This woman loving her talking Chewbacca mask is exactly what we all need right now.

When the world seems like it's going to hell in a hand basket, as it so often does these days, what's a person to do?

The world recently. Artist's rendering. GIF via NinersNation/Giphy.


Basically, you've got three options.

You can hide under the covers.

Who can judge? Photo via iStock.

You can move to a desert island.

Until the desert island is swallowed up by climate change and you're forced to move back. Photo by Timo Newton-Syms/Flickr.

Or ... you can take a page from Candace Payne's playbook, put on a talking Chewbacca mask, and laugh your ass off.

Witness her epic reaction when she dons the birthday present she bought herself, realizes that Wookiee sounds come out every time she opens her mouth, and proceeds to explode in a fireball of joyous laughter.

Let's count the ways in which this woman is awesome, shall we?

Photo by Candace Payne/Facebook.

Way #1. She bought the mask for herself, not for her kids.

Photo by Candace Payne/Facebook.

Sure, she acknowledges (and accepts) that they'll most likely steal it at some point in the future, but for now, it's mom's time in the Chewbacca mask, and no one can take that away from her.

No. One.

Way #2. She is endlessly delighted by the Wookiee sounds coming out of the mask. Endlessly.

GIF via Candace Payne/Facebook.

As she should be, as a mask that makes Wookiee sounds is the most delightful invention in the history of mankind (sorry, water slides!)

Way #3. She isn't afraid to laugh as long and as loud as humanly possible.

GIF via Candace Payne/Facebook.

You ever have one of those moments where something so funny happens that you feel like you're never going to stop laughing? That's her.

Thankfully, she's got the appropriate amount of shame about it, which is none.

It can be easy to get down about the state of the world.

War. Poverty. Famine. Plane crashes. Terrorism. Climate change. Racism. Sexism. Homophobia. The Minnesota Twins this season.

The bad things can feel overwhelming sometimes.

But hey, if it ain't happening right now to you, that's a victory.

That's why when the good stuff happens — like randomly finding the world's best Chewbacca mask — you gotta embrace it.

GIF Candace Payne/Facebook.

Happy weekend!

The difference between a politician and a public servant may be a matter of semantics, but when it comes to getting legislation passed that actually helps people, the contrast is stark.

Texas Representative James Talarico is on a mission to get his constituents the life-saving medicine they need. The 31-year-old lawmaker has just introduced legislation that would cap the price of insulin—a medicine people with type 1 diabetes need to live, which has become unaffordable for many—at $50 a month.

The mission is personal for Talarico, as he nearly died three years ago when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

He shared his story on Twitter:

"In May 2018, I was a healthy 28-year-old running for the Texas House. I decided to walk the entire length of my district and hold town halls along the way. I hike Big Bend every year, so I wasn't concerned about a 25 mile walk...

But halfway through the walk, I began feeling nauseous and fatigued. Before the town hall in Hutto, I vomited in the bathroom."

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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