A wonderful story of charity in wake of Sandy tragedy. “Homeland” has Brody all kinds of pissed off. And a small town in Md. enjoys a baseball miracle

There are so many awful stories we’ve heard about Hurricane Sandy: People losing their houses, their businesses, their lives, everything they’ve ever worked for.

But if you look hard enough, even in tragedy you can see extreme acts of kindness. Like this one:

A 19-year-old college student named Zoe Everett found out while at school that both her parents had been killed in the storm when a tree hit the truck they were driving.
Amazingly, her two younger siblings who were in the car survived, as did a third sibling who wasn’t with the family at the time of the accident.

Zoe immediately decided to drop out of school and raise her brothers and sister, and she wrote a short message asking for a little help on a website called WishUponAHero.com.

Zoe was hoping to raise $5,000 to help with groceries and other supplies.

“I now have two goals: Caring for and being guardian of my three younger siblings and keeping my family in the house we grew up in,” she wrote. “I love them more than they could ever fathom and I am ready and willing to put any amount of weight on my shoulders to lessen the load on theirs.”

Through the generosity of strangers who read her post, $56,000 was raised, and the messages of support poured in.

Think of stories like this one (click through to see what people wrote to Zoe) the next time you think the whole world is rotten, full of nothing but selfish, uncaring people.


**The writers and directors of “Homeland” seem to have lost their way a little bit, the past few episodes.
I really liked a lot of Sunday night’s show, especially (as always) the scenes with Carrie and Brody. (It’s awesome how you can’t tell in any scene whether Carrie is really in love with Brody or just playing on him. God, Claire Danes is awesome).

I also thought it was fascinating watching Brody wrestle with who he wished he could be, who he is now, and how he can change who he’ll be in the future.

But the whole tie-in of the Finn-Dana storyline to real-world events really seemed forced and silly to me. First of all, why would his kid being in a hit-and-run be such a huge deal to Walden? He’s not even officially running for President yet, as far as we know.
And second, how is it that Brody seems to have so much power over his “double agent” duties? Couldn’t they basically throw him in jail for the rest of his life at any moment? Yet they seem to be trying real hard to place him.
Still, Sunday night had some great moments; Saul and the female prisoner Eileen were great together; I so wish “Homeland” would use Mandy Patinkin more.

But there are starting to be a lot of glaring holes in the plot, like: Wouldn’t the fact that 6 CIA agents were assassinated lead to some kind of major retaliation or investigation by the government, and wouldn’t Brody’s “deal” have to be revealed to a lot of other people?

“Homeland,” I love you too much to see you go downhill. I’m hoping the next few episodes can hook me back in, like last week’s did.

And oh yeah, more proof “Homeland” is on the pop-culture map: Check out this pretty good spoof on last week’s Saturday Night Live:

**Finally, this story knocked me out when I read it in Sports Illustrated last week, but they didn’t put the story online until this week so I waited to blog about it. Chris Ballard, a terribly gifted writer, has the story of a high school baseball team in Williamsport, Md., who, in the span of three years, saw a famous alumni in the big leagues, and the star pitcher of the 2012 team, die in tragic car accidents.

How the team and the town came together under a coach still in his 20’s is one of the best stories I’ve read in a long, long time.

Check it out here.

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