Looking for a good deed of the day?

Looking to feel a bit better about yourself?

Looking to justify the countless hours you’ve spent on the computer with a bit of selflessness?

Or maybe you just want to give back.

If any one of those statements applies to you, I suggest you follow this link to the Greater Good Network where, with just a click of the mouse, and no cost to you, you can:

a. Sponsor a donation of food to help stop world hunger

b. Sponsor a donation of funds for free mammograms to find and treat the earliest symptoms of breast cancer

c. Sponsor the donation of food and care for rescued animals

d. Help provide free meals to down and out veterans

e. Sponsor the donation of free therapy for children with autism

f. Help provide children in need with proper healthcare

g. Fight illiteracy by sponsoring the donation of free books

h. Help protect wildlife habitats

i. All of the above

 

And all it takes from you is a simple mouse click. No costs, no signing up for anything, no strings attached.

While you’re there, feel free to sign any number of petitions that are also helping to make our world a better place.

Who knew giving back could be so simple?

And for those on the go, don’t fret– There’s an app for that.

 

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UK does Jersey Shore

As a follow-up to my last post,  Jersey Shore: How Wilde!, I received an email from a fellow blogger who informed me that if I want to see more crazy Jersey-Shore-esque shenanigans with British accents, I need look no further than UK television. In fact, MTV UK is launching Geordie Shore, a Jersey Shore spin-off, next month. Take a look at this video from newsy.com. Same ridiculous dialogue (and characters) as the original, but now with British accents.

I find the fact that Britain is making their own Jersey Shore especially interesting after having had studied abroad there last year. One night, as my flatmates and I sat around watching television, there was a commercial that came on for a bunch of American reality shows that have apparently made the hop across the pond. I believe the shows were The Hills (or one of those thousands of spin-offs) and the Jersey Shore itself. The commercial proclaimed them as something like “real America,” a thought that absolutely horrified me.

I understand that the British, even world perception of America isn’t exactly the most positive. I can even understand it in many cases. Therefore, I was appalled to find out that many of these negative opinions were based around “reality” television shows and their lack of actual “reality.”

Now, however, it seems like the tables have turned. I’m surprised about Geordie Shore, but in a way it’s a comfort to know that we’re not the only country who enjoy watching our citizens make fools of themselves in front of millions of people. I guess we all have guilty pleasures, let’s just hope stupidity isn’t contagious.

So what do you think? Will Geordie Shore be as ridiculous as its predecessor? Will it be as big of a hit? Or does none of this actually matter, and am I being a bit too harsh?

Stumbled Upon: History of Science Fiction

I love all sorts of literature, but sci-fi/fantasy holds a special place in my heart– and apparently I’m not the only one. Artist Ward Shelley has put together a lovely and elaborate Mapped History of Science Fiction. Including films and books alike, the complexity of the map displays the devotion of a true fan. While I’ve included the picture below, an enlarged photo is necessary to get the full effect. Just something I stumbled upon and thought I would share– Enjoy!

Making History Hardcore

Sifting through my daily tumblr dashboard, I came across what appeared to be a really interesting advertising campaign by the Smithsonian Museum. Upon further research, it turns out that these posters/ads were actually created by a former student, Jenny Burrows, for a class project. The ads, which followed the campaign theme of “Historically Hardcore” soon went viral and people around the web were sharing the images. After all the attention they received, Burrows was actually asked to remove any mention of the Smithsonian museum. Despite the small revision, the ads remain up and are quite interesting and fun. It seems to me that if the Smithsonian doesn’t want the campaign, some other museum should scoop it up. With the theme “Historically Hardcore,” these posters would be a great way to reach out to an audience that doesn’t typically look to museums as a source of entertainment. Plus, history is pretty hardcore when you think about it.

Tell me what you think! And be sure to check out more work by Burrows here.

Saving ‘Snollygoster’

Snollygoster

[snol-ee-gos-ter] n. Slang

One, especially a politician, who is guided by personal advantage rather than by consistent, respectable principles.

Origin:
1855–60;  origin uncertain; Perhaps alteration of snallygaster, a mythical beast said to prey on poultry and children

It’s a silly sounding word, certainly, but it’s my silly sounding word. Let me back track a bit and explain.

Today I came across a website called Save the Words. The site, powered by Oxford Dictionaries, states its mission as such:

Each year, hundreds of words are dropped the English language.

Old words, wise words, hard-working words. Words that once led meaningful lives but now lie unused, unloved and unwanted.

Today, 90% of what we write is communicated by only 7,000 words!

If not for yourself, then for generations yet to come. Now, you may ask, “What have future generations done for us lately?”

Well, not much. But one day they’ll be grateful. You never know, they may even have a word or two to say about you.

If you love words as much as we do, find room for them again in conversations and written communication. Each time you use one of these words, you are keeping it alive in the English language.

And so I went on the website, clicked around, and found this magnificent sounding word: Snollygoster. Not only is it fun to say, but I’ve already thought of plenty applications in relation to our ever-flawed government (but that’s a discussion for another day).

I highly encourage others to go and adopt a word. With plenty to pick from, I love the idea of helping to keep a word “alive.” The English language is so rich; it’s a shame we don’t take fool advantage of it. They even email you a adoption certificate and offer the chance to purchase your very own word-shirt. I mean, how more official can it get?

Stumbled Upon: “Porphyria’s Lover”

Growing up in a family like mine, a love of literature was engrained in me from a young age. Therefore, despite a Comm Major and Psych Minor, I’ve filled my course electives with Literature classes (I was supposed to fulfill a Lit Minor as well, but due to a misunderstanding, this unfortunately fell through). My current Lit class, that I’ve been thoroughly enjoying, is a British Literature Course. We read a variety of work, and my greatest regret is that we lack the proper amount of time to really dive into some of the pieces. Today, however, I was thankful that we spent the majority of the class discussing a new favorite poem of mine.

While best known in his day for being the husband of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning has since cultivated a large following. His poems often feature a dramatic monologue and psychologically jarring scenes. The poem “Porphyria’s Lover” (1843) is a perfect example of his masterful techniques.

While the subject of “Porphyria’s Lover” is morbid and disturbing, I found this work to be incomparably interesting. My mind raced with backstories and explanations. Our class discussion focused on identifying motive and answering the ever-present: “Why?”

If you haven’t read the poem, you haven’t the slightest idea of what I’m talking about right now. Therefore, I’ve decided to share the poem as just a little something I’ve “stumbled upon.” I’d love to hear other people’s to this psychological thriller of a poem.


 

Porphyria’s Lover

Robert Browning

THE rain set early in to-night,
The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
And did its worst to vex the lake:
I listen’d with heart fit to break. 5
When glided in Porphyria; straight
She shut the cold out and the storm,
And kneel’d and made the cheerless grate
Blaze up, and all the cottage warm;
Which done, she rose, and from her form 10
Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl,
And laid her soil’d gloves by, untied
Her hat and let the damp hair fall,
And, last, she sat down by my side
And call’d me. When no voice replied, 15
She put my arm about her waist,
And made her smooth white shoulder bare,
And all her yellow hair displaced,
And, stooping, made my cheek lie there,
And spread, o’er all, her yellow hair, 20
Murmuring how she loved me—she
Too weak, for all her heart’s endeavour,
To set its struggling passion free
From pride, and vainer ties dissever,
And give herself to me for ever. 25
But passion sometimes would prevail,
Nor could to-night’s gay feast restrain
A sudden thought of one so pale
For love of her, and all in vain:
So, she was come through wind and rain. 30
Be sure I look’d up at her eyes
Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshipp’d me; surprise
Made my heart swell, and still it grew
While I debated what to do. 35
That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and all her hair
In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around, 40
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain.
As a shut bud that holds a bee,
I warily oped her lids: again
Laugh’d the blue eyes without a stain. 45
And I untighten’d next the tress
About her neck; her cheek once more
Blush’d bright beneath my burning kiss:
I propp’d her head up as before,
Only, this time my shoulder bore 50
Her head, which droops upon it still:
The smiling rosy little head,
So glad it has its utmost will,
That all it scorn’d at once is fled,
And I, its love, am gain’d instead! 55
Porphyria’s love: she guess’d not how
Her darling one wish would be heard.
And thus we sit together now,
And all night long we have not stirr’d,
And yet God has not said a word! 60

Social media gives animals a voice

I’m the person that has to change the channel when the ASPCA commercials come on. You know the ones–  heartbreaking photos of downcast animals pass across the screen as you find yourself being serenaded by a sad Faith Hill song. The few times I’m managed to get through these ads, I’ve found myself with wet cheeks and a sniffly nose. The humane treatment of animals, as well as shelter-adoption are two issues I feel particularly strong about. Both of my own dogs came from the local shelter, and for the past few years I’ve been volunteering at an animal shelter near my school.

I came across an article today regarding the impact social media is having on pet adoption. In particular, two Nevada animal shelters have taken to the web in an effort to give their animals a voice (of sorts).

At the Nevada Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Doug Duke has instituted an interesting use of online communities. Despite a small staff, limited budget, and overflow of animals, Duke has taken to posting about the  adoptees on the organizations blog, tweeting about/from the animals, and even posting biographies to Facebook. Duke notes that every animals at the shelter has a history, and it’s important for potential pet owners to learn this back story:

“The posts require disclosing the animals’ flaws, such as not being good with children or other pets, but that information helps potential adopters find an animal with the right personality so it can join what Duke calls a ‘forever home.'”

Perhaps Duke’s most unique use of social media is features heartbreaking and adorable messages from the ‘pets’ themselves.

A cat named Princess Ashlyn took to Facebook to post some of her latest pictures alongside the caption: “I will be sure to let you know how much I love you every day.”

2-year-old Chihuahua, Donna asked: “What is it like to sleep in a bed and have toys to play with?”

And 4-year-old Chachito, also a Chihuahua, got more personal when he mentioned how his previous abandoned him in a crate on the side of the road: “I trusted and loved them, but they threw me away.”

Duke’s creative use of first-person(/animal?) messaging stems from his firm belief that “The last thing anyone wants from an animal charity is to hear a person.” Adopting a pet is a very personal experience. Everything is dependent upon the relationship you forge with your potential new pet. This Nevada shelter is eliminating the middle man, or just the man/woman in general. Duke’s plans seem to be working, with a 5% increase in pet adoption seen over the past year, as well as a dramatic increase in twitter followers and Facebook friends.

Another Nevada shelter has also engaged in social media for their adoption campaign. The Animal Foundation at Lied Animal Shelter has focused on educating people as well as contributing to adoption rates. Once a week, their Facebook page features “Furry Friday”– posting the pet of the week. The organization reports that on average, by the end of the day, that animal has found a home.

The Animal Foundation has also taken to creating profiles for their pets, including Maximus the cat, who needed money for surgery. Through Facebook, the Foundation was able to raise the funds necessary.

The support of the online community for animal shelter adoption is overwhelming. It raises awareness on a whole new platform. Says Duke of the use of social media and its benefits:

“Before, people could donate, volunteer, adopt, foster; now, they can help spread the word…It initially didn’t occur to us that all these people could become warriors for the animals.”

As a sign off for this post, I just want to remind everyone to please think adoption first when looking for a new pet. You could be saving the life of your new best friend.