From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY SURVIVAL

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

Okay, folks. Let’s get real. So far, 2020 has exuded a decidedly apocalyptic vibe. If it starts hailing live frogs and swarms of locusts, we’ll probably just put on our masks, grab our umbrellas, and proceed with our daily quarantine stroll. At this point, not much can phase us. The list below is a reminder that good things ARE still happening, and you don’t have to look far to find them. While you’re stuck inside, you can even pickup a Dunkin’ Donut decorating kit! Enjoy, America. And stay strong.

To start, let’s catch up with some celebs. Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, celebrated baby Archie’s first birthday by sharing this painfully cute story with us, and Princess Charlotte turned 5! Right around Mother’s Day, the gorgeous Lea Michelle officially confirmed she’s going to be a mom, and Anderson Cooper is already making us cry in his first few weeks of fatherhood.


Eric Whitacre – Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 2.0, ‘Sleep’

www.youtube.com

Meanwhile, people haven’t stopped making music together. Modern choral composer Eric Whitacre has invited the world to participate in the 6th edition of his international virtual choir.

A group of high school students also proved you don’t have to be a master composer to make music. When their choral festival was cancelled, they recorded their parts virtually and put together this touching rendition of “Over the Rainbow“.

Fun stuff is happening in the academic world, too. You can listen to Gollum read the Hobbit, or take a look at a map of the MOON that’s finally complete!

But wait, it gets better! Squirrel picnic tables became a thing, plus some more awesome animals who reminded us that, in fact, not *everything* sucks. For example…

Better yet, the good news animal news extends to even the largest of mammals, as Iceland’s whaling boats have now been out of operation for 2 straight seasons.

Now, let’s get to the warm-feely stuff.

  • Lowes donated id=”listicle-2646103968″M of flowers to moms in nursing homes
  • The Cast of Parks and Rec got back together for a reunion episode that raised M for for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Relief Fund—and donations are still pouring in, according to NBC. The episode, which welcomed back Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Jim O’Heir, Rob Lowe, and even Paul Rudd, explored how the characters have been coping with the current pandemic since the show ended in 2015.
  • 13 different restaurants are showing their gratitude for front-line workers with free food!
  • Senior citizens may be at higher risk for complications of Covid-19, but don’t be fooled! They’re tough as nails, and plenty of them are out there kicking coronavirus’s butt!

What good things have happened in your neighborhood lately? Share with us in the comments!

MIGHTY CULTURE

Congressman calls on Marines to relax haircut rules during pandemic

When Marine Corps family members in Maryland reached out to their congressman with concerns about crowded base barber shops, Rep. Jamie Raskin said that — of all the challenges the country faces during the coronavirus pandemic — this was an easy one to solve.

“The people who joined the Marines are protecting us and we have an obligation to protect them,” Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, told Military.com. “[Grooming standards] can be relaxed in a way that does not endanger our national security.”


Raskin, who wrote a letter to Marine Commandant Gen. David Berger on Tuesday, is the latest to question the service’s adherence to strict grooming standards during the global pandemic. A video shared on social media that showed Marines without masks lined up to get their hair cut prompted Defense Secretary Mark Esper to ask, “What don’t you guys understand?”

In his letter, Raskin urged Berger to relax Marine Corps grooming standards temporarily “to protect both Marines and the barbers and hairdressers who serve them.”

Berger has received the letter but wishes to keep private his communication with lawmakers, Maj. Eric Flanagan, the commandant’s spokesman, said.

The commandant has left decisions about relaxing standards to stem the spread of coronavirus up to commanders, but Raskin said the massive health crisis the pandemic presents calls for top-down guidance.

“This calls for precisely the kind of institutional leadership and cohesion that the Marines are famous for,” he said. “The commandant can act here to prevent high-risk situations from materializing.”

I’m asking the @USMC Commandant to temporarily relax grooming standards in the Marine Corps during the COVID19 pandemic to avoid putting Marines base barbers at unnecessary risk of infection. Our fighting forces protect us we must protect them (with no risk to nat. security).pic.twitter.com/meuZG9ToOv

twitter.com

Having Marines wait in lines for haircuts as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in the military ranks is unnecessary, Raskin said. The ongoing public health struggle against coronavirus, he said, requires leaders to help reduce any unneeded close physical contact.

Each of the military services has issued its own guidance on how to enforce grooming standards during the pandemic. The Navy, the service hit hardest by the coronavirus crisis, was the first to give commanders the authority to relax male and female hair-length rules on March 18.

The Air Force also issued guidance last month to commanders about relaxing grooming standards. Soldiers have been told to follow the service’s hair regulations, but not to be overboard with extra cuts to keep it super short during the outbreak.

In his letter, Raskin stressed that it only takes one infected Marine or barber to spread COVID-19. That could lead to a chain reaction of COVID-19 cases in the ranks, he warned.

The congressman acknowledged that military leaders have a lot to consider when it comes to new policies during the unprecedented situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. But if family members are worried about their Marines’ safety, public leaders have an obligation to consider their concerns, he said.

“I hope the commandant can strike the right balance,” Raskin said.

This article originally appeared on Military.com. Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.

MIGHTY MILSPOUSE

Virtual museum tours help you get out of your house when you’re forced to stay inside

With museums and galleries around the world shuttered, it might feel like there’s no way to explore the world. For the military community, this Inside Time can feel even more cloistered, since we can’t get out and explore new areas. Now, thanks to tech, closed doors don’t mean you can’t get your culture fix.

Access the most renowned museums, all from the comfort and safety of your own home.

Digital archives are available for everything from top-notch spots like the Louvre to lesser-known museums, tourist attractions and even graffiti tours. When you’re ready to get outside but can’t leave your house, check out this list.


Start here

If you’re not sure where to start your digital tours, the most comprehensive resource is Google Arts Culture. With access to art in over 2500 museums, GAC offers the chance to “stroll” through museums and gather your thoughts, explore inspiration or just marvel at how painters and sculptors do what they do.

GAC also offers a comprehensive list of tours to the world’s most famous museums, like Florence’s Uffizi Gallery and the Tate Modern in London. If you have a specific museum in mind, you can search for it at the GAC. Or, let the curators lead you on a tour of exciting exhibits, like this one that gives you access to six street-level installations that are no longer open to the public.

Global Tours

Mumbai’s City Museum is the oldest museum in Mumbai. It was initially established as a “treasure house’ for decorative arts. Its current exhibits feature a gallery that explores oppression, freedom, and justice.

The Pergamon Museum in Berlin is one of Germany’s largest museums and is the home to the Greek Pergamon Altar and the Ishtar Gate of Babylon. Online offerings include exploring the Eighth Wonder of the World and a short historical tour of Pergamon.

Contemporary and modern art lovers will enjoy exploring the myriad galleries at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul. Its doors opened in 1969 and have been witness to the blossoming art modern art scene in the region.

Closer to Home

Ever wonder what Americans were wearing in 1790? Now you can take a look, thanks to the digital tours offered at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. The museum also boasts an impressive collection of Vermeer paintings and is home to over forty thousand items, all available for browsing from your screen.

Located inside a park, the Cincinnati Art Museum has a diverse collection of works that span six thousand years. One of the most popular online exhibitions features the myths and heroes of popular legends.

For folks who can’t process any new info but still want to feel like they’re a part of humanity, 24-hour live feeds of highly-popular areas might offer a little sense of normalcy. Check-in on Times Square, take a look at the Eiffel Tower or watch ships navigate the Panama Canal. If you’re into something more celestial, NASA offers a 24-hour live stream from space.

In the time of social distancing, as we’re confined to our homes, we have to explore new ways of expanding our horizons. For families that have made the shift to homeschooling, virtual museum tours can offer you a chance to give your kids access to new words that aren’t available right now.

MIGHTY SURVIVAL

Coronavirus deaths In China surpass level Of SARS in 2002-03

The number of deaths from the coronavirus in China has surged past 800 people, surpassing the number of fatalities of the SARS outbreak in 2002-03, but overall figures showed a one-day slowing of new cases, raising hopes that it was the first sign of a peaking of the epidemic.


China’s National Health Commission on February 9 said the central Hubei Province recorded 89 new deaths on February 8, pushing the total to 811 throughout the country and above the 774 who died from SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

The number of new infections in Hubei Province — whose capital, Wuhan, is considered the epicenter of the outbreak — showed a decline in new cases for the first time since February 1.

Officials said 2,656 new cases were identified throughout the country for the day, with 2,147 in Hubei.

Joseph Eisenberg, professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan, told Reuters it was too early to say whether the epidemic was peaking given the uncertainty in reporting procedures.

“Even if reported cases might be peaking, we don’t know what is happening with unreported cases. This is especially an issue in some of the more rural areas,” he said.

The total of confirmed cases hit 37,198 in mainland China.

The virus has spread to about two dozen countries, but all but two of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. The first U.S. citizen died from the disease, officials said on February 8, identifying him as a 60-year-old man in Wuhan.

The virus broke out at a seafood market in Wuhan that reportedly sold exotic animals for consumption — similar to the SARS outbreak.

This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Follow @RFERL on Twitter.

MIGHTY HUMOR

These are the 50 best COVID-19 memes for the week of April 20

You’ve done the crafts, you’ve read the entire internet and you’ve finished Netflix. All there’s left to do is cry, eat and laugh. We’ll help you out with the last one. Hope you and yours are staying safe, healthy and somewhat sane.

These are your top 50 memes and tweets for the week of April 20:


From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

1. Everything is fine

At least he’s maintaining social distancing.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

2. The word of the mom

Amen, sister.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

3. Conference calls 

Zoom backgrounds make it better.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

4. Laughter IS the best medicine

Oh Dad. So smart.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

5. Happy little tree

I want peopleeeeeee.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

6. Atta boy

Nothing to see here, nothing to see.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

7. True transformation 

I’m not proud of how hard I laughed at that one!!

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

8. The boombox

We’ve trained our whole life for this.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

9. So loud

What are you eating, BONES?

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

10. M.J. knew

Now if we could just heal the world…

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

11. More vodka, please!

These are good life skills.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

12. Reality tv

No wonder my kids like to watch other kids playing with toys on YouTube. We do the same thing with HGTV.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

13. No pants 

I can’t imagine having to wear shoes to a meeting again…

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

14. Hand washing

So many temptations to touch your face.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

15. Catch me outside 

How bout dat?

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

16. Shady pines

Might have to binge watch Golden Girls.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

17. So much truth

If you having tortilla chips for breakfast means I don’t have to cook…

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

18. Iguana private office 

Something about you getting on the phone screams, “COME TALK TO ME.”

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

19. SPF 15

At least you’re getting your vitamin D.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

20. Dreams do come true

You bought it “for the pandemic.”

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

21. Pro tip 

It’s like working out, but easier.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

22. Sunshine 

The sun is not impressed.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

23. Chopped

Every parent ever.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

24. Barbie 

The sweatshirt is a nice touch. I bet her Barbie dream house is covered in crafts and regret.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

25. Jax beach 

Oh Florida.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

26. What happens in Vegas… 

Quarantine needs to stay in April 2020.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

27. SO much truth

And most of them look tired.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

28. Pajama shorts

Trick question. You don’t have to wear pants.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

29. Good PR

Mmm ice cream.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

30. Singing in the rain

Vomit. Ha!

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

31. Sick car

Taped together and barely holding on — a working title of everyone’s 2020 memoir.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

32. Get it girl 

No but seriously, why did I eat all my snacks?

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

33. Dun-dun. Dun-dun. Dun-dun. 

To be fair, everyone didn’t die.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

34. Lightning speed

Well played, fastest man in the world.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

35. All by myself 

We feel you, Ernie.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

36. Quaran-times

The isolation has turned to boredom.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

37. Womp 

We heard there’s a DUI checkpoint in the hallway though, so be careful.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

38. Last nerves

Every. Little. Thing.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

39. Grooming at home

All of our DIY haircuts and grooming.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

40. Apologies, ya’ll 

Lots of self-awareness happening.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

41. Tarjay

It does, Kermie. It does.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

42. Mind over matter 

Beware my special powers.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

43. Dogs know the truth

Stop judging me.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

44. You can’t have both

This is why we can’t have nice days.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

45. Pretending 

Deep thoughts by Dad.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

46. Zoom stand in

I think people would pay for this.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

47. You did it!

At least you didn’t quit.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

48. Pinky promise

Just boxed wine. Not the ‘rona.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

49. You know that’s right

Maybe you’ll get a “spa day” in the bathroom by yourself.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

50. Get it, girl! 

The perks of age!

Stay safe, keep laughing and have a great week!

MIGHTY SURVIVAL

Chinese government rejects allegations that its face masks were defective, tells countries to ‘double check’ instructions

The Chinese government is rebuffing the notion that its face masks exported to other countries were “defective” and suggested that the nations did not “double-check” the instructions.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday claimed in a tweet that the “true story” behind the alleged faulty face masks sent to the Netherlands was that the Chinese manufacturer explicitly “stated clearly that they are non-surgical.”


“Masks of various category offer different levels of protection, for day-to-day use and for medical purposes,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in the tweet. “[Please] double-check the instructions to make sure that you ordered, paid for and distributed the right ones. Do not use non-surgical masks for surgical purposes.”

The statement comes as the Dutch government recalled 600,000 of the Chinese-manufactured face masks for being defective and not meeting safety standards — over half of the 1.3 million total N-95 protective masks that were delivered to the Netherlands.

Hospitals in the country were requested to return the masks that did not properly fit on faces and prevent COVID-19 virus particles from making human contact. The N-95 mask is able to block out 95% of airborne particles when used properly.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

“When they were delivered to our hospital, I immediately rejected those masks,” one hospital employee reportedly said to Dutch broadcaster NOS. “If those masks do not close properly, the virus particles can simply pass. We do not use them.”

Other countries have expressed concern with medical equipment manufactured in China. After purchasing 340,000 test kits from a Chinese manufacturer, Spain’s government claimed that 60,000 of them did not accurately test for COVID-19.

European Union Minister for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said in a blog post that the Chinese government was attempting to be perceived as an international ally in the “global battle of narratives.”

“China is aggressively pushing the message that, unlike the US, it is a responsible and reliable partner,” Borrell wrote. “In the battle of narratives, we have also seen attempts to discredit the EU as such and some instances where Europeans have been stigmatized as if all were carriers of the virus.”

Representatives from the Communist Party of China (CCP) in recent weeks have shifted the narrative surrounding the coronavirus’s origins by questioning its validity. Despite health officials and scientists widely agreeing that COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China — likely from a wildlife market — government officials suggested that the US Army may have shipped the virus to China.

The Global Times, which operates under the Chinese government’s purview, also claimed in a tweet that Italy “may have had an unexplained strain of pneumonia” in November and December — around the same time as China reported its first positive case.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

MIGHTY CULTURE

7 hysterical realities of being a ‘Zoom Soldier’

It’s finally here — the point in which playing Call of Duty might actually become relevant to your military career. In the extra weird era of “Zoom soldiers,” virtual training (to no one’s surprise) isn’t as great as it likely sounded when some general in the Pentagon thought it up (sorry, sir). Get soldiers together over their computer screens and execute training as usual. What could go wrong? Well, a lot actually.


From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

Virtual missions

Congratulations, you have been selected to lead today’s attack on a Taliban stronghold. You are in charge of a 40-man infantry platoon and have at your disposal the most lethal and casualty-producing weapons available to the U.S. Army. Ready? Oh, one more thing: The Taliban stronghold is imaginary and your platoon is ten of your peers linked up over computers. Welcome to combat training in the Zoom era.

Everyone’s a super soldier

You are handed a map with your location and the location of the enemy and after planning, start your movement. Cue the unrealistic battlefield conditions and superhuman feats by you and the enemy. Do you have a 5-click movement to the objective? Too easy, you can “walk” that in two minutes over Zoom for “time constraints.” Need to call for air support? They arrive within 15 seconds tops and damn, your grid is on point.

Cadre are unsurprisingly biased

Recocking sucked before but reaches a whole new level of stupid in a virtual training lane. Unfortunately for you, the guy running the Zoom room is being a really d-bag today and all 20 rounds you fired on your pre-planned targets were misses. Instead of safety violations or hitting the wrong building, getting a pass depends on who’s feeling bored AF in their pajamas this morning.

There’s a mute button for that

The best thing ever just happened to safety briefs, newly promoted monologues from Sergeant Smith, and all the other pointless crap you had to listen attentively to before…a mute button. Is there anything more satisfying than muting your superior while playing COD on silent under the desk? I think not.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

No one’s looking this put-together every morning anymore.

What grooming standards

We’re not saying it’s true, but grooming accountability may or may not be as easy as a few outfit changes after you finally get around to shaving. No fresh haircut? Sorry, my camera function isn’t working today for the call.

Dang, my internet broke 

Have you ever had to face the wrath of showing up late, oversleeping or just plain forgetting? Virtually, there’s an excuse for that. Due to “unforeseen” circumstances, that 7 am phone call I missed was because of the Wi-Fi going down. Definitely not because I overslept, no way.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

When did PT become a group fitness class?

“PT is the most important part of every soldier’s day” – Every CSM in history. Oh, you thought COVID19 would let you slack off a little on working out? Well you thought wrong. Your Platoon Sergeant has made it very clear you will still execute PT every day and you have to show proof of doing the exercises. Better be ready to both hold your phone for video and do push-ups at the same time. You haven’t experienced true horror until you hear the words “the bend and reach” over a Zoom call and realize it’s not a joke.

MIGHTY MOVIES

Lionsgate Live is bringing the movies to you, starting tonight with Dirty Dancing

No big Friday night plans? Look no further than your own family room, but be sure to sit on the couch because “Nobody puts Baby in the corner!” That’s right, Lionsgate Live! A Night at the Movies is having a special viewing this evening of Dirty Dancing with an excellent line up for the next few weeks.


From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

Lionsgate

What is Lionsgate Live! you ask? The four week program, which launched last week with The Hunger Games, allows viewers to enjoy a classic Lionsgate film every Friday evening through May 8th for free on Fandango Movieclips and Lionsgate’s YouTube page. May 1 will feature La La Land and May 8 will feature John Wick (age restriction required).

Tonight’s livestream will feature special appearances by Dirty Dancing‘s own Jennifer Grey and choreographer Kenny Ortega, along with an exclusive look at some of the film’s prized memorabilia as well as time-jumping behind-the-scenes footage!

Each livestream will directly benefit the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, dedicated to helping people who work in the motion picture industry and currently providing financial assistance to theater employees furloughed by the COVID-19 crisis.

So come dance the night away tonight at 6:00pm PT / 9:00pm ET for some Dirty Dancing – all in honor of good cause. Instead of previews, enjoy Fandango’s Movieclips, offering a special playlist featuring some of the best scenes from the film – enjoy!

MIGHTY SURVIVAL

As COVID-19 Hits Russia, A Self-Styled Psychic Healer And Soviet-Era Icon Returns

MOSCOW — Last week, Russians of a certain age saw a familiar face return to their screens. Anatoly Kashpirovsky, a self-styled psychic healer who entranced TV audiences as the Soviet Union was coming apart three decades ago, is back as an octogenarian YouTuber offering solace as the coronavirus spreads.

And some are taking what he has to offer, apparently, helping revive the career of a man who had become an almost forgotten symbol of a time when desperation ran high.


Almost 250,000 viewers have watched Healing Seance, a video posted on April 9 to Kashpirovsky’s channel on YouTube:

Кашпировский: Оздоровительный сеанс. Прямой эфир из Москвы. 09.04.2020г.

www.youtube.com

He sits immobile against a background of beige wallpaper and asks viewers to cover their eyes with their hands — not normally advisable as a pandemic rages.

“Over the coming days,” he says toward the end of what is essentially an hourlong monologue, “comments will keep coming in from people who have been cured.”

Kashpirovsky, now 80, achieved celebrity status in the Soviet Union through a series of televised sessions beginning in 1989 — two years before the country ceased to exist. Fixing his steely gaze on viewers who sat at home, some transfixed, he claimed powers to cure the sick and heal a nation that was hurting from the effects of economic decline.

At the peak of his celebrity in the early 1990s, Kashpirovsky was traveling the country to appear before packed halls and placed second only to President Boris Yeltsin in surveys of Russia’s most popular public figures.

In the waning days of the U.S.S.R. and the early years after its collapse, millions of people looking for meaning amid the chaos of change and stark economic challenges turned for relief to people like Kashpirovsky, who years earlier might have risked being sent by the Soviet state to a psychiatric hospital but now found a prominent place on prime-time television.

Early Morning Psychics

Kashpirovsky was not alone. Hundreds of thousands watched Allan Chumak, his main rival, as he flailed his arms in a “healing” ritual on his early morning TV slot. Viewers would place water bottles or tubs of cream in front of their TV sets to “charge” them with Chumak’s energy, which the mystic claimed was enough to heal ailments if drunk or smeared on the skin.

Kashpirovsky’s most famous stunt came in March 1989, when he appeared on a screen inside an operating room in Tbilisi, Georgia, via video link from Ukraine, and proceeded to guide a woman who could not use anesthesia through open abdominal surgery.

“Now everyone who watched me can go to the dentist and have their tooth pulled,” he told viewers afterward. “There will be no pain at all.”

The woman, Lesya Yershova, said in an interview several months later that she had felt “terrible pain” throughout the operation, which required a 40-centimeter incision, and had only cooperated because she didn’t want to let Kashpirovsky down. She agreed to forego anesthesia because Kashpirovsky had promised to make her thinner and bring her along to his shows around the world as an example of his healing powers, she told the newspaper Literaturnaya Gazeta.

He didn’t keep his promise, she said.

Kashpirovsky’s claims of supernatural powers soon drew comparisons with the 20th-century healer Rasputin, whose malign influence on the family of Tsar Nicholas II sparked accusations that he was meddling in affairs of state and contributed to the collapse of Russia’s war effort in 1917 and the ultimate downfall of its monarchy. Rasputin was said to ease the pain of the tsar’s hemophiliac son simply by talking to him.

A former weightlifter and a trained psychologist, Kashpirovsky has largely retreated from the spotlight since the 1990s. In 2009, with Russia reeling from the effects of the global financial crisis, he sought to stage a comeback of sorts by launching a TV show devoted to “paranormal investigations.” But in a country where there’s no shortage of such offerings — a show called Battle Of The Psychics is now in its 20th season — his star soon faded again.

In 2010, shortly after he announced that comeback, Kashpirovsky — who did not immediately respond to RFE/RL’s request for comment — launched his YouTube channel. Since then he has posted videos from auditorium shows performed in various countries, where he meets with locals and members of Russian emigre communities who pay money in hopes of being healed. The videos are posted with titles like Instantaneous Cure For A Slipped Disc and Salvation From Pain.

In a video he posted last August, an elderly man who appears to have a heavily curved spine walks across a stage in Taraz, Kazakhstan, to meet Kashpirovsky, before disappearing backstage. Minutes later he runs back onstage, waving his arms in triumph to rapturous applause from the audience, his back seemingly healed.

Кашпировский. Мгновенное избавление от спинно-мозговой грыжи.

www.youtube.com

The coronavirus pandemic appears to have drawn new attention to Kashpirovsky as it spreads in Russia, where the numbers of confirmed cases have risen sharply in recent days and President Vladimir Putin said on April 13 that the situation was “changing for the worse.”

Officially, the number of confirmed cases now exceeds 21,000, with 170 deaths, but experts suspect the real numbers may be higher.

Viewership of Kashpirovsky’s YouTube channel has risen substantially in recent weeks: His March 25 monologue — titled Coronavirus. Its Pluses And Minuses — has almost half a million views.

As he spoke during his “healing seance” on April 9, a scrolling text chat displayed comments from viewers.

“My tinnitus has completely gone,” one woman wrote. Another reported that a chronic neck pain had passed within three minutes. “I’ve believed in you since 1989,” wrote a third — though it was unclear whether in earnest or in jest.

After 53 minutes, Kashpirovsky signed off with a message to gullible viewers.

“Our meeting will naturally provoke in you an explosion in your immune system, which will protect you,” he said. “I crave that from the bottom of my soul.”

This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Follow @RFERL on Twitter.

MIGHTY CULTURE

Military announces new hardship pay for troops in quarantine

New guidance from the Pentagon lays out a series of special pays and allowances for military members who are dealing with coronavirus response, quarantined after contracting the virus or separated from their families due to permanent change-of-station changes.


The guidance, issued Thursday evening, includes a new cash allowance for troops ordered to quarantine after exposure to the virus.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

The new pay, known as Hardship Duty Pay-Restriction of Movement (HDP-ROM), helps troops who are ordered to self-isolate, but are unable to do so at home or in government-provided quarters, to cover the cost of lodging, according to the guidance. Service members can receive 0 a day for up to 15 days each month if they meet the requirements, the guidance states.

“HDP-ROM is a newly-authorized pay that compensates service members for the hardship associated with being ordered to self-monitor in isolation,” a fact sheet issued with the guidance states. “HDP-ROM may only be paid in the case where your commander (in conjunction with military or civilian health care providers) determines that you are required to self-monitor and orders you to do so away from your existing residence at a location not provided by or funded by the government.”

For example, if a single service member who otherwise lives in the barracks is ordered to self-isolate, but no other on-base housing is available, he or she could get a hotel room instead, and use the allowance to cover the cost, the policy says.

Service members will not be required to turn in receipts to receive the allowance, it adds, and commanders will be required to authorize it. The payment is given instead of per diem, according to the fact sheet.

The guidance also clarifies housing and separation allowances for families who are impacted by self-isolation rules or whose military move was halted by the stop-movement order issued early this month.

Service members who receive Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) but who are ordered into self-isolation in government-provided quarters will continue to receive BAH or overseas housing allowances (OHA) at their normal rates, it states.

Additionally, a Family Separation Housing Allowance (FSH) may be available for families whose military move was split by the stop-movement order, the guidance states. That payment allows the family to receive two BAH allotments — one at the “with dependents” rate and one at the “without dependents rate” — to cover the cost of multiple housing locations. Service members may also qualify for a 0 per-month family separation allowance if blocked from returning to the same duty station as their family due to self-isolation orders or the stop-movement, it states.

From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

The guidance also instructs commanders to “apply leave and liberty policies liberally,” allowing non-chargeable convalescent leave for virus-related exposure, self-isolation or even caring for a sick family member, the guidance states. It also directs them to allow telework whenever possible.

“Commanders have broad authority to exercise sound judgment in all cases, and this guidance describes available authority and flexibility that can be applied to promote, rather than to restrict, possible solutions,” the policy states.

A separate policy issued March 18 allows extended per diem payments to service members or families in the process of moving who are without housing due to lease terminations or home sales.

This article originally appeared on Military.com. Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.

MIGHTY SURVIVAL

These are the 62 best COVID-19 memes on the internet

There’s nothing like government-imposed isolation to bring out the best and the worst in people. It’s time to take a break from the empty shelves, homeschooling, terrifying headlines (and harrowing reality) and the truly unprecedented times we’re currently living in and lighten the load with our favorite memes of COVID-19.

In seriousness, we know these are scary times. We hope you and your loved ones stay safe and well.

And always wash your hands.


From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day

1. The milkshake


From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
From squirrel picnic tables to decorating donuts, 18 feel-good stories for the day
MIGHTY SURVIVAL

Houston VA begins clinical trial for COVID-19 treatment

In early July, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center became the first VA facility to participate in an international clinical trial evaluating the therapeutic benefit of an immunomodulator drug, Tocilizumab (TCZ), as a treatment for Veterans with COVID-19 severe pneumonia.

“COVID-19 is known to cause extensive damage in the lungs,” said Dr. Lavannya Pandit, a Houston VA pulmonologist and critical care physician who is a co-investigator in the study. “This often leads to difficulty breathing and, eventually, pneumonia. Pneumonia triggers a hyperimmune response that we are seeing can be more detrimental to some patients than the original infection.”


Medical personnel have used TCZ successfully to treat hyperimmune responses in cancer patients. The trial results will help determine if TCZ has a similar effect in patients who are diagnosed with severe COVID-19 pneumonia.

The clinical trial is a randomized, placebo-controlled study. Both the investigator and participant are blinded to who is receiving the TCZ treatment. Eligible participants are patients who are in the hospital and who chest imaging has confirmed has severe COVID-19 pneumonia.

Veterans at Houston VA very willing to step up

Medical personnel will monitor Veterans in a clinical environment for their responses to the treatment. Responses may include disease progression, the duration of hospitalization and the need for critical care and other supportive treatments.

“VA offers cutting-edge treatments and top quality care for Veterans with COVID-19,” said Dr. Barbara Trautner. Trautner is a faculty member at the Behavioral Health Program, Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.

“Participating in this clinical trial allows our Veterans the opportunity to contribute to scientific progress,” she said. “So far, Veterans at the Houston VA have been very willing to step up and volunteer. We enrolled eight Veterans in the first three days of the study.”

Trial taking place in more than 50 locations

“The treatments we offer for COVID-19 three months from now will be very different than what we offer today because of scientific trials like this,” said Trautner.

In addition to Houston VA, the trial is taking place in more than 50 locations across the United States, Europe and Canada, including at the Baylor College of Medicine.

“I always find it an honor and privilege to care for our Veterans who have served our country,” Trautner said. “The Veterans we are enrolling in this study are eager to join the fight against COVID-19, and we are happy to provide them this opportunity and do our part.”

This article originally appeared on VAntage Point. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

MIGHTY SURVIVAL

Coronavirus goggles and 3 other weird COVID prevention products that work

You already know to wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands often. But if you’re at high risk of getting severely sick with COVID-19, or if you’re very worried about your family’s health, you probably want something more. Isn’t there anything else you can do to boost coronavirus prevention in your family?

Yes, but, they’re not exactly accepted by science — or society. Some of them are backed by limited evidence; others are just bizarre; none are part of the blanket CDC recommendations (although Anthony Fauci has personally endorsed the first). You probably don’t need them for a trip to the grocery store, but if you want that extra sense of security or have to go into a high-risk environment, they can help. Here are extra ways to reduce your COVID-19 risk, even if you’ll look wild doing them.


Wear Goggles

Slapping a pair of goggles on your face can prevent you from getting infected by the coronavirus. The same way that the virus can get into your body via your mouth and nose, it also can from your eyes — one reason that you’re not supposed to touch your face without washing your hands. “If you have goggles or an eye shield, you should use it,” Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease specialist in the U.S., told ABC News. The same way masks offer some protection to your mouth and nose against droplets containing the virus, goggles do for your eyes.

If you don’t want to look like a mad scientist, glasses and sunglasses can protect your eyes, though droplets can get in from the sides, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. If you wear contacts, it may be best to switch to glasses during the pandemic, especially because people with contacts touch their eyes more often.

Experts recommend wearing eye protection in high-risk situations, such as when caring for someone with COVID-19 or traveling on a crowded airplane. But don’t put all your bets on goggles. A review study from June found that eye protection decreases coronavirus risk, but it also concluded that the evidence was weak. And the path to your respiratory system is less direct from the eyes than the nose and mouth, so it may be harder to get COVID-19 this way.

Sanitize Your Nose

Sanitizing your nose the way you sanitize your hands could reduce your risk of getting COVID-19. But don’t go shooting hand sanitizer up your nostrils. There are specific products made to help, such as the Nosin Nasal Sanitizer, which you swab on the inside of your nostrils for 12-hour protection and a “soft smell of citrus.” Think of it like washing your hands, but for your sniffer. Do it in private and no one even needs to know.

Though it sounds ridiculous, nose sanitizing actually works. The Sanitize Your Nose campaign is backed by a full board of qualified doctors and nurses. The nose is a “perfect warm, moist, hairy reservoir where harmful germs can grow and multiply,” Ron Singer, an orthopedic surgeon, and advisor to the campaign, told FOX Rochester. Nasal sanitizers kill those germs and offer daily protection against them, though they have not been tested against COVID-19 specifically

Wear Masks That Open When You Eat

Though staying home is your safest option, there are masks that allow you to eat on the go if you must. Some of these masks have a zipper you can unzip to pop food into your mouth, like this black number that would be equally at home in a bondage film. Others come with a hole you can stick a straw through for drinking and close when you’re done, like these floral masks. They look absurd, but in theory, they make it less likely you’ll get or transmit COVID-19 while chowing down. However, they aren’t tested. Many of the designs don’t have perfect coverage, so don’t treat them as your go-to mask. But if you need to eat or drink in public, they can offer extra protection.

Get Your Vitamin D

Sounds like bullshit, right? Take these vitamins and you’ll be COVID-free! But Vitamin D may reduce your risk of coronavirus infection or help you get better if you do get COVID-19, according to a new commentary in The Lancet. Though there isn’t any conclusive evidence in regard to COVID-19, past studies have shown that Vitamin D protects against other acute respiratory infections. It makes sense Vitamin D would help fight against the coronavirus too because it supports antiviral mechanisms in the body. If you want more Vitamin D, take a supplement or spend 5 to 10 minutes outside without sunscreen most days of the week.

This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.

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