Saturday, 12 October 2013

Saturday Stories

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Saturday . . . the end of the week. Most people's first of a two day off weekend. Time to relax and do not a lot if anything at all. Time to have a bit of a lie in, extra kip, an indulgent breakfast, and to catch up on all of the news of the previous week.  I think a little good news helps to cheer anyone's day!

Here are my Saturday Stories for October 12th, 2013.

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According to the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board, the average person who lives to 80 will spend 13.4 years watching television.  That's a lot of time spent on your bum, but is it all bad?  Not really, research has shown that . . .

  • children who watched only socially conscious programmes such as Sesame Street were more disposed to helping others than those who watched a wider variety of shows.
  •  a study at the University of Rochester, New York, found that people who viewed nature scenes were more likely to give money to a good cause afterwards than people who looked at urban settings.
  •  in a large-scale survey, 55% of 18-24 year-olds said they learned about politics from legal and government-themed dramas.
  • It can also raise awareness of health and social issues.  (When Sally Webster discovered her Breast Cancer (Coronation Street) the incidence of women attending Breast Clinice increased and so did the numbers of women attending their physicians after doing self examinations, etc.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  It's still not a good reason to spend most of your time sitting on your bum though.  It's also been shown that people who spend six hours in front of the boob tube each day also shorten their lives by 4.8 years.

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Thousands of workers sent home, cancer patients denied new drugs and weddings postponed. But the way some individuals have responded to chunks of the US government closing down has lifted the spirits, says Tom Geoghegan. The sight of Chris Cox pushing a lawnmower across Washington's National Mall, a chainsaw hanging from it, was one that warmed the heart of many. "If they shut down our memorials, we're still going to take the trash out, we're going to clean the windows, we're going to cut the grass, we're going to pull the weeds, we're going to do the tree work,'' he told a Washington radio station. Cox, who made the trip from South Carolina and was carrying the state flag, says his "memorial militia" crusade was non-political, merely an attempt to keep the area between the Lincoln and World War II memorials tidy before thousands of veterans are due to attend an event on Sunday.

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Flying instructors in Britain told a passenger over the radio how to land a plane after the pilot of a small aircraft collapsed and died at the controls. Rory Murray, one of two instructors who guided the four-seater Cessna 172 onto the ground on Tuesday, told the BBC that the passenger had done a “remarkable job.”

On the downside, the thought of a pilot dying at the controls of an aircraft he is flying kind of scares me.

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Giving is not about riches. Many people, who are wealthy with millions, if not billions, of dollars in bank accounts, use their money for themselves only.  Reaching out to the needy in society, whether within our boundaries or assisting in far fledged countries, is a special calling but also one that ordinary people can get behind.  Here are the 10 most Philanthropic Celebrities as selected by "Why I give.".
  1. Matt Damon - This actor, writer, producer has been recognized for his tireless efforts in the campaign aimed at stopping the Darfur war. He is also the co-founder of to address the water crisis in Africa. Damon is also a board member of Tonic Mailstopper whose work is to try and stop the flow of junk mail and reduce the cutting of trees. He has supported the One Campaign in the fight against AIDS and poverty and became an ambassador of ONEXONE to improve the lives of children in Canada, the United States and around the world.
  2. Oprah Winfrey -  Rated as the most philanthropic African-American personality, Oprah's successful life has been an inspiration and help to many. She has given millions of dollars in her philanthropic work. Oprah's Angel Network has encouraged ordinary people to help make a huge difference for people in need, including hurricane victims.
  3. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie -  This superstar couple has been involved in building new homes for residents of New Orleans who were displaced by hurricane Katrina. Through Pitt's Make It Right Foundation they have immensely contributed towards the reconstruction of New Orleans.  Angelina has also been involved in assisting and advocating for the needy in society as a goodwill ambassador of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
  4. Ben Affleck -  Affleck has put his best foot forward by tackling the humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was involved with the United Nations in the release of a film that highlighted the refugees problems in DRC.
  5. Alicia Keys -  this singer songwriter has inspired American youth to achieve success. Keys is also the ambassador for Keep A Child Alive and has traveled to countries such as Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa, speaking to teens and young adults who have lost their parents to AIDS and are now the heads of their households.  
  6. Madonna - her Raising Malawi foundation also provides water, food, schooling amenities and medical care in Malawi for hundreds of the country's orphans.
  7. Michael J Fox -  Fox has vigorously supported research for Parkinson's disease. Through the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research he has raised over $100 million to date.
  8. Sir Elton John -  His vast wealth has been used to support the fight against AIDS in the world. Through the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which he founded in 1992, he has raised more than $125 million to support programs in the world.
  9. Bono -  Bono's RED campaign and charity concerts have advanced the alleviation of poverty and debt in third world countries. His calls for debt relief and AIDS awareness campaigns have benefitted  millions and boosted groups such as Greenpeace and Amnesty International.
  10. Jackie Chan -  Chan has been actively involved in helping youngsters who are at risk in Hong Kong. He also made a huge donation to UNICEF for tsunami relief in 2004. He also donates money to the Chrysalis, a non-profit in Los Angeles assisting the homeless.
I thought I had read somewhere at one time that Bill Gates was also one of the world's greatest philanthropists.  Correct me if I am wrong!

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John and Ann Betar of Connecticut have just been named the longest married couple in the U.S.! He's 101 and she's 97, and have been married 80 years.  Don't they just bring a smile to your face?

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 He may be worth billions but he is also one of the best employers in the world.  I'm talking about Richard Branson, the owner/head of Virgin.  Mr. Branson also hosts an annual summer party for all Virgin employees at his country home outside London. This year the party lasted seven days, and more than 25,000 employees and family members attended. Nearly all were greeted at the door by Mr. Branson, who is likely to be the first in the swimming pool.  This is a photograph that one of my friends, whose husband drives a train for Virgin, took at his most recent annual summer party.   Oh, that most employers were as good to their employees.  It does the heart good to see hard work appreciated in such a way!

And that's it for this week.  I hope you enjoyed some of what I have shared.  It's nice to know that not all news is bad news.

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A thought to carry with you through today . . .

"You're going to ruffle some feathers
if you want to fly, it's inevitable.
It is impossible to please everybody.
It's far better to meet your own expectations
and let someone else down
than to let yourself down
to meet someone else's expectations.
If you're serious about success
knowing this will help you get there."
~Jackson Kiddard  

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Baking in The English Kitchen.  If you only bake one cake this year, let it be this fabulous Sticky Ginger and Prune Cake.  It's fabulous!

Have a great weekend, and Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian family and friends!

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