Archive for December, 2008

The Hero of Canton* Is Made of Happy

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Here’s the thing. I know images are powerful and having one here would grab more readers. But I hope this article can stand on its own. It’s a good one.

IN the weeks just before Christmas of 1933 — 75 years ago — a mysterious offer appeared in The Repository, the daily newspaper here. It was addressed to all who were suffering in that other winter of discontent known as the Great Depression. The bleakest of holiday seasons was upon them, and the offer promised modest relief to those willing to write in and speak of their struggles. In return, the donor, a “Mr. B. Virdot,” pledged to provide a check to the neediest to tide them over the holidays.

The writer found out who the mysterious benefactor was, through a case of papers he got from his mother. It was his grandfather. The case was full of letters from people.

A lot of people wrote him letters asking for help. 75 people received money from this mystery man. They also wrote him thank you letters. Here is one of them.

A father wrote: “It was put to good use paying for two pairs of shoes for my girls and other little necessities. I hope some day I have the pleasure of knowing to whom we are indebted for this very generous gift.”

That was from George W. Monnot, who had once owned a successful Ford dealership but whose reluctance to lay off his salesmen hastened his own financial collapse, his granddaughter told me.

He also acted in other instances to help people.

His yuletide gift was not to be his only such gesture. In the same black suitcase were receipts hinting at other anonymous acts of kindness. The year before the United States entered World War II, for instance, he sent hundreds of wool overcoats to British soldiers. In the pocket of each was a handwritten note, unsigned, urging them not to give in to despair and expressing America’s support.

Like many in his generation, my grandfather believed in hard work, and disdained handouts. In 1981, at age 93, he died driving himself to the office, crashing while trying to beat a rising drawbridge. But he could never ignore the brutal reality of times when work was simply not to be had and self-reliance reached its limits. He sought no credit for acts of conscience. He saw them as the debt we owe one another and ourselves.

via Op-Ed Contributor – Hard Times, a Helping Hand –

Thank you, Ted Gup, for writing this editorial about your grandfather. May his memory live on through the legacy of the people who were helped by him, and who also turn around to help others in need. These are hard times, but this is when we should most think to reach out to help others in greater need. Thank you for this reminder and thank you for such an inspiring tale.

*Note: I assume we nerds can unite on this little reference here. Oh, yeah, the guy is from Canton, Ohio. 🙂

1000 Awesome Things Website Is Made of 1000 Happy Awesomes

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Man, one of the best things about starting this blog is learning about other people’s cool blogs, the kind of blogs that brighten up my day. Another great thing is constructing ill-conceived, grammatically incorrect/inane titles that make no sense. 🙂

Here are some of my favorite awesome things from 1000 Awesome Things:

If you couldn’t tell, I am going through their list in order from 1000 to 1. I am not even going to post any more links here because I don’t want to ruin my own sense of happy discovery as I go through this list. Hee.

Thanks to the little bro for this awesome link!

Toddler Leading Parade Celebration Is Made of Happy

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

This video was taken during the Philadelphia Phillies World Series Parade. If you are from Philly, you’ve probably already seen it. 😀 From the YouTube description:

We snuck out into the middle of Broad Street to snap a pic in front of City Hall and all the crowds. When Will raised his hands for the picture, cheers erupted. So he continued to repeat the gesture, getting wild response from the crowd on both sides of the street up and down the street as far as we could see. We couldn’t have planned this if we practiced and practiced. I wish the video was longer.

I, for one, welcome our new toddler overlords. 😉 How big is Will?! Heh.

On an administrative note, I have no idea why embedded content is stripped from the MoH feeds. I will try to get this fixed ASAP. Thanks for the patience! 🙂

Cute Pillow and Cute Sig Are Made of Happy

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

This is the cutest thing I’ve seen all day.

My Tofus!!!!!!! by
MY TOFUS!!!!!!! by
♥Mochi-Chan♥ (。◕‿‿◕。).

via Flickr.

I’m kind of astounded by how cute the photographer’s username is.

Leaving Grad School Is Made of Happy

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

Ok, I’m joking about the title. 🙂 I stumbled upon a user on YouTube who took part in a challenge called Project For Awesome by Nerdfighters, which could only be made of awesome and perfect for this blog, so I naturally had to check it out.

There are a ton of Project for Awesome videos worth checking out, by the way.

The video I selected was one of the first ones I stumbled on. I have a lot of conflicted feelings on the nature & method of charity work abroad and particularly in the framing of the relationship between a first world nation and a third world nation (I don’t want to get political on this site, so please email me at if you want to discuss this), but regardless of how I feel about any specific methods, I admire Sean’s conviction in deciding to change the course of his life by leaving grad school so that he can make a difference in other people’s lives. I have been looking for the full length video for the lecture that Dr. Jeffrey Sachs gave that Sean says inspired him, so if you know where I can find it, please leave me a comment. Thanks!

The Nerdfighters, Project for Awesome and Sean & his Uncultured Project are all made of happy and I am glad to have found them.

Another Old Couple Still In Love Is Also Made of Happy

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

Ok, so my titles are not so great. 🙂 This is just about a minute and a half long, and recounts this couple’s very first date. What I love best is hearing the obvious affection in the voices of the two people, for both the memory of the person they met, and the person who is with them now.

Bernice and Ben

Bernice and Ben

“Hank had a girlfriend, Eddie had a girlfriend, I had no girlfriend…”
Ben Finn, 82, and his wife, Bernice Finn, 79, remember meeting on a blind date in 1946.

Recorded in New York, NY

via Bernice Finn and her husband Ben | StoryCorps.

By the way, I am really enjoying StoryCorps. In many ways, it’s like 1-2 minutes of This American Life, the Lite version.

Retired WWII Veterans Who Make Toys For Children In War-Torn Countries Are Definitely Made of Happy

Friday, December 19th, 2008

I’m sorry my title is so long. But man, are these folks awesome or what?! 

“Toys for God’s Kids” is a non-profit organization that makes wooden toys, and sends them to children around the world.

To date, the group has made 148,000 toys and sent them to places like Afghanistan, Kenya and Colombia. U.S. soldiers also hand out the toys to kids in Iraq.

The Holly Creek Woodworkers, as they’re called, are mostly made up of World War II veterans, who know the dangers and consequences of war. They all live at the Holly Creek Retirement Community.

via Oct. 12, 2008: Holly Creek Woodworkers Make And Ship Toys To Children In War-Torn Nations – 7 Everyday Hero News Story – KMGH Denver.

The linked article has more information, as well as a little video of them making the toys. I am totally choked up. 

As an aside, I have to say that starting this blog has been so great for me. I feel like my faith in my fellow human beings has truly been renewed. There are so many good people out there.

Sleepy Puppy Is Made of Happy

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Sleepy Puppy, by basykes
Sleepy Puppy by basykes.

I don’t know what it is about seeing sleeping baby animals, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that they make me extremely happy. Just watching them nod off fills me with a sense of tranquility and contentment. It also… makes… *yaaaaaaaawn* me… very slee… zzzzzzzzz

Sears Watching Out For Its Deployed Employees Is Made of Happy

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Sears’ stock is down more than 60% this year. They’ve been suffering like every other business in this economy. Despite that, they do something that is nothing short of amazing: for their employees who are deployed, they pay out of pocket to keep the employee’s family insured and pay out the difference between the military pay and their Sears’ job pay. And they can come back to their jobs when they come back from their deployment. Some of them even get bonuses and merit-based raises while deployed!

This apparently costs them $10 million a year. But they promise to keep this benefit going. Wow.

Sears, your generosity and dedication to your employees is truly astounding. You are made of happy. And so are your employees and their families. Thank you!

And I found this news via Happy News, a site that specializes in, well, happy news. 🙂

The Giving Tree Is Made of Happy

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

Originally, this post was going to be on Shel Silverstein‘s book, The Giving Tree. I may still post something on that later, but I found this amazing gem on YouTube.

According to the description with the video:

there’s a new book forest on the streets of berlin. it’s a place where people can leave and find old books.

It’s such a beautiful idea. That it hasn’t been vandalized makes me think that I need to have more faith in the goodness of people. And that’s something this blog is about, so I’m glad I saw this.

Berliners are made of happy! And literacy & community, apparently. 😀