"Game of Thrones" author George R.R. Martin has been praised for his ability to write believable, three-dimensional female characters. Why do so many writers skip George's really basic first step?
'Life shouldn't be this hard.'
In America, many people have to work well past the age of retirement to make ends meet. While some of these people choose to work past retirement age because it keeps them active, some older people, like Nola Carpenter, 81, work out of necessity.
Carpenter has been working at Walmart for 20 years, way beyond most people's retirement age just so that she can afford to continue to pay her mortgage. When 19-year-old Devan Bonagura saw the woman looking tired in the break room of the store, he posted a video to his TikTok of Carpenter with a text overlay that said, "Life shouldn't b this hard..." complete with a sad face emoji.
In the video, Carpenter is sitting at a small table looking down and appearing to be exhausted. The caption of the video reads ":/ I feel bad." Turns out, a lot of other people did too, and encouraged the teen to start a GoFundMe, which has since completed.
The retirement age in the United States in order to collect Social Security benefits is 66, or 67 if you were born in or after 1960. But early retirement starts at 62 for reduced benefits. How many years you worked is a deciding factor in how much financial benefit you will receive from Social Security, with the average amount expected to be $1,827 a month in January 2023.
WE LOVE YOU NOLA I HOPE THIS HELPS❤️🙏 #blowthisup #fyp #gofundme #nola #walmart #viralvideo
While that amount of money is nothing to scoff at, it's also not enough to live off of alone, especially for those who fall below the average amount. You also have to factor in Medicare premiums and tax withholdings that must come out of that figure. So it's no wonder that people over the age of 67 have to continue to work if they don't have adequate savings put away to retire on. The cost of living increases impact all age groups, including the elderly.
Thankfully for this elderly Walmart worker, the GoFundMe quickly exploded and raised $110,000 in just 24 hours. But when Bonagura went to give the money to Carpenter, she was grateful for the help but explained she would still need to work until the other $60,000 of her mortgage was paid off. This prompted users to give more to secure Carpenter's retirement.
In the end, the GoFundMe raised $186,000, which was enough to pay off the mortgage on the woman's house. Retirement is now on the horizon for the grandmother, who says she's set to retire on the first of the year. She wants to make sure she helps her co-workers get through the holiday season before hanging up her vest for good.
Update video with Nola ❤️ #nola #dbon #gofundme #viral #blowthisup #love #kindness #givingback
As for Bonagura, he's currently suspended with pay due to him filming at the store and posting it to TikTok. While he wasn't an employee of Walmart, he worked for a cellphone carrier that operated sales inside the store. Nevertheless, Bonagura feels he did the right thing and is focused solely on making sure Carpenter gets to retire.
It's amazing what people can accomplish when they work together. Happy retirement, Nola! Here's to hoping you enjoy every minute of it.
The flag used to have 15 stars, the Pledge of Allegiance started out as a marketing gimmick, and 10 more Flag Day facts.
As famous as it is, there's still a lot you might not know about our shining symbol of freedom. For instance, did you know that on some flags, the stars used to point in different directions? Or that there used to be more than 13 stripes? How about a gut-check on all those star-spangled swimsuits you see popping up in stores around the Fourth of July?
We'll explore these topics and more in this fun list of 12 facts about the U.S. flag that you might not know about.
Legend has it that in 1776, a seamstress named Betsy Ross was approached in her shop by George Washington himself and was asked to help develop a flag for this soon-to-be-nation. Supposedly, she rejected the designs Washington presented to her and made a number of suggestions that would end up in the final version of the first American flag.
It's a great story that humanizes Washington as a man humble enough to take feedback and gives Ross a boost as being uncharacteristically assertive for a woman in 18th-century America.
But the bad news is that this probably never happened. It was nearly 100 years before anybody spoke of Betsy Ross or her role in designing the flag. Most of what we know of this story came from her grandson, William Canby.
Unfortunately, though historians have long tried to verify any of the facts involved in Canby's story, there's nothing to suggest that Washington set out to commission a flag in 1776. In fact, it wasn't until 1777 that Congress even passed a resolution ordering a flag to be made. Sure, it's possible that Camby's account of his grandmother's story happened, but it's more likely that this is simply an unverifiable piece of American lore.
While most countries's flags are rectangular, there are a few exceptions. In 1912, President Taft issued an executive order creating a uniform look for the flag — as prior to that, there were some interesting designs, with multiple flags sometimes in use simultaneously.
The executive order mandated that stars on the flag point upward, all in the same direction, and be placed in six horizontal rows of eight.
Up until 1795, the flag had one stripe and one star for each of the 13 states. After Vermont and Kentucky were added to the union in 1791 and 1792, respectively, the flag was due for its first major redesign in the country's history. Not only were two stars added to the blue field to represent the new states (a tradition that continues to this day), but designers also added two stripes.
The 15-star, 15-stripe flag existed from 1795 until 1818, when five more states were added. Designers realized that adding more stripes would quickly become unwieldy, so they dropped the stripe count back to 13.
After Kentucky and Vermont joined the union 2 stripes and stars were added to the flag.
The outcast of all American flags lives on through the power of song. Key wrote "Defence of Fort M'Henry," a poem about his experience watching from the Baltimore harbor as an American fort took fire from British troops during the War of 1812. In 1916, more than 100 years after its first publication, Key's poem became our national anthem.
The U.S. Flag Code was signed into law by President Roosevelt on June 22, 1942. While it's filed under Title 18 of the U.S. Code ("Crimes and Criminal Procedure"), the Flag Code exists as more of an etiquette guide than anything else.
So if you leave your flag up past sundown, that's technically illegal — but no one's going to arrest you for it.
There's a whole section of the U.S. Flag Code on how to show respect for the flag. Since this is a topic that gets discussed quite a bit lately, it's worth a quick review of some of the highlights:
The Code says that "the flag should be displayed on all days," but puts special emphasis on the following holidays: New Year's Day, Inauguration Day, Lincoln's Birthday, Washington's Birthday, Easter, Mother's Day, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day (the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon), Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Constitution Day, Columbus Day, Navy Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
The Code adds that states should display the U.S. flag on the anniversary of their admission to the union, on state holidays, and on any day observed by presidential proclamation.
The flag won't be getting any major redesigns in the near future, save for the addition of a star here and there. The Code reads:
"On the admission of a new State into the Union one star shall be added to the union of the flag; and such addition shall take effect on the fourth day of July then next succeeding such admission."
It's thought that schoolteacher Bernard J. Cigrand was the first person to celebrate Flag Day, commemorating the 108th anniversary of the 1777 Flag Resolution (which outlined the flag's basic design) on June 14, 1885. The tradition caught on among schools and, eventually, states.
In 1958, Bob Heft was a junior in high school. In a 2009 interview with StoryCorps, Heft recounted what happened when he turned in a history project featuring a 50-star flag. Heft's teacher gave him a B-, noting that he had the wrong number of stars on the flag (at the time, there were only 48 states).
When Heft expressed disappointment, his teacher said, "If you don't like the grade, get it accepted in Washington, then come back and see me."
After Alaska and Hawaii became states, the U.S. adopted Heft's flag. He got a call from President Eisenhower and, more importantly, an updated grade on his project.
The pledge's history is fascinating and filled with controversy. Many know that it wasn't until 1954 that the words "under God" were added to the pledge in response to the Red Scare, but what's less discussed is the origin and purpose of the pledge itself.
Socialist minister Francis Bellamy penned the original pledge for an 1892 issue of The Youth's Companion as a way to mark the 400th anniversary of Columbus' journey. The magazine offered U.S. flags to subscribers, and Bellamy and the magazine lobbied public schools to adopt his pledge as a show of patriotism. It was successful, too, selling tens of thousands of new subscriptions and flags. In hindsight, it's a bit ironic that this lasting ode to America began as a socialist's capitalist experiment.
In 1782, Secretary of Congress Charles Thomson explained the significance of the colors red, white, and blue during the design of the official seal of the U.S.:
“The colours of the pales are those used in the flag of the United States of America; White signifies purity and innocence, Red, hardiness and valour, and Blue, the colour of the Chief signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice."
Ever since, we've just gone with that.
Tyler Adams’s response proves exactly why he’s the captain of the US soccer team.
Reporters are supposed to ask the right questions to get to the truth but sometimes it seems sports reporters ask questions to throw you off your game. There's no doubt that this Iranian reporter who was questioning Tyler Adams, the US soccer team captain at the press conference during the World Cup had an agenda that didn't involve getting to the truth.
It's not clear if the questions were designed to throw the young player off of his game or if the goal was embarrassment. It really is hard to tell, but Adams handled the unexpectedly harsh encounter with intelligence and poise when some may have found it justified for him to get angry.
The World Cup is being played in Qatar and Iran's soccer team is in attendance. There have been reports that the Iranian players were threatened with their family members facing "violence and torture" after the team refused to sing the Iranian national anthem. But there was tension with the Iranian government and the American players after the US soccer team displayed the Iranian flag without the Iranian Republic emblem.
Maybe the flag mishap spurred the reporters loaded questions. When the Iranian reporter first addresses Adams, he immediately chastises him for not knowing the correct pronunciation of Iran before moving on to an interesting question choice.
The reporter asked Adams, "are you ok to be representing a country that has so much discrimination against Black people in its own boarders and you saw the Black Lives Matter Movement over the past few years. Are you OK the US meanwhile there's so much discrimination happening against Black people in America"
Adams, did not get defensive about the correction but responded by apologizing about mispronouncing the name of the country. The player's response to the rest of the question proves the young captain's emotional maturity and why he's captain of the US soccer team.
Watch his entire response below:
It's incredibly easy to incorporate these lessons into our lives.
"Kids can be so wise, y'know," the Cape Town doctor and ultra-marathon enthusiast posted to his Twitter account. He asked the young patients, short on time, about the things that really mattered to them.
What followed was a string of life advice that'll make you want to be a better person, no matter how old you are.
\u201cFor an assignment, I asked some of my terminal paediatric palliative care patients what they had enjoyed in life, and what gave it meaning. Kids can be so wise, y'know. Here are some of the responses (Thread).\u201d— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476673
"NONE said they wished they'd watched more TV. NONE said they should've spent more time on Facebook. NONE said they enjoyed fighting with others. NONE enjoyed [the] hospital," tweeted McAlpine.
\u201cFirst: \nNONE said they wished they'd watched more TV \nNONE said they should've spent more time on Face Book\nNONE said they enjoyed fighting with others\nNONE enjoyed hospital \n/1\u201d— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476673
"I love Rufus," one child told McAlpine about their dog. "His funny bark makes me laugh." Others worried about whether their parents would be OK.
\u201cMANY mentioned their parents, often expressing worry or concern:\n'Hope mum will be ok. She seems sad.'\n'Dad mustn't worry. He'll see me again soon.'\n'God will take care of my mum and dad when I'm gone'\n/3\u201d— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476673
\u201cALL of them loved ice-cream.\n/4\u201d— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476673
"ALL of them loved books or being told stories, especially by their parents," wrote McAlpine, who then shared a couple short anecdotes about Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, and literary adventures in space.
They also understood that people who treat you differently for superficial reasons, like your hair or a surgery scar, aren't worth worrying about.
\u201cMANY wished they had spent less time worrying about what others thought of them, and valued people who just treated them 'normally'.\n'My real friends didn't care when my hair fell out.'\n'Jane came to visit after the surgery and didn't even notice the scar!' /6\u201d— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476673
These kids loved swimming and playing on the beach, and they valued others who extended kindness to them along the way. "I like it when that kind nurse is here," one patient told McAlpine. "She's gentle. And it hurts less."
\u201cAlmost ALL of them valued kindness above most other virtues:\n'My granny is so kind to me. She always makes me smile.'\n'Jonny gave me half his sandwich when I didn't eat mine. That was nice.'\n'I like it when that kind nurse is here. She's gentle. And it hurts less' /8\u201d— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476673
\u201cAlmost ALL of them loved people who made them laugh:\n'That magician is so silly! His pants fell down and I couldn't stop laughing!'\n'My daddy pulls funny faces which I just love!'\n'The boy in the next bed farted! Hahaha!'\n\nLaughter relieves pain. /9\u201d— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476673
"They ALL valued time with their family," said McAlpine. "Nothing was more important."
\u201cFinally, they ALL valued time with their family. Nothing was more important. \n'Mum and dad are the best!'\n'My sister always hugs me tight'\n'No one loves me like mummy loves me!' /11\u201d— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476673
There are seven simple takeaways (well, eight if you count "eat ice cream"):
"Be kind. Read more books. Spend time with your family. Crack jokes. Go to the beach. Hug your dog. Tell that special person you love them."
Easy enough, right?
\u201cTake home message:\nBe kind. Read more books. Spend time with your family. Crack jokes. Go to the beach. Hug your dog. Tell that special person you love them.\n\nThese are the things these kids wished they could've done more. The rest is details.\n\nOh... and eat ice-cream. /End\u201d— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476673
Take home message: Be kind. Read more books. Spend time with your family. Crack jokes. Go to the beach. Hug your do… https://t.co/w5Xs5jQODc— Alastair McAlpine, MD (@Alastair McAlpine, MD) 1517476678