on Thursdays. Jake, the sheep had a peculiar way of smelling something interesting in the air. Once upon a time, most of these animals were abused or neglected. Now they are living their best lives. Ed, the big rooster in the third gallery picture, had been confined at county animal services (near barking dogs) and had attacked a woman to the point of her needing hospital care. Now, Ed has learned he can trust Debbie and the caretakers at the sanctuary.
Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by author, Linda G. Hill.