The Brightside Blog: volume 7

After three days of rejuvenation in the bank holiday sun, you’d be forgiven for thinking your spirits couldn’t be raised any higher. Well think again, my friends, because The Brightside Blog volume 7 is here to keep the good times coming.

Maestro, cue the wholesome content…

Heart of gold

Olympians are pretty impressive, aren’t they? Talented, dedicated types who put their bodies through the ringer day after day, year after year, all in the name of one day claiming that most resplendent of prizes: the Olympic gold medal.

Polish javelin thrower Maria Andrejczyk came as close as one can come to fulfilling that dream, instead walking home with the Olympic silver.

It’s an astonishing feat, but just three days after the Games ended Andrejcyzk was already trying to get rid of her medal. Not because she didn’t see the value in it, but precisely because she did.

You see, Miłoszek Małys, an eight-month-old Polish boy, was in critical need of heart surgery. But his family needed 1.5 million Polish zlotys (about £280,000) to afford the travel to and treatment at California’s Stanford University. And so the javelin superstar decided to auction off her Olympic medal to raise funds for the surgery.

You see, Andrejczyk understands the difference medical aid can make more than most. In 2018 she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer.

Thankfully, she was able to overcome her illness. And thanks to her heart-warming gesture, so too might Miłoszek.

Polish convenience store chain Zabka put in a bid that didn’t just meet but exceeded the original fundraising goal, meaning Miłoszek is flying to America for his life-saving surgery.

Not only that, but Zabka refused to accept Andrejczyk’s medal. They rightly stated that she deserved it for “showing what it means to be a true champion.”

So Maria Andrejczyk will forever have a medal of silver to pair with her heart of gold.

We should bee friends

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You will hopefully be aware by now that bees are the planet’s—and therefore humanity’s—best friends. The health of our natural ecosystem is fundamentally linked to the health of our bees and their ability to pollinate. They are our silent heroes. Our guardian angels. Our…mates?

Well, the latter is at least true for 13-year-old Lacey Shillinglaw.

Lacey was out walking her dog when she spotted a bumblebee lying in the road with a crumpled wing. Being the kind-hearted soul she is, she scooped down to pick the bee up and help it out.

She tried to place the bee down in a safer spot on some flowers in a nearby park, but the bee refused to stay put. Wherever Lacey would put it, the bee would keep buzzing back over to her and crawling up her shoulder.

After an hour, Lacey realised that she wasn’t likely to shake off this new companion and so she brought it back to her house, perched on her shoulder like a faithful parrot or Disney sidekick.

And ever since, the bee has refused to leave Lacey’s side.

Now officially named Betty, the bee follows Lacey to the shops and has even stayed on her shoulder while out bowling with friends.

Lacey has made up a little pot beside her bed for Betty to sleep in and, though the pot has no lid, the bee always stays put until morning.

“It’s completely lovely—and also bonkers,” said Lacey’s mother, Laura. “Betty climbs in Lacey’s long hair like it’s some kind of jungle. She’s on her 90% of the time during the day, including her face, her glasses, and even in between her toes. It’s so beautiful—just gorgeous.”

So to any of you still holding grudges against bees for what they did to MacCaulay Culkin in My Girl*, look to Betty and Lacey for an example of how the bee/child relationship should play out. Or at least can.

“I’m so happy and I just love spending my time with her,” Lacey said. “She’s so fluffy and I love our friendship.”

So for the sake of Betty, Lacey and the continued existence of our species, please: Be nice to bees.

*Sorry for spoiling My Girl (1991)but it’s been 30 years. Past a point the blame’s got to lie with you…

Channel Paw News

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It’s like your parents always told you, “WATCH MORE TELEVISION!”

Okay, so they probably didn’t say that. But if Dwight Gary of Milwaukee, Wisconsin hadn’t been watching TV then he wouldn’t have seen the WITI news team’s item on a dog that was available for adoption.

“Meet Mason,” the segment began, before cutting to a picture of Mason, an adorable little cocker spaniel/chihuahua mix with a distinctive underbite. A very distinctive underbite. An underbite so distinctive, in fact, that Mr Gary stood up and screamed at his TV, “That’s not Mason, that’s most definitely Payday!

Payday being Mr Gary’s beloved puppy who had gone missing from his garden more than two years earlier having been frightened by local fireworks (seriously, can we just culturally dump these things?)

Mr Gary reached out to the news desk of Channel 6 and was finally reunited with his cherished Payday, who recognised Mr Gary and his family immediately and is now safely back home.

Never underestimate the power of the underbite.

Employment hacks

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Mr White Hat, a hacker who knows all the tricks of the trade, busts through the cyber security of a leading cryptocurrency trading site. He steals $600 million in crypto. Rather than seeking legal action against Mr White Hat, the company offer him a chance to turn things around by taking a job working for them to help them stop hackers like him from ever robbing them blind again.

No, this isn’t the first act of a mid-90s cyber-thriller starring a Colin Farrell type. One of those films that uses neon green laser wires on a screen to represent “technology”, cuts to endless close-ups of keyboards being pounded with reckless abandon so we know OUR MAN IS GOOD AT COMPUTERS, and just generally features a sloshing wave of the tech-phobia you’d expect from a generation still using AOL.

No, this is real life.

Mr White Hat—like any hacker worth his salt, real name unknown— stole over half a billion dollars from cryptocurrency company Poly Network. And now he is their Chief Security Advisor.

Poly Network even offered him a $500,000 reward if he could track down the specific flaw in their structure that allowed him to breach their security. Mr White Hat rejected the money and returned what he stole, though has accepted the position within the company.

So next time you’re bored of adjusting punctuation on your CV in the hope it will make you stand out to prospective employers, stop, and realise there’s a better way. Rob those suckers blind and then they’re sure to give you a job.

Though if the police catch you, we will delete this blog, deny its existence and burn our servers to the ground while a trance soundtrack throbs in the background. Because we want to live in a cyber thriller too.

Sicky Tiky Gang Sang

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The Sopranos was a hit noughties television show about a New Jersey mob boss and his gang’s escapades, which often included putting people in hospital.

Enrique Rodriguez is a former New Jersey gang member turned soprano (get it?) who serenades people in hospitals.

Okay, so the link is tenuous, but this is the Brightside blog, not Dostoyevsky. Let’s move our focus to Enrique’s inspiring story.

After posting videos of multiple bedside serenades to his TikTok page, the 28-year-old Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital worker went viral—his account now boasting more than 80,000 followers.

But Enrique’s life used to be very different. He first became involved with gangs in 2009 after his brother went to prison, saying he felt disconnected from his loved ones and fell into “the wrong kind of family.”

After three years spent in a cycle of violent manipulation at the hands of this ‘family’, Enrique hit rock bottom when retribution for one of his crimes saw a rival gang make two attempts on his mother’s life.

The attempted assailants were arrested and charged, but Enrique’s eyes were opened. He left the gang life and turned to God. In 2012 he got a job at the hospital as a housekeeper and a year later completed training to become a patient carer in the ICU.

He has since risen to phlebotomist and is battling away against the Covid crisis while still taking time to sing to sickly patients in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

Enrique taught himself to play both the piano and the guitar and practiced by playing in front of several patients on the ward.

“I love what I do and I believe my purpose in this world is to help other people,” he said.

You can follow Enrique’s videos on his TikTok channel @thesingingphlebotomist.

And why not follow his mantra too? After all, we could all do with putting a little more effort in to help others from time to time.

Missed the last Brightside Blog? Check out Volume 6 now!

  • 31st August 2021
  • 8 min read
  • Robert Darke
  • Categories

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