"Monday 5 Things" with D. Paul Graham

.....Go Ahead, Smile.....

Monday 5 Things…..Go Ahead, Smile…..

Enough of bad news, politicizations, half-truths and out-right lies. This morning’s M5T is meant to put a smile on your face with some delightful stories of the wholesome side of human nature that can be found at the worst of times, such as, oh let’s see, during times of a global pandemic for example. That said, I encourage you to put your phone or tablet down (after reading M5T of course), pick up your morning cup of coffee, healthy juice or smoothie, or whatever you’re A.M. pick-me-up may be, plunk down on your favorite chair, and enjoy some positive stories to start your Monday, your day and your week.

1. I can see clearly now.

Lockdowns have actually had some positive benefits for some parts of the world. For the first time in many, many, years, people in the Punjab region of India can once again see the beauty of the Himalayan mountains because of reduced pollution haze. Restricted mobility and decreased industrial emissions have been cited as reducing by 44% Delhi’s air pollution levels – in the first day of lockdowns. In Venice, Italy, the usually dark, some-what smelly, canals are once again clear because of virtually no pollution from gondolas, motorboats and cruise ships; prompting even fish and swans to return to the Canale Grande between San Marco Basilica to the Santa Chiara Church. Pollution in Beijing China has been so drastically reduced that if it weren’t for this recent contagion, locals wouldn’t even have to wear masks which were part of the Chinese wardrobe prior to the hounds of Covid being released.

2. Trees through the forest.

Finland has given us dishwashers, heart-rate monitors, rescue toboggans, saunas, ice skates, Linux, and the most annoying and addictive phone game, Angry Birds. But arguably perhaps the most recent and important contribution this country has given the world in some time is an answer to the global ban on hugging. The Icelandic Forest Service recommended that Icelanders (and seriously, I’m not making this up) start each day by going out and hugging a tree. These loving Fin’s say that hugging a tree will result in reduced stress and increased happiness. The ever-cautious scientists from the IFS also warn that one should practice safe tree-hugging and avoid hugging the first tree you see. There is a high probability that someone else has already hugged that tree and studies show that the Covid virus can survive four days on wood.

3. "Did my heart love till now?"

Returning to Stivale, Paola Agnelli and Michele D’Alpaos live in Verona Italy, which just happens to be the city of the story of Romeo and Juliet. Until the lock-down, these two had never met, however, they managed to fall into amore from a distance, on their balconies (yet another R&J connection) during the lockdown.  Apparently, they noticed each other and started corresponding through social media, and committed to a date when house arrest was lifted. No word on how the date or this relationship has evolved. Hopefully they will not meet the same ending as that which Billy wrote about the most famous love-struck couple. Other parts of the world have copied what started on balconies in Italy. YouTube has many videos of impromptu mass sing and dance-a-longs that have been taking place via balconies that are sure to put a smile on your face.

4. 'Some Good News'.

At the end of March this year, ‘Office’ star John Kransinski started a YouTube video diary show called ‘Some Good News’, to deliver, well, some good news that attempted to drown out negativity during the lockdown that was in full force.  He also invited celebrity guests to share only good news in each episode. Steve Carell appeared as an entertainment consultant; the original cast of ‘Hamilton’ sang a song on Zoom with a teenage fan of the Broadway play who couldn’t attend a performance because of Corona (the virus not the beer – M5T does not support underage drinking); and two Maryland fans of the ‘Office’ got a huge surprise when Kransinski assembled the cast of the ‘Office’ for their wedding. Kransinski, who received an internet ordination, led the service as the couple exchanged vows on Zoom with the cast of the TV show and their family. Brad Pitt, the Jonas Brothers, Billie Eilish, Nasa Astronauts, Martha Steward, Guy Fieri, Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Oprah, and Steven Spielberg are but a few who made cameo appearances to share good news. And in even better news for Kransinski, in May this year, after only 8 episodes, he sold the show to ViacomCBS for an undisclosed amount of money and remains executive producer for the show.

5. Good people.

There are a number of good-people stories that can be found. Locally, we have seen many people step up, and make masks for health care workers and first responders. Masks are now becoming fashion statements of individuality on their own. Food drives for homeless and impoverished who can’t afford groceries increased. Good deeds have been seen around the world.  Medical staff at a hospital in Barcelona have been wheeling out recovering Covid patients to the ocean, which is across the street from the hospital, for some fresh sea air. In Denver, 92-year-old Holocaust survivor Dr Cornelia Vertenstein continued to teach piano lessons to her students on Facetime with her iPad. She has taught piano for over 50 years and did not let Covid keep her from teaching and holding recitals for her students in the spring. Captain Tom Moore, a 99-year-old British veteran raised over $10 million for healthcare workers by walking 100 laps around his yard 10 times per day, as he prepared to celebrate his 100th birthday on April 30th this year. And on an even lighter note, Danielle Askew, a kindergarten teacher in Queensland Australia started a Facebook group called the “Bin Isolation Outing.” Members post pictures in some hilarious outfits, from the most formal to the most outrageous, fancy wedding and ball dress, Halloween costumes of all sorts, fully made up, young and old, all while taking out the garbage.  

Here’s to a week of finding the positive in all situations, of continuing to smile and laugh, and to refusing to lose faith in the goodness of mankind! If you have a good story to share, please post it here to keep the smiles going today!

© 2020 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved.

D. Paul Graham is passionate about people, culture, photography and business. He has embraced his wanderlust with his travels around the globe and is at peace with his need for spirited drives in all things automotive.

You can find M5T each Monday here on www.southmag.com and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook. Paul is also a contributing photographer to South Magazine. His photographic work can be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at www.imageGRAHAM.com . Your feedback is always welcome. Email Paul at dpg@imagegraham.com