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Category Archives: Superhero Alerts (Become a hero!)

How to change the world using your food – an interview with a professional chef (#becomingareallifesuperhero #superheroalert)

Why did I interview a professional chef on a superhero channel?

Let’s back up.

There is no moon where I am, right now, at least not that I can see. The slow breathing of the person beside me, and the occasional shuffle of the little bird asleep in her hidey hole on the other side of the bed, do little to break up the oppressive silence of the night. So I wear headphones playing something until I fall asleep, but I am awake listening, through most of the hours, for the honk of an alarmed duck–the honk that has summoned me on several occasions to run outside in an old, bag of a dress, clutching my hand-hewn axe. I have scared off a coyote and an owl this way; once, when I couldn’t find my axe, I whacked an opossum on the butt with my shovel to keep him away from my ducks.

I usually can’t fall asleep until daybreak. Not because of the ducks. Other reasons.

I remember night-time watches, ready to rush at a moment’s notice to a baby’s delivery, or the bedside of an ill elderly person, and I remember my nights in medical school prowling the streets in search of people in severe need.

I remember my frustration that house-having people like me would feel good about themselves after these rounds, while to my eyes, the people we served still hadn’t had their problems solved–they were still homeless, still lacked access to medical care, still suffered severe drug addiction or some form of legitimized slavery.

The cool actions that bring the act-or glory aren’t enough to solve the long-term problems.

Look, by definition a superhero needs to have the ability to do those short-term actions–needs to go out on the rooftop, learn a martial art, put their life into serving, be willing to be the one who gets shot if shooting can’t be avoided altogether.

Otherwise they’re just a nice person or whatever, or perhaps a woke thinker, not a superhero.

But if a superhero is to be actually effective, they’re going to have to learn beyond those short-term actions, and think about the big picture things (which is why in many iterations of Batman, in addition to funding most superheroes he also runs these nonprofit projects for medical research, the environment, the poor, and so forth).

Someone who ONLY thinks big picture is just an activist or a politician. You gotta have the down and dirty actions to be a superhero.

But to help us think about the big picture, I’ve done a series of interviews about some of the “big picture” processes that create heroes and happiness.

For the first of these interviews, I sat down with Chef Giang Luu to talk about how we can use FOOD at the granular level–to be nice–and at the larger, big picture level, to make the world a better place.

I certainly hope you’ll take the time to take a look.

And if you’d like to get regular superhero alerts from me each week, join me here on email!

And check out the Becoming A Real Life Superhero channel, too.


Are you the hero I’ve been looking for?

Heroes needed: ongoing calls for hands-on superheroism


Are you in?

tips, hero highlights, and easy calls for you to make a difference.


Don’t forget to drop your e-mail address so you can get secret alerts, too.

We also have a new YouTube channel where I’ll share practical tips to become a superhero!

Or, click READ MORE for the list of nonprofits I support monthly (your purchases help). In the READ MORE, you can also answer or post special requests for hardcore, life-changing, above-and-beyond superheroism.

Choose your adventure!

Read More…

How to choose a martial art for your real life superhero journey #superheroalert

How do we choose the best martial art for becoming a real life superhero? We interviewed Calvin Cunningham, a military combatives champion and BJJ coach at the prestigious DeepWaters Gym in South Carolina. Watch the vid above! If you’re interested in taking virtual classes with Calvin, get in touch with me at jen at becominghero dot ninja and I’ll hook you up.

Ready to explore what it could take to become a superhero? Get the five day free course here and you may be eligible for the superhero resource list.

Read More…

Don’t let supremacists win – Democrat or Republican. Keep refugee families together! #superheroalert #humanrights Sign the petition now.

Today’s #superheroalert is taken and amended from FAMILIES BELONG TOGETHER:

The Biden administration announced they’re considering keeping Trump and Stephen Miller’s historically low refugee admission caps. This is in direct contradiction to his earlier promise to raise the refugee admissions cap to 60,000.
We don’t get to pick and choose when we recognize the humanity of those who are fleeing violence, period. Not only does it break an earlier promise by the Biden administration, it also flies in the face of our efforts to fight for our values: Treating children and families with compassion, dignity, and humanity.
Let me be clear: We as a nation are perfectly capable of welcoming families in a fair and compassionate way. We can strive for better, and we cannot take our cues from Stephen Miller — a known white supremacist — who sadistically attacked children.
Please add your name to the petition to demand the administration revisit this announcement immediately.
Want to stay on top of the latest ACTIONS you can take to help others, plus STORIES to inspire you with positive news? Get on the #superheroalerts list here.

Practical ways to stop deforestation by allying with local populations instead of shaming them #superheroalert #sustainability

Today’s superheroalert is an extremely informative one, and I’d like to highlight the latter half of it in particular, with practical solutions to deforestation.

One problem with a lot of our Hollywood-driven attitudes towards deforestation is that we envision these Ferngully bad guys mowing down the Amazon while cackling evilly…when in reality, the people “mowing down the Amazon,” are, for the most part, poor people who need food and money, and have no other options.

This phenomenal, heavily researched article includes a number of solutions that work together with local peoples instead of just handing down mandates from afar (which is an unfortunate tendency of the wealthy nations that run the UN).

So I hope you’ll check out the article and see how you can help on a practical level!

Call on @Discovercard to pull its support for @PornHub, which continues to support rapists by allowing uploads without written proof of consent and age. #fem2 #metoo

Bottom line up front: contact DiscoverCard here and ask them to pull their support from PornHub, which continues to allow child abuse and rape on their site.

If you’re hesitant, I’d like you to take some time to read about Rose Kalemba. She was raped at 14, and her assaulters thought it was such a great time that they uploaded it to PornHub for millions of other people to take advantage of. PornHub does not make it difficult to become a verified user, and does not require any kind of proof of consent or age from people in videos before they are uploaded. Even after PornHub was aware of the situation, they refused to take action for a long time.

And after Rose finally won her battle to get her rape removed from PornHub, she was personally attacked by people within the industry, who even went so far as to kill her cat.

Read More…

If you do travel, consider using a carbon offset calculator to lessen your impact on the environment. #dogood #sustainability #superheroalert

If you do travel, consider using a carbon offset calculator to lessen your impact on the environment! Easy superheroalert for you today. MakeUseOf did a great article with FIVE different carbon offset calculators that you can use.

What’s a carbon offset calculator? It’s when you find out how much carbon pollution your activity is emitting, and you find ways to make up for that pollution with various different activities to basically put your output back down to zero.

There’s also a browser add-on you can use to actually off-set the carbon costs of your online shopping this holiday season, too. They’re called CarbonCroc–they contacted me on Twitter after I posted this.

If you’re still confused about what carbon off-setting is, it’s kind of like doing penance in the Catholic church way back in the day. “Forgive me, environment, for I have sinned…” “Okay, go plant ten trees.”

While that metaphor absolutely makes me laugh, it’s true that we can be a little judgmental about how we take care of the world, and I don’t want that for anyone. I want to be conscientious, but kind, and human-focused. And, of course, ultimately focused on the reason I want to preserve the world: because it showcases and glorifies the Divine, and sustains so many wonderfully-made people to do the same!


Child’s Play Donates Toys To Kids In Hospitals and Abuse Shelters #superheroalert Check them out @CPCharity

For your superheroalert today, I’d like to mention Penny Arcade’s Child Play charity. They donate toys and video games to suffering children in abuse shelters and hospitals, to bring a little bit of light to dark young lives. It’s hard to imagine anything more innocuous and sweet. Best of all, their yearly auction dinner is going virtual this year, which means YOU can attend, bid on some crazy awesome prizes and gifts for yourself and your family, and give those proceeds to help kids! Rad, right? Check out the auction here. Or, watch the video below!


Despite bullets and poverty, Isabel saves orphans in Liberia. #superheroalert #dogood

Isabel grew up in Liberia around the time of the Civil War. Four of her siblings were killed during the war, one by an accident she never specifies, one by raging diarrhea–one of the leading causes of death in the majority world; there was a sister whose death I cannot remember, and another, most horribly, she describes as being butchered like an animal, chopped into pieces. The way she looks away when describing this tells me she saw this happen right in front of her.

I first met Isabel when I was working late in a military hospital here in the US. She was working as a janitor, and I thought I would give her some cookies. I wanted to reach out to her, and show her some kindness.

How absolutely silly–there is a verse in Hebrews that says that the lesser is blessed by the greater. We didn’t have much time to talk that night, but over the following evenings the scattered conversation she shared with a lonely family medicine resident became my comfort, my blessing, from this woman so much greater than I.

The janitors at CRDAMC in Fort Hood in the US are treated with no mercy. If they miss a day of work by accident, they can be instantly fired. The other two I came to know through Isabel both had health problems not effectively treated by their insurance; one young Liberian found herself up against a several hundred dollar charge for the flu that she could not pay, so she never got treatment for her back problems. Another woman was not given appropriately early evaluation for a mass in her spine, likely because it was too difficult to explain things through her thick language challenges; even though the correct standard of care is to ask for a translator, she was never once offered one in her visits to her military PCM.

Isabel never complained. And one day–perhaps over lunch, perhaps at the hospital–she told me about her orphanage.

Read More…

Driving scammers insane #superheroalert

Do you have a special skill? And an internet connection? And a little free time?

You could consider driving scammers insane. That’s what this young man uses his computer security training to do! Basically, he wastes as much of their time as possible to keep them from calling and robbing their REAL victims. Sometimes he makes them so angry they’ll be truly incapable of scamming anyone else that day. Check it out (this superhero alert pretty much speaks for itself):


Even more powerful, is this guy, Jim Browning. Watch this video where he terrifies a scammer with a picture of the scammer’s wife and child:

As always, I always try to draw you to action. If you get targeted with a scam, and have time to try to slow them down, try to get as much information as possible from the scammer. Submit the phone numbers and information to the FBI, and cybersecurity crimes divisions, online here. and to scammer.info where anti-scamming people can try to take them down. Leave their fake companies bad reviews on Google, Microsoft, and the Better Business Bureau websites. You should also forward scam emails to me@rescam.org, because there is a computer AI there being developed on rescam.org to waste scammers’ time and analyze their actions to tie up their robocalls so they can’t hurt people.

There’s a really great account of how Jim Browning and his friends took down an entire multimillion dollar scam operation in India. Unfortunately, unless you live in the country where the scammer lives, your government agencies may not be able to do anything, so the strongest defense is just to never give out your information, and never interact with these people on your personal computer or phone. The strongest offense…seems to be to turn to the dark web computer superheroes willing to take these jerks down. Some of them will even trick the scammers into downloading viruses. What they’re doing isn’t always legal everywhere, but it helps so many people. You can support people like Jim Browning on Patreon. And if you want to learn how to “scambait” yourself, you can go to scammer.info for tips and tricks. If you do that, don’t use a phone number or computer that you care about! And if you’re handy with a VPN yourself, maybe it’s your turn to stop evil online!

Stay safe out there, heroes.

Want more free ways to make a difference? Get superheroalerts sent to you weekly with a free fiction digest. Or check out today’s Random Act of Kindness from my special Random Act of Kindness Generator!

Thinking Housing? Pheonix Commotion teaches unskilled laborers to build low-cost homes out of recycled goods! Learn how you can get involved @phxcom #superheroalert #dogood

My favorite Phoenix Commotion Home

This is such a cool initiative. These guys turn trash into healthy, affordable homes–while using the housing projects themselves to create jobs. And they have teaching materials in place to help you get involved yourself.

I know. You’re sure there’s a catch. We’ve all grown up believing environmentally friendly living has to be expensive. But…

Read More…

Flo Mims’ Operation Heart Helps Those In Need In The Streets #superheroalert You can help, too! #covidrelief

Recently Flo Mims reached out to me to chat about her work providing for the needs of people who live on the streets of large cities in the Southern US. I’m really excited, especially in this global time of need, to share her little interview with you about her work, Operation Heart! Flo works as a vehicle driver, and has taken advantage of her geographical range to find people in need around her; her wide-reaching “day-job” has given her the ability to travel to help people.

I think this is a fantastic lesson in using your paid job to help you find opportunities for real superhero work. You have been put where you are for a reason.

Read More…

Police violence: You know there’s a problem. Here are scientific solutions. Act, dear one! #blacklivesmatter #superheroalert

You know what’s happening. Do something useful about it. There’s a sample letter for your representatives on police violence below. It links to data-driven solutions based on validated research, and written to appeal to whatever side your rep might be on. DO include the first sentence–I have a representative I DO NOT LIKE and still found something he did that I could compliment. Convince these people. Protecting Black lives protects everyone.
Subject: Please implement data-driven solutions to the violence in my area
Thank-you for your work on THING I APPRECIATED. I won’t take up much of your time, because as a physician I understand a busy schedule, but as a scientist I know data matters. I wanted to ask that you apply evidence-based solutions, instead of emotional reactions, to violence in our area–especially in light of the recent uptick in violence, unconstitutional curfews, and the President’s overreach against freedom of speech and assembly. Specifically, please aggressively implement the policy packet available for you at https://www.joincampaignzero.org
There, you will find data-driven research that will decrease the deficit, decrease the unjust prison population, and most importantly, decrease violence and keep our citizens safe. Specifically, please consider the solutions that end broken windows policing, implement independent investigation into police misconduct, end for-profit policing, and improve the mandatory use of body cameras to protect both police and our citizens.
Thank-you for taking the time to consider data over rhetoric, and thank-you for the work you do for our community.
Best wishes,
Jen Finelli, MD
Want more free ways to make a difference? Get superheroalerts sent to you weekly with a free fiction digest. Or check out today’s Random Act of Kindness from my special Random Act of Kindness Generator!

Boycott GoFundMe For Discriminating Against Low-Income Nation Pregnant Woman #superheroalert #womenshealth #cancel

Pregnant Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | ShutterstockAs a physician and women’s health equality advocate, I am deeply disturbed that GoFundMe withheld $2,700 in support from a mother in Zimbabwe during Choice42’s fundraising campaign.

Here are the facts. In the past, GoFundMe corporate leadership publicly organized support for Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile, recent reports state GoFundMe denied support for a pregnant woman in Zimbabwe while allowing the same support, through the same fundraising charity (Choice42), for pregnant women in the United States and Canada. Choice42 followed all GoFundMe protocol exactly the same way for all three mothers.

Put together, these events demonstrate a deep anti-woman hypocrisy that, on the surface, also appears motivated by regionalist and racist tendencies. These discriminatory attitudes are, unfortunately, quite common in modern women’s health activism: I have literally read public health books by pro-euthanasia organizations pushing impoverished, “undesirable” women to have less children in favor of the outdated “rich white babies only” Malthusian population model. In fact, in the US, clinical abortion surveys demonstrate that 30 percent of Black people in my generation have been systematically eliminated by the subtle public health measures that target minority areas over wealthy white suburbia. It appears that, like other health discrimination “charities,” GoFundMe does not believe everyone is welcome on this planet–just members of wealthy nations and privileged social groups.

I have previously raised support on GoFundMe for a friend in need in Uganda, and supported various other medical needs campaigns there–I will be doing so no more. Unless GoFundMe provides an adequate answer quickly, and releases funds to support this woman in need, I will be initiating a boycott of GoFundMe for all my future fundraising needs. I will also begin posting weekly about GoFundMe’s discriminatory behavior until the issue is resolved. The world doesn’t need GoFundMe: Paypal and Change.org both offer fundraising options. I invite you to please contact GoFundMe for further information about Choice42’s campaign.

Choice42’s support for women suffering health disparities can be found here: https://www.choice42.com/resources

You will need the GoFundMe campaign URL for the Zimbabwean woman to contact GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-cover-birth-expenses-for-young-mom

The contact form lives here: https://www.gofundme.com/contact/suggest

Thank you for caring about women in need.

Jen Finelli, MD

Want more free ways to make a difference? Get superheroalerts sent to you weekly with a free fiction digest. Or check out today’s Random Act of Kindness from my special Random Act of Kindness Generator!

Saving Lives From Malaria – With Paper and Rubber Bands #superheroalert

For some good news, have you heard of this crazy ingenious malaria testing solution? As many of you know, the US eliminated malaria using DDT–but then internationally, with European assistance, banned the use of it in other nations due to environmental concerns. As a result, none of the lower income nations on the African continent had a chance to eliminate malaria cheaply before DDT disappeared. Kind of unfair, huh? Today scientists continue to struggle with cheap ways to diagnose and treat malaria in low-income areas, and new solutions for mosquito eradication range from the simple net to the unusual release of sterile males into the mosquito population. I was really excited to see the following video–check it out!

Want more free ways to make a difference? Get superheroalerts sent to you weekly with a free fiction digest. Or check out today’s Random Act of Kindness from my special Random Act of Kindness Generator!

The Day You Became a Tyrant – The True Hidden Tragedy of COVID19


Feedthehungry.org/ – Give to them, please, people are starving because of COVID19 lock-downs and power abuses. Ongoing hidden tragedies chronicled in this growing article,
each marked by date, with ways you can help speak out.

April 26th, Starving the Poor:

“The children have malaria and we are locked in–it is difficult to get medications.” At this point, the level of government control due to COVI19 in many countries is becoming tyrannical. This is a message I received from a close friend who runs an orphanage in Liberia, where they are only allowed to leave the house two hours a day. This makes it impossible for her to work, difficult for her to obtain medications for the children, and, ultimately threatens the existence of the orphanage as they struggle to obtain medications, food, and water. Because the panic over COVID19 has sparked blanket regulations instead of targeted solutions, people are suffering. People are dying.

Read More…

How to be a hero during COVID19 – FOCUSED solutions instead of mass blanket rules (Ft. Coronavirus Care Fund For Domestic Workers) #dogood #socent #superheroalert

I recently got an e-mail about emergency funds for writers.

I’m not going to lie, this irked me.

It irked me because as a writer, I know writers can work from home. In fact, with so many people quarantined to read books and watch television, things couldn’t be better for writers.

Meanwhile, the people truly affected by this insane over-the-top panic are the people who perform manual labor: the domestic workers, field laborers, mechanics, other personnel who cannot telework. Who don’t have the privilege to practice “social distancing.” I’m not saying manual-laborer-writers don’t exist, and I’m not saying that money-worthy emergencies never happen to writers like myself.

But I am saying as government-sanctioned panic destroys the world economy, pick carefully who you give your limited funds, and first support the people who need help the most. Be careful about “woe is me” attitudes from the rich (and in some ways we are all richer than we think). “Consider others’ needs above your own.”

So for today’s #superheroalert, I found a coronavirus care fund for domestic workers. I wanted to find a care fund for other manual laborers, like factory workers or field hands, so let me know, please, if you find such a thing and I will share it. We need targeted, realistic aid, like a sniper rifle, not spray and pray shotgun charity. In medicine, we learn to give specific treatments to people–a medication that works for one person might cause a side effect in another. That’s the principle that works in life, too: individualized solutions, not mass action. Not mass, everybody gets money, but instead focused money to the guys who can’t do without. Not mass quarantine, but focused care for the most vulnerable (the old). Don’t believe me? Look at Japan, where everyone is still working. Wonder why?

Focused solutions, not blanket rules.

So let me know if you find other focused ideas we can all help with.

MONEYWISE, you can take advantage of the quarantines by making money selling books on social media! Anyone can sign up for my affiliate program through Gumroad, and I’ll give you a special link that tracks your sales. You sell my books, you can get 50 percent profit on each sale. Let me know if that’s something you want–just get on my e-mail list to the right here and reply to the first e-mail you get.

Women’s Rights Without Frontiers: Saving Chinese Women From Forced Abortion and Slavery #superheroalert #fem2

SUPERHEROALERT: Women’s Rights without Frontiers saves women and children from forced abortion in China caused by the policy that limits the number of babies women are allowed to have. As you know, girls are disproportionately abandoned or aborted because of this policy–but you may not know that some women are forcibly held down and tied to a medical table as physicians rip their fetuses out of them against their will. The policy targets poor women, who cannot afford the government fees to buy the right to have a child; it also targets women in “undesirable” minority populations like Tibetan and Uyghur people groups. WRWF fights this by helping the impoverished pay the fees, or finding legal support and advocacy for threatened women. You can help them by funding them, spreading the word, signing their petition, writing to ambassadors to free Chen Guangcheng, or going to China yourself. They live at https://www.womensrightswithoutfrontiers.org/

Superheroes assemble!

Want more free ways to make a difference? Get superheroalerts sent to you weekly with a free fiction digest. Or check out today’s Random Act of Kindness from my special Random Act of Kindness Generator!

Human trafficking horror: baby slave factory #superheroalert How do you respond?

Last year, Nigerian police rescued 19 women who were kidnapped for the sake of becoming “baby factories.” I wanted to bring it up now as a reminder to educate yourself on human trafficking, and to brainstorm ways you can support and protect the vulnerable. Live Action News covers a lot of crimes against pregnant women and babies, internationally and through the US, so I encourage you to subscribe to them if you get the chance. They’re linked below:

RESCUED: Trafficked pregnant women freed from ‘baby factory’ in Nigeria

And, of course, you can educate yourself to become a hero, too, even if you’re not a police officer in Nigeria or some other fancy job. I really need you to do this. Why?

Read More…

Nathan Ssagala – Webcomic Artist and Designer

Nathan Ssagala is a Ugandan comics artist with skills in cover design, ad creation, website logos, and various other image creation abilities. He was one of the two comics artists originally supported by our Patreon, which seeks to promote and support education for new, rising creators, predominantly internationally. In 2019, he took over as the full Becoming Hero webcomic artist, t-shirt designer, and marketing imagery designer for a bunch of awesome tools we’re putting together for comics creators.

In November we ran into a huge bump in the road when Nathan was robbed. He e-mailed me recommending that I cut him from Becoming Hero comics, since he would no longer be able to work without his laptop. Around the same time, he sent me some troubling blurry videos, for safekeeping in case something happened to him–videos of police shooting live rounds at his University. Female students started to protest because when they couldn’t afford the new tuition raises, professors pressured them for sexual favors instead. Male students began to protest over the severe beatings that put female protestors in the hospital, aaaand so then for a while all the students at the school had to go into hiding.

So together, our Becoming Hero superheroalert squad raised enough money to buy a new laptop for Nathan, who’s already used it to earn money to help support his mother and pay for college. He’s back in school right now, and despite the frequent power outages and other challenges he faces, he’s literally the most dedicated artist I’ve worked with. He returns revisions faster than anyone I’ve known, and that counts even experienced artists who charge more than triple his rates. You will not go wrong requesting an image from him, and his art has improved dramatically over the past year. You can see his improving artwork at our free webcomic, https://www.becominghero.ninja/comic/ or samples like the one below he made for our instagram. His Instagram is https://www.instagram.com/nexus2.0/ and he’s starting his own design business! You can hire him for jobs over his Insta, actually, and help increase our artist funding over at patreon.com/becominghero. Nathan dreams of migrating to Canada and starting a full design business that he can use to support the street children back in his neighborhood. Check him out!

Mythical Entertainment Accepts “Big Agra” Pork Board Sponsorship – And It’s Weird for Free Speech (#GMM #agra superheroalert)

Good Mythical Morning, the popular YouTube channel hosted by “internetainers” Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal, released a video this month sponsored by the National Pork Board.

“Incorporate pork into your healthy diet,” states the video description.

This is problematic on a health, and an ethical level.

I’m not here to start fights or steal your bacon, but most of the medical community considers pork just about the most unhealthy meat you can consume. With nearly 20 grams per 300 calories, pork rings in at a whopping 10 to 20 percent fat average. It contains little to no vitamin content, and the B vitamins, Zinc, and Selenium it does contain exist plentifully in other protein sources with less stress on your digestive system. You can incorporate pork into a balanced keto diet, but that diet can kill you and should be used under careful supervision for particular health and performance needs.

In fact, as physicians in medical school we learn that only two or three diets have large scale medical evidence behind them, to include the Mediterranean and DASH diets; none of those diets routinely feature pork. Instead, I usually recommend that my patients increase Omega 3s and 6s found in plant-based and fish-based protein.

Regardless of what you consider healthy, this National Pork Board alliance also suffers from the ethical challenge of its factory farm roots. Just last year Mercy for Animals released hidden camera footage demonstrating piglets tortured by America’s large pork suppliers, and despite multiple attempts by Big Farming to make investigative reporting illegal, it doesn’t take more than a quick YouTube search to find undercover footage.

Read More…

What a child with special needs understands (that you don’t) – #superheroalert

The following true story is used with permission, by an old friend, who runs a business helping the elderly while she mothers her 32-year-old daughter. Her daughter, who we will call Lucy for protection, is generally nonverbal, and walks with some difficulty. She needs help eating and wiping her face, and requires much of the other care that a toddler does. I remember thinking, when I was little, that Lucy’s parents had sad, patient eyes, full of a love that knows suffering.

Let Lucy’s heart strengthen your hero journey.

Frequently I am asked, “How much does Lucy understand?” My standard reply has always been, “She understands what is in ‘her’ world.”

Certainly she understands her morning routine includes a caregiver getting her up and then feeding, bathing, and dressing her. She knows it is then time to leave the house for something fun: music therapy in Upperville, goat petting in Lowerville, people-watching in the park, or just local errand running. She has an infallible internal clock that tells her when it is time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and she has her bedtime routine down cold.

Lucy routinely has three responses, each used at the appropriate time: “hello,” “all done,” and “no.” Her receptive language is more extensive, as long as instructions are in the context of “her world.”

Or so I thought. Until tonight.

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Superheroalert: How to be evil and still save the world (a #becominghero superhero tip)

Not one of our barrel-riding nuns, but still pretty damn brave; this dear old lady helped Jews escape Hitler.

“Sister, this way!”

Over a dozen nuns dash from shadow to shadow under the stone arches of the cloister.

There, in the moist, cool German night, they crawl into huge wooden barrels, Bilbo Baggins style, to escape the forced nunnery they don’t believe in.

Can you imagine the heart-pounding fear and excitement–in a day when men would punish nuns who ran away–and the stifling smell of whatever food inhabited that barrel before you? The bone-aching bumping on the cobblestone roads; the voices outside the barrel; the hope that when it’s opened, it will be opened by someone you trust?

Read More…

Superheroalert: Save the Storks in New York

Hi there, it’s Jen again.

It‘s incredibly important to me, as a physician, that amidst all the misinformation and politics of the “pro-life”/”pro-choice” debate every woman has a chance to receive full scientific information about her body. I love performing ultrasounds because it’s the only time my pregnant women can SEE without relying on something I’m telling them. I don’t care very much about the political agendas various organizations have, because the labels pro-life and pro-choice don’t address the very complicated real scientific quandaries associated with childbearing; people who are “pro-life” are usually “pro” the “choice” of the baby, and people who are “pro-choice” usually don’t believe in destroying “life.” Beyond those philosophical generalities about rights–when do we address the reality of my actual patient hemorrhaging from misopristol while she digs frantically through the products of her abortion searching for a baby she suddenly realizes she wanted?

She will remember that for the rest of her life.

Most people simply don’t have all the scientific information they need to understand reproductive health consequences, and greedy physicians benefit from that monopoly of information. Doctor tells you a procedure’s no worse than a period, doctor doesn’t make sure you understand the cons, then you get procedure and doctor gets money. The more people doctor pushes through, the more money doctor gets. It’s basic economics.

That’s why I want to make sure women get free health information if at all possible. That’s why I like this organization, where ultrasound technicians are required to be informative and nonjudgmental, and women can get free, safe ultrasounds anywhere they are. They need support funding an ultrasound bus in New York. Will you help?

How can YOU reduce prison injustice and prevent violent crime? #superheroalert

Today’s #Superheroalert features LIFE AFTER LIFE documentary producer Tamara Perkins. LIFE AFTER LIFE follows three men who spend their entire lives in prison after committing crimes as teenagers. Today we question the problems with our incarceration system. Why does America incarcerate so many Black people? How come we had just over a couple hundreds thousand people in prison in the 1980s, and now have over 7.1 million? Are we really healing victims and making streets safer? Why is the overall “repeat offender” rate so high?

And most importantly, how can YOU protect a teenager from losing his or her entire life to the prison system?

Watch the Life After Life trailer at www.lifeafterlifemovie.com



Make tax-deductible donations to support Life After Life engagement via Bay Area Video Coalition HERE
Work directly with incarcerated people via PrisonFellowship and Kairos Prison Fellowship.
Prevent incarceration with Big Brother Big Sister
Learn how to support those coping with an incarcerated loved one (coping article inspired after the writer watched LIFE AFTER LIFE)
And remember to try your local church or look for groups run by formerly incarcerated citizens! Additionally, vote for cameras on police officers and rape kit testing to ensure that justice, not discrimination, is served. (Did you know some states don’t even hire people to test rape kits, so they get thrown away instead?)


Watch the Life After Life trailer at www.lifeafterlifemovie.com
Commune with Life After Life at:
Life After Life Viewing Guide and Educational Curriculum HERE
Watch videos and Tamara’s TED Talk to learn even more at: Life After: Embracing our Common Humanity and Live Free Together Campaign: Healing justice impacted communities

Tamara mentioned THE SENTENCING PROJECT and THE NEW JIM CROW, both resources where you can start digging deeper into the issues surrounding mass incarceration.

Jen mentioned this group: ThriveMovement.com



Jen Finelli is a physician, science fiction author, former reporter, therapist, and activist who wants to become a superhero one day. Because of her adventures Jen believes anyone can have a good idea: from prostitutes to Senators, from children to the aged, from the able to the unstable, liberal, conservative, libertarian or communist or alien conspiracy theorist. As a consequence, views expressed in these interviews may not necessarily be her own; Jen is not here to promote any organization, government, or political party (although she reserves the right to do so), but to find PRACTICAL ways YOU can make a difference.

So if you find yourself hearing ideas you hate, that’s expected–stick around to extract the PRACTICAL, #dogood “baby” from the “bathwater” of ideology and politics. To find more #superheroalerts, go to http://becominghero.ninja/category/superhero-alerts-become-a-hero/

How will you show EXTREME kindness today?

Read BECOMING HERO, about the comic book reader who becomes a hero to the superheroes, on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever books are sold: http://becominghero.ninja/

#Superheroalert: The American Board of ObGyn IS LIMITING WOMEN’S #ACCESSTOCARE

UPDATE: HERE IS THE PORTAL TO SEND YOUR COMMENTS TO SAVE OBGYN HEALTHCARE: https://www.acgme.org/What-We-Do/Accreditation/New-Specialty-or-Subspecialty-Proposals Please e-mail the template at the bottom of this post to cfpcomments@acgme.org! DEADLINE IS JANUARY 23!!!


My dear superheroes, certain members of the American Board of ObGyn ARE LIMITING WOMEN’S ACCESS TO GYN CARE by decreasing the number of ObGyn residencies in the country.

If you decrease the number of ObGyn residencies, you make less ObGyns. That means less doctors to help women through cancers, childbirth, and trauma.

How are some ABOG members hurting women? By adding a new board certification called “Complex Family Planning”. This happened at the Sept 11 ABMS meeting. If this goes national, every ObGyn residency would have to have an expert who performs Complex Family Planning (and every resident may be required to get certified). This will require many residencies to close.


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#Superheroalert: Does your state bother to examine evidence for rape?

“Women shouldn’t have to hold a bake sale to get justice.”

Does your state actually test evidence after rape?

Did you know many states don’t fund rape kit testing? To translate that, some states don’t pay anyone to examine the evidence collected from rape victims’ bodies for years at a time. Missouri has a backlog of 5000 kits that haven’t been examined; in Texas, women are now crowdfunding rape kit testing. I’m all for crowdfunding, but this isn’t a park or an art fair we are talking about, this is CRIMINAL JUSTICE. This is the entire point of the government; this is what the government exists to pay for, even under the strictest libertarian definition of government.

Are we seriously paying for libraries and public schools and art fairs and monuments while we ignore actual crimes against women because we can’t bother to pay to test the evidence?

Do something about it.

Find out how your state does below, and then submit a letter to your representatives. Feel free to rip off mine.


Dear Tallahassee representatives,

Our state has 14,435 untested rape kits, and has enacted only modest reform to change this.

This means we have 14,435 women and men, mostly from low-income settings, still waiting for justice.

It is appalling that funding rape investigation is not our main priority. Even under the strictest libertarian definition of government, government exists to protect people from each other. When we have rapists going free because we can’t be bothered to make rape kit testing our priority, we as a state make the clear statement that we don’t give a damn about Florida women, who suffer the brunt of these gendered crimes. As a healthcare provider and a woman in the military, I am horrified to find that we are behind Missouri and even Texas.

Are we seriously paying for libraries and public schools and art fairs and monuments while we ignore horrific violence because we can’t bother to pay to test the evidence?

Do something about it.

Very respectfully,

Jen Finelli Veldhuyzen, MD


To read more about the issue, follow @FeministsforLife on Twitter, and read their update about it here:

Dear Friend,
Rape kits are an essential tool to ensure justice for survivors of sexual assault. Years ago, it became a hot topic during a presidential election, only to find out that this was a widespread problem. When FFL President Serrin Foster looked into it, insurance brokers told her it was the norm. But there appeared to be a push for change.
So you can imagine our shock and disgust that some states STILL appear to treat rape kits as a second-tier priority.
In Texas, rape kits areactually being crowdfunded by allowing Texans to donate to a state account when they renew their driver’s licenses. Texas has a backlog of more than 3,500 untested rape kits, and each kit costs between $500 and $2,000 to test.
“It’s great that people are donating in Texas to get rape kits tested, but it shouldn’t be up to crowdfunding or donations during driver’s license renewals. This isn’t about funding a community park. This is rape,” Foster said. “And victims of serious crimes deserve to have the evidence tested and kept until the perpetrator is arrested.”
Meanwhile, in Missouri, a backlog over nearly 5,000 rape kits finally promptedpassage of a law creating guidelines for testing, processing, and storing rape kits.
The state attorney general found that approximately one-third of law-enforcement agencies destroyed evidence before the Department of Justice-recommended period of 20 years.
“If they aren’t going to do anything with the evidence, what is the point of having a rape victim suffer through a humiliating, invasive procedure, including photographic evidence in front of a police officer as well as medical staff?” Foster asked. “And can you imagine the frustration of the police officer who does everything possible to help ID the perpetrator, only to let the evidence go unexamined or destroyed, knowing the rapist could go on to assault others?”
FFL Speaker and rape survivor Joyce McCauley-Benner also shares Foster’s outrage:
“Words fail me,” McCauley-Benner said upon learning that some hospitals don’t know how long to retain a rape kit after testing or even where to send it.
“This sends a message that victims are meaningless and not a priority. And we wonder why many victims see no point in coming forward. It’s not taken seriously, and I think it’s even more cruel to do the rape kit itself and then just let it sit or destroy it. You make her relive the horror then, in effect, say, ‘Sorry, never mind. We won’t get to that anyway.'”
McCauley-Benner finds crowdsourcing equally appalling: “Asking for donations is used for unique situations beyond one’s control, NOT for evidence in criminal justice cases. Women shouldn’t have to hold a bake sale to get justice,” McCauley-Benner concluded. “We really deserve better than that!”
According to End the Backlog, there are likely hundreds of thousands of rape kits nationwide that have yet to be tested, and over 225,000 untested rape kits have been uncovered thus far.
“THIS is criminal,” Foster said.
End the Backlog is a program of the Joyful Heart Foundation, the national nonprofit organization founded by actor and activist Mariska Hargitay.
Contact your state legislator today and urge her or him to support FULL funding and testing of ALL rape kits. Check out this map to see if your state measures up. Women — and men — who have been sexually assaulted deserve better.
Because women deserve better,
Damian J. Geminder
Media Coordinator and Editor
P.S. “reCLAIM YOUR VOICE,” FFL’s timely issue exploring the #MeToo movement using our unique pro-woman, pro-life voice, comes with membership. Join or rejoin us now if your support has lapsed ($35 minimum/$25 for student).
Other evergreen theme-based back issues of The American Feminist® are also available atwww.feministsforlife.org/covetable-stuff, including “Forward Into Light,” “A Crying Shame,” “Voices of Women — and Men — Who Mourn,” and “MANIPULATION.” Feminists for Life was the only pro-life group in the National Task Force on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence to work successfully for the Violence Against Women Act (as well as the only feminist group to support the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, aka Laci and Conner’s Law). Among other essential measures, VAWA introduced the federal rape shield law and also funded victim assistance services, including rape crisis centers and hotlines.

Superheroalert: 5 Ways YOU can help #PuertoRico TODAY! #dogood via @VargasVidot @BillyTaub & @PonceHealthSU

Aight, Superpeeps, another superheroalert. Bottom line up front: Join me in helping Puerto Rico recover by heading to the PMSFRELIEFFUND.org and iniciativacomunitaria.org.

Iniciativa Comunitaria normally works with clinics in the north of the island to help the homeless and reach out to Guatemala and Haiti, but now, with the disaster around them, they’re turning to local aid relief. They work with Puerto Rican Senator Vargas Vidot. I don’t know much about his politics, but I can tell you, having met him in person, his heart’s huge. Please read to the end of this article to read his truly inspirational speech about saving the soul of medicine!

My heart’s got a special place for the PHSU foundation, too. Since the crisis began, the students/faculty have provided medical and psychological support services and have been delivering over 100,000 lbs of privately donated goods and supplies to the residents, most of whom lost their homes and all of their possessions in the hurricane. That’s my alma mater, people!

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I know a hero when I see one. #superheroalert #dogood

This guy knows a hero when he sees one!

It’s another superhero alert–this one jokingly, to talk about how to warn people of danger. Don’t be a pretentious douchebag: if you believe in hell as an actual reality, for example, you should totally warn people about it, but there’s more than one way to have that conversation. If I don’t believe in it, you screaming at me probably won’t back my spirit away from the cliff I can’t see. It’s the same with suicide, alcohol abuse, or a brick on the street that might make a guy stumble. You come off as a jackass when you think you’re somehow special, somehow better than someone else.

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You Boycott Halloween to Save Black Cats (#superheroalert for @blackcatrescue #adopt)

from buttersafe.comThought that was pretty cute, huh? Buttersafe’s cool, you should check them out.

I wanted to bring up black cats for this #superheroalert because we’ve got Halloween coming up. More black cats are tortured and killed around this time of year than any other month, and that’s pretty messed up. The stereotypical activity of a superhero—rescuing a cat out of a tree for some little old lady, right? We should do that.

This year, I’m “rescuing” by boycotting Halloween.

“Wait, what? Why you gotta hate on Halloween? Why can’t you just NOT torture cats?”

Great point, imaginary person I invented for the sake of argument. Here’s the deal. If you look into the history of Halloween across multiple Western (usually Catholic) cultures, you’ll find it almost always revolves around people placating some dead spirit (benevolent or otherwise) or demon, which is actually kind of anti-humanist. You know, like we have to bow to cruel forces, rather than rebelling, because of fear. Fear’s a great thing to talk about, as hero-wanna-bes, because it’s a healthy way for us to remember our place in the Universe. We’re not the biggest thing. We’re not even the best thing. Fear is healthy sometimes. But when our fear becomes a celebration of, and a submission to, the tyranny of evil, we have a problem.

“Oh, silly Jen, you’re over-exaggerating. Dressing up as ghosts isn’t a ‘submission to the tyranny of evil.’”

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Michael Timm programs “#PokemonGo for water” to save his city! #superheroalert

Michael programmed a “Pokemon Go for water” to teach local Milwaukee natives how to protect their water—and to connect them with the history of the Great Lakes around them. He also made a board game for kids to learn about invasive quagga mussels–it helps them think practically about how to protect their environment from invasive species. Here, he gives tips on grant-writing, water conservation, and using your creative capacities for community good. All this and more in the above water stories with Michael Timm: using apps and games to improve environmental sustainability!

What will you do for your #superheroalert?

Check out other #superheroalerts at http://becominghero.ninja (search for superheroalert), where I talk about how to become a superhero!

Download Water Story Here: http://refloh2o.com/water-story/

Check out Michael’s other stuff at matimm.com

What I’ve learned about heroes by playing one (#actor @Ricky_Vision) #superheroalert

I have a lovely treat for you Superpeeps today! Wanna become a superhero? This is kind of an interview/guest post by superhero film actor @RickyDaVision: what can we learn about heroes by pretending to be them?

There are a lot of words that people often use to describe a superhero. Courageous, brave, sincere, compassionate, determined just to name a few. To be all of those things ultimately doesn’t require having the strength to move mountains or ability to read people’s minds.

(Although that definitely helps.)

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You live in a #scifi! How will you save the world? #superheroalert

I’m writing from the past to tell you that YOU live in the future.

I don’t mean that metaphorically. You live in a wild science fiction world that many people can’t even imagine, and you can impact and change that scifi tale if you want. Let me show you. Or, as a freaky man once put it, “I’d like to play a game.” Tell me which of these three technology scenarios is in development–or already working!–right now.

Home-grown Pancreas

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Help kids who can’t afford #pediatriccancer treatment by scaring yourself! #horror (#superheroalert)

Do you have a family member with cancer? Do you know a child with cancer?

We talk a bit about responsible shopping and consuming here on the #superheroalert blog, and I love this anthology because all the writers involved, all the editors, just came together to give money to families who can’t afford cancer treatment, through the National Children’s Cancer Society. If you like horror, it got nothing but good reviews. So yeah.

Click the picture to read my story “I Am Disease,” a zombie fairytale about addiction and cancer, in the acclaimed Bleed anthology. Let’s scare cancer silly.

Artful Spoons: Connecting chronically ill artists through #art #superheroalert

Hey SuperPeeps! Today we need to talk about art, and about how sometimes becoming a hero means celebrating someone else’s dreams. NGOs are discovering this, too–rather than handing out charity, or a one-time save, how can you help someone save themselves?Artful Spoons

#ArtfulSpoons is a hashtag and account on Twitter that celebrates the art of #spoonies, or people who are suffering chronic illnesses. We had a chat with Alex, who runs the account.

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The value of silence for superheroes. #superheroalert #inspiration

Ever noticed that Batman always makes his decisions of discovery alone?

I’m sure you’ve seen the brooding pictures of any number of superheroes, slumped over with their heads in their hands like the Thinker.

How much time do you give yourself, in silence, alone? Away from social media. Away from DOING THINGS. Away from the party and the work. How often do you check your life’s direction, and re-set your goals, and center yourself on what really matters to you as you take the next step? How often do you allow yourself to experience your grief, your doubts, and your questions about how the world works, and just work through the deep stuff? And then, how often do you let your mind grow blank, and just wait for inspiration?

How can you become a superhero if you can’t even save your own thoughts?

“We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.” ~ C.S. Lewis, ‘Weight of Glory’

If you want to become a superhero, you must get used to spending time alone.

Plastic Bottle Houses in Nigeria Help the Poor #superheroalert #sustainability

Hey Peeps! Just a short little post today–sharing a link to this Inhabitat piece about the plastic bottle house in Nigeria. The architects noticed that they had waaay too many plastic bottles, and way too few houses, so they thought that problem should solve itself.

What if we did something like this in the more temperate areas where you live to help homelessness? And more generally, how can you use the things you don’t like in your life to solve the problems for the things you need?

True superheroes know how to use the things no one wants to make a difference.



It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up. #superheroalert #inspiration

imagesYou remember those moments? The ones where a superhero makes you hold your breath. When Barry Allen, in Flashpoint, gets up and starts running even though there’s a huge spike jammed through his quads. When Peter Parker, at the end of the Ultimate Spiderman comic series, bows down before the spectres of all the enemies he’s ever faced, and gets up to keep fighting. Those moments when everything is broken, but the hero doesn’t give up.

Those moments…that make us want to become superheroes. Read More…

This huge firm designed a village where peeps with dementia can roam free. #superheroalert #alz

Real quick #superheroalert for you peeps. This village lets you wander without getting lost, because it’s actually a locked center with only one exit. As creepy and scifi as that sounds, it seems like a pretty good idea!

Critics are concerned about… Read More…

Give Everyone a Popsicle #superheroalert #inspiration

Great Buttersafe.com comic, go there now

Awesome comic by the good folks over at Buttersafe–you should click to see their site!

For this meditation on how to become a superhero, I wanted to share this little Buttersafe comic. (Go ahead, check them out!)

Why did is this appropriate for a superhero alert? Because maybe popsicles can stop global warming.

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