More

What if Dr. Seuss had been alive for this election? Meet the Grump who sacked Greatland.

Ready for storytime? This is called "The Grump Who Sacked Greatland."

What if Dr. Seuss had been alive for this election? Meet the Grump who sacked Greatland.

On the third of Octember
in a land far away,
a young woman was reading
and knitting one day.


All illustrations by Aphee Messer.


And as hours went by
as she read the day’s news,
her mind started to wander.
She started to snooze.

Then she dreamed a strange dream.
She was older and gray.
She was walking outside
on a dark, rainy day.

All the streets were deserted.
No one was in sight.
With the shops boarded up,
something didn’t seem right.

As she walked, she passed by
an old man in the street.
And he said, “Can you help me
buy something to eat?”

“STORIES: 1000 dollars”
was scrawled on a board.
She was shocked.  That was far more
than she could afford.






















“Could you tell me a story?
My name’s Nixie Knox.
I don’t have any money,
but here’s some new socks!”

Then he clutched the wool socks
in his gnarled old hand,
and he said, “Here’s the tale of
The Fall of Greatland.”

In the country of Greatland  — 
this land that you see  —
 lived a proud, wealthy people
much like you and me.












We worked hard and were happy,
and people soon knew
that if they moved to Greatland
then they could be, too.

We got used to our wealth,
and each year wanted more.
But some people were not
as well off as before.

So we made a mistake,
a huuuuge, big-league mistake —
for a country, the biggest
mistake you can make.

We elected a leader
who wouldn’t prepare.
And to make matters worse,
he did not even care.

















Mr. Harold J. Grump
was the name of this chump,
but most people who knew him
just called him “the Grump.”

No one knows why the Grump
got so grumpy at all,
but some say that his hands
were two sizes too small,

For when he was a little Grump
going to school,
the kids who played Greatball
made him feel like a fool.












His Grump hands were too little
to grasp the big ball,
and they grabbed it so fast
he would stumble and fall.

So his little Grump heart
didn’t grow. Not at all!
His poor heart was so hurt,
it’s four sizes too small.

(This is why it’s not good
to torment anyone!
They grow up and they grab
other people for fun.)












As years passed, he grew older,
and made lots of wealth
with big loans from his father
(not all by himself).

How he loved being rich!
He wrote “GRUMP” on it all!
And it made those mean kids
seem so silly and small.

He built Grump University,
Grump Plaza too,
Grump Casino and Towers,
Grump Park and Grump Zoo.












He tried selling Grump Roast
and Grump Water (so cold!),
but no one wanted food that
tastes bitter and old.

With the years passing by,
he got bored of his life.
“I should be more historic!
I’ve got a new wife!”

And one day, looking out
from the 99th floor,
Mr. Grump saw that things
weren’t as good as before.

He saw crime. He saw people
who’d lost jobs and health,
and he said “I can fix this!
I know how to wealth!"

















“There are poor people here
who are living in hell!
I can make it all better!
Make sick cities well!

Yes, we need law and order!
Things must be set straight!
And there’s no one but me
who can make Greatland great!”







“All these poor foreign workers
are taking your jobs!
We will bring your jobs home
and kick out all the slobs!

Then we’ll build a big wall
to keep all of them out!
No more crime! Bring our jobs back!”
he started to shout.

“Lower taxes are just what we need!”
said the Grump.
“And this ‘Greatcare’ has made
our economy slump!”












And when not enough voters
said “NO” to his lies,
this man won the election,
to my great surprise.

The Grump did what he promised.
He built a huuuuge wall.
He sent immigrants home,
families, children, and all.







But then later that year,
farmers asked him to stop.
“All our workers are gone!
Who will harvest our crop?”

The Grump taxed all the shipments
across the Great Sea.
So things got more expensive,
from clothing to tea.

Now for Greatland this meant
food and clothes cost a lot.
So most people who used to go shopping
did not!












The shopkeepers went home,
and the workers did too.
With no customers left,
there was no work to do.

Then the Grump canceled Greatcare!
When people got ill,
they spent all of their cash
on a big doctor’s bill.







“Greatcare helped us get by!
If we’re sick, we can’t work
to earn money to pay for a doctor,
you jerk!”

But the Grump and his friends
didn’t care about health.
They were lowering taxes
and counting their wealth.







“This is ours! We deserved it!”
said Grump. “Can’t you see?
If you only worked harder,
you’d be rich like me!”

And that’s how Greatland fell.
All our jobs went away.
There was nothing to buy,
and no money to pay!







Then the old man’s sign changed.
He said, “If you elect
Mr. Grump, this will happen,”
and pointed: “EXCEPT…”

And the man disappeared
in a puff of blue smoke.
Nixie stirred in her sleep.
With a start, she awoke.

”This will happen, EXCEPT…“
Nixie sat up and thought.
”This will happen, except
if I care a whole lot!”

Then she said, “I will vote,
and my friends will vote too!
We can stop this mean Grump
and his bright orange ’do!”

















Nixie logged on to Greatbook
and Instagreat too,
and she told all her friends
Greatland needed them, too.

“Who you vote for’s your business,”
she wrote on her Wall,
“but you must, or our Greatland
will crumble and fall.”







And millions of people
just like you and me
went to vote to make Greatland
as great as could be.


Though some well-meaning folks
voted Grump all the same,
he still lost, and flew home
in his fancy Grump Plane.

Then he said, “It was rigged!
It’s unfair! They all cheated!
It’s the only way I could have
been so defeated!”







The people of Greatland
were smarter than that,
and they paid no attention
to such a big brat.

“We are done with your lies!
We are better than this!”
And they waved at the winner,
and blew her a kiss.

With that, Nixie dozed off
as she watched GNN.
And with Greatland now safe,
Saw the future again…












THE END

True

Judy Vaughan has spent most of her life helping other women, first as the director of House of Ruth, a safe haven for homeless families in East Los Angeles, and later as the Project Coordinator for Women for Guatemala, a solidarity organization committed to raising awareness about human rights abuses.

But in 1996, she decided to take things a step further. A house became available in the mid-Wilshire area of Los Angeles and she was offered the opportunity to use it to help other women and children. So, in partnership with a group of 13 people who she knew from her years of activism, she decided to make it a transitional residence program for homeless women and their children. They called the program Alexandria House.

"I had learned from House of Ruth that families who are homeless are often isolated from the surrounding community," Judy says. "So we decided that as part of our mission, we would also be a neighborhood center and offer a number of resources and programs, including an after-school program and ESL classes."

She also decided that, unlike many other shelters in Los Angeles, she would accept mothers with their teenage boys.

"There are very few in Los Angeles [that do] due to what are considered liability issues," Judy explains. "Given the fact that there are (conservatively) 56,000 homeless people and only about 11,000 shelter beds on any one night, agencies can be selective on who they take."

Their Board of Directors had already determined that they should take families that would have difficulties finding a place. Some of these challenges include families with more than two children, immigrant families without legal documents, moms who are pregnant with other small children, families with a member who has a disability [and] families with service dogs.

"Being separated from your son or sons, especially in the early teen years, just adds to the stress that moms who are unhoused are already experiencing," Judy says.

"We were determined to offer women with teenage boys another choice."

Courtesy of Judy Vaughan

Alexandria House also doesn't kick boys out when they turn 18. For example, Judy says they currently have a mom with two daughters (21 and 2) and a son who just turned 18. The family had struggled to find a shelter that would take them all together, and once they found Alexandria House, they worried the boy would be kicked out on his 18th birthday. But, says Judy, "we were not going to ask him to leave because of his age."

Homelessness is a big issue in Los Angeles. "[It] is considered the homeless capital of the United States," Judy says. "The numbers have not changed significantly since 1984 when I was working at the House of Ruth." The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the problem. According to Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), over 66,000 people in the greater Los Angeles area were experiencing homelessness in 2020, representing a rise of 12.7% compared with the year before.

Each woman who comes to Alexandria House has her own unique story, but some common reasons for ending up homeless include fleeing from a domestic violence or human trafficking situation, aging out of foster care and having no place to go, being priced out of an apartment, losing a job, or experiencing a family emergency with no 'cushion' to pay the rent.

"Homelessness is not a definition; it is a situation that a person finds themselves in, and in fact, it can happen to almost anyone. There are many practices and policies that make it almost impossible to break out of poverty and move out of homelessness."

And that's why Alexandria House exists: to help them move out of it. How long that takes depends on the woman, but according to Judy, families stay an average of 10 months. During that time, the women meet with support staff to identify needs and goals and put a plan of action in place.

A number of services are provided, including free childcare, programs and mentoring for school-age children, free mental health counseling, financial literacy classes and a savings program. They have also started Step Up Sisterhood LA, an entrepreneurial program to support women's dreams of starting their own businesses. "We serve as a support system for as long as a family would like," Judy says, even after they have moved on.

And so far, the program is a resounding success.

92 percent of the 200 families who stayed at Alexandria House have found financial stability and permanent housing — not becoming homeless again.

Since founding Alexandria House 25 years ago, Judy has never lost sight of her mission to join with others and create a vision of a more just society and community. That is why she is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year — and the donation she receives as a nominee will go to Alexandria House and will help grow the new Start-up Sisterhood LA program.

"Alexandria House is such an important part of my life," says Judy. "It has been amazing to watch the children grow up and the moms recreate their lives for themselves and for their families. I have witnessed resiliency, courage, and heroic acts of generosity."

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

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.

Keep Reading Show less