The Upbeat Everyday Acts
  • Joe Biden compliments boy on chocolate bullet idea

    Joe Biden compliments a boy on his chocolate bullet idea. (Jenny Aicher/AP)Joe Biden compliments a boy on his chocolate bullet idea. (Jenny Aicher/AP)

    Vice President Joe Biden wrote back to a 7-year-old Wisconsin boy to thank him for his idea on how to make the country a safer place. The boy's plan: chocolate bullets.

    The second-grader wrote Biden suggesting that if guns fired chocolate bullets, no one would get hurt. Presumably because nobody would want to fire their weapons because (just about) everybody loves chocolate. Or maybe chocolate bullets would move really slowly? We're a little hazy on the specifics, but no matter. What counts is that Biden likes the plan.

    So much so that the vice president sent the boy a handwritten response:

    Dear Myles,

    I am sorry it took me so very long to respond to your letter. I really like your idea. If we had guns that shot chocolate, not only would our country be safer, it would be happier. People love chocolate.

    You are a good boy,

    Joe Biden

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  • Emma poses in style of fashion icon Coco Chanel (sans cigarette, of course) (Jaime Moore)Emma poses in the style of fashion icon Coco Chanel (sans cigarette, of course). (Jaime Moore)

    Photographer Jaime Moore would like to be clear: She's got nothing against Disney princesses. It's just that she'd like her five-year-old daughter, Emma, to have an appreciation for real life heroines.

    Emma poses as aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart (Jaime Moore)Emma poses as aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart (Jaime Moore)

    On her official site, Moore writes that all those do-it-yourself sites that instruct parents on how to dress their daughters like princesses got her "thinking about all the REAL women for my daughter to know about and look up too, REAL women who without ever meeting Emma have changed her life for the better."

    Emma as Helen Keller (Jaime Moore)Emma as Helen Keller (Jaime Moore)

    So Moore set about photographing her daughter dressed as some of history's ground-breaking females. Women like Coco Chanel and Susan B. Anthony and Helen Keller. Moore writes, "My daughter wasn’t born into royalty, but she was born into a country where she can now vote, become a doctor, a pilot, an astronaut, or even President if she wants and that’s what REALLY matters."

    Elect Emma in 2044 (Jaime Moore)Elect Emma in 2044 (Jaime Moore)

    For the complete set of photos, check out Moore's official site.

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  • American Heart Association: Dogs are good for the heart

    Dogs are good for you (Thinkstock)Dogs are good for you (Thinkstock)

    The American Heart Association (AHA) has declared that pets, especially dogs, are good for a person's heart. Further proof that dogs are among the best friends a person could have.

    Dr. Glenn N. Levine, director of Baylor University's cardiac care unit, was quoted in a press release from the AHA saying, "Pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, is probably associated with a decreased risk of heart disease."

    The AHA writes that owning a dog "may help reduce cardiovascular risk," perhaps due to dogs bugging their owners into taking them for walks on a regular basis. Dog owners were, according to the AHA's studies, 54 percent more likely than non-dog owners to get the suggested amount of exercise.

    And the benefits don't stop there. The AHA writes that owning a pet in general "may be associated with lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels" as well as a lower rate of obesity. Pets can also help a person cope with stressful situations. Last month, a team of therapy dogs traveled to

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  • Vet, 90, gets back dog tag he lost during World War II

    File photo of dog tag (Thinkstock)File photo of a dog tag (Thinkstock)

    Willie Wilkins served in France during World War II, where he worked in the Army's Quartermaster Graves Registration Units. His job entailed retrieving the bodies of American soldiers. At some point, he lost his dog tag.

    NJ.com reports that Wilkins, 90, recently had his dog tag returned to him from a woman who found it in France back in 2001.

    Anne-Marie Crespo was digging near a tree in her yard more than a decade ago when she discovered the small metallic tag. She assumed the soldier had died. It wasn't until recently that a neighbor convinced her to track down Wilkins.

    Crespo contacted her government, which reached out to the U.S. Army. The Army tracked down Carol Wilkins, daughter of Willie.

    Following the dog tag's return, Wilkins was honored with a ceremony at Newark City Hall, attended by Mayor Cory Booker and Bertrand Lortholary, the French Consul General in New York City. According to NJ.com, Lortholary praised American soldiers like Wilkins, who helped to liberate France

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  • N.J. teens aim for canned food record

    A student on the pyramid of cans (Jim Occi/NJ.com)A student on the pyramid of cans. (Jim Occi/NJ.com)

    A group of teens from Cranford, N.J., have collected more than 25,000 cans of food in order to construct a pyramid, set a world record and help feed the hungry.

    NJ.com reports that, although the exact number of cans is still unconfirmed by Guinness, it's believed the teens have likely set a record for largest pyramid made of cans. The tin wonder stands more than 15 feet high.

    It was constructed by members of the Cranford Teen Advisory Board. They began building the pyramid at 8 a.m. on a Saturday and weren't finished until 10 p.m., according to NJ.com.

    Approximately 20,000 cans came courtesy of ShopRite grocery stores. Teens collected the rest of the cans. When the pyramid is dismantled, the food will be donated to several different charities.

    NJToday.net reports that it will take Guinness six to eight weeks to confirm the unofficial record. Adult leader Mark Dingelstedt spoke to NJToday.net about the experience:

    The builders averaged approximately 2,000 cans per hour. At times,

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