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The classrooms were empty.

Never did I expect to see my former high school, in Delaware, as the site of the Democratic National Convention on TV, but there it was. There was my study hall and my study hall teacher, who also happens to be the former second lady.

When I graduated college in Delaware, I hightailed it out of there, like most people my age. I had big dreams in New York. I wanted to be a writer.

That summer, my father was killed by a distracted driver. She’d gotten lost and pulled off a highway, picking up her phone at a red light to call for directions. She zoomed right through the next red and plowed into my dad, who was turning left. He died instantly. Or so I was told. I was 25, and decided to keep going. I inherited a small insurance settlement. I used it to stay in New York. It was how my dad would have wanted it, I thought.

Now, seventeen years later, those dreams had come true. I’d been published in national magazines and newspapers in addition to copyediting national magazines. But I still wasn’t fulfilled. No amount of career success could erase what had happened. I was still working on making it right.


“After our son Beau died of cancer, I wondered if I would ever smile or feel joy again,” the blond woman in the green shirtdress, Dr. Jill Biden, said on television. “It was summer, but there was no warmth left for me. Four days after Beau’s funeral, I watched Joe shave and put on his suit. I saw him steel himself in the mirror, take a breath, put his shoulders back and walk out into a world empty of our son. He went back to work. That’s just who he is. There are times when I couldn’t even imagine how he did it. How he put one foot in front of the other and kept going. But I’ve always understood why he did it…he does it for you. Joe’s purpose has always driven him forward. His strength of will is unstoppable, and his faith is unshakable. Because it’s not in politicians or political parties or even in himself — it’s in the providence of God.”


WATCH: Jill Biden’s full speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention | 2020 DNC Night 2

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A week after Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, my life took an unexpected turn, too.

My brother had just moved into his first condo. My husband and I drove the four hours up to Salem, Massachusetts, to see him. Once there, my brother and future sister-in-law revealed a treasure they’d discovered in their move: our father’s bucket list.

“Talk with the President.” “Correspond with the Pope.” “Surf in the Pacific.” It was the kind of thing you find and chuckle over. His indecipherable handwriting, the wild things this man from Delaware wanted to do. But I didn’t just laugh. I felt a pull to action. My husband felt it too.

“You have to finish this list,” he said. “And then write a book about it.”

I’d been an activist for three years, twisting my work as a journalist into a platform. But I hadn’t found the right medium. And the numbers of car fatalities kept going up.

“The burdens we carry are heavy, and we need someone with strong shoulders,” Dr. Biden continued. “I know that if we entrust this nation to Joe, he will do for your family what he did for ours. Bring us together and make us whole, carry us forward in our time of need, keep the promise of America for all of us.”

It’s not easy. Moving on, trying to make sense of unimaginable tragedy.

I’ve understood what families have gone through the past six months. I know the pain of getting a phone call to learn your father has died. There is a helplessness. An anger.

My dad never would have wanted me to talk about his death my whole life. My dad was hopeful, joyful, a storyteller. He would have wanted a better story.

“Be invited to a political convention” was item 53 on my dad’s bucket list. After “talk with the President,” it struck me as the least feasible. But in August 2019, I gave it a go. By then I’d checked off 27 of my dad’s dreams.

First I wrote to every Democratic candidate. Then I wrote to every college alum who worked for the press, to every TV show who’d interviewed me. Finally, I tried a University of Delaware alum who worked at the local paper. He said he had no connection to Biden, but could put me in touch with the Delaware Democratic state party.

The Delaware Democratic chairman was kind. He said if I was a registered Democrat, I could attend their next convention.

That sounded like an invitation to me.

I walked out of the New York skyscraper where I worked and just before I reached the subway stopped and cried. Of all the conventions I could have ended up going to, I’d never imagined one in my home state. The place I’d wanted nothing to do with 20 years ago. But it was exactly where my dad would have gone, had he checked this off himself.

A few months later, a story about my mission to finish my dad’s list was published in my college’s alumni magazine. It was to come out that spring.

But by then, the whole world had fallen apart.

My husband came home from work early on a Wednesday in March. “I’m not going back,” he said. “We have to work from home indefinitely.”

We jumped in the car and drove to Whole Foods to stock up. I texted everyone I knew, asking them how they were handling this craziness. I got no response.

The pandemic hadn’t hit them yet.

“We just need leadership worthy of our nation,” Dr. Biden said. “Worthy of you. Honest leadership to bring us back together, to recover from this pandemic and prepare for whatever else is next. Leadership to reimagine what our nation will be.”

In the next few weeks, I decided I wanted more than just an invite to a state convention. And so as the country shut down, I collected signatures to become a national delegate. I had to do it digitally because my state was sheltering in place. I attached a photo of myself in a tuxedo (another list item, “own a black tux”). I asked my neighbors to put down whatever they were doing and please sign my list. But then the governor waived the need for signatures.

A councilwoman in my town emailed me. She said she could get me in. She shared my story with a friend who shared it with another friend and next thing I knew, the Joe Biden campaign was hearing about me.

Weeks went by. My University of Delaware magazine article came out. They’d put me on the cover. People said my story gave them hope during an uncertain time. But I felt lost. Yes, my story was one of hope, but hope in a more simple time. Not hope during a time of 170,000 deaths, 5 million Americans ill and millions out of work in only five months!

My husband and I couldn’t even leave our house. I couldn’t see anyone I loved. How on earth could my words still make a difference?

“How do you make a broken family whole?” Dr. Biden said. “The same way you make a nation whole: with love and understanding and with small acts of kindness. With bravery, with unwavering faith. We show up for each other in big ways and small ones again and again.”

The sacrifices I’ve seen people make for my dad’s bucket list have been countless. It has changed my marriage for the better, thanks to my husband’s contributions. Every sibling, cousin, aunt and uncle has chipped in, as have my mom and stepdad and every friend. Every person I know has somehow turned out to be an expert on some list item. They’ve given me their time for free. Even strangers.

I’m richer in love because of this project, I have friends I never would have known. And they tell me they’re richer too.

In June I learned Biden had chosen his NJ delegates for the national convention, and I wasn’t one of them.

But by July I felt better about not receiving an invite. Because now, thanks to the pandemic, nobody would. The convention would be virtual, in an effort to protect people’s lives.

Then it was announced that even Biden wouldn’t travel to Milwaukee. He’d accept the nomination right there in Delaware.

The same state I’d already been invited to for the Delaware state convention. My mom texted me an hour before the second night of the DNC.

“Jill Biden is speaking from her classroom at Brandywine High School, Room 232.”

“What?” I said. “I’ve been in that room!”

How is it possible? I thought. I’ve been denied an invitation back to my own high school!

But then I suddenly knew. It was because I was too busy trying to be important to remember who I really am.

“Now, Joe is not perfect,” former First Lady Michelle Obama said in her DNC speech. “And he’d be the first to tell you that. But there is no perfect candidate, no perfect president. And his ability to learn and grow—we find in that the kind of humility and maturity that so many of us yearn for right now. Because Joe Biden has served this nation his entire life without ever losing sight of who he is; but more than that, he has never lost sight of who we are, all of us.

Here she was, Dr. Jill Biden, this beautiful stateswoman, addressing our nation in a hopeless time, during the most important election of our lifetimes—from my high school. From little Delaware.

From a place that maybe wasn’t so little after all.

Maybe I didn’t have to make my voice seem big to be heard. Instead of spending the evening in a crowded arena, I spent it on my couch at home, cheering with my mom over the phone when we saw my old stomping grounds on TV.

And hers were the only ears I needed. The only invitation I could want.

A night with my mom at the national convention. And I know my dad was there, too.

Probably laughing at me.

Laura Carney is a writer and magazine and book copy editor in New York and is writing a book about finishing the bucket list of her late father, who was killed by a distracted driver

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Disney Plus Mulan Fails to Make an Impact

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Disney Plus’s most anticipated movie of the year was Live-Action Mulan, the infamous remake of the 1998 version of the Disney classic Mulan. With a budget of almost $200 million and alot of hard work involved, the film release’s expectations and excitement were at an all-time high. Disney’s marketing team left no stone unturned in promoting the film throughout the world as Mulan was one of the most influential female protagonists in a Disney movie. 

Mulan was known for her power and courage to take a step towards change and create a name for herself instead of becoming a burden for her family. She brought them honor but not through finding a compatible suitor, but through her bravery in fighting amongst the opposite gender when it was considered a taboo. 

But did the real Mulan walk in the footsteps of the animated one? Did it create an impact as strong as the classic version, which people love and adore even after 23 years? Sadly, no. The live-Action Mulan was nothing like the 1998 Mulan because it was not supposed to be that way. 

The old Chinese folklore inspired the Live-Action Mulan. The Balad of Mulan, which was different, more serious, and portrayed a much more feminist approach by eliminating any romantic or cartoonish elements or characters from the remake. 

The elimination of the character of Mushu came as a surprise for all the die-hard Mulan fans who were anticipating the voice-over of Eddie Murphy in a better-animated dragon who is by Mulan’s side, aiding in tough times. We did see a dragon, but it was a silent companion only coming in need. The remake also got rid of all the eventful songs which were hummed as we watched the animated version all the time.

Another setback was the mediocre release of Mulan during the Pandemic, which basically ruined the official March release. Mulan eventually made the screen on September 4 on Disney+ Premier Access, a pay-to-view for $30 across the US. In contrast, countries where Covid-19 was under control, saw a theater release like China. But that hardly made 50% of the total movie budget. Disney hoped to make some dollars in China by accurately depicting the Chinese culture and actors, but that didn’t happen either. 

Viewers with access to Disney+ also did not venture enough on the Premier Access service. What further disappointed the release was Mulan’s availability on multiple torrents and platforms for free in HD quality on its release. VPN users worldwide watched the movie for free without paying a whopping amount of $30 for a single film, while the whole service along with other streaming services cost ⅓ of the price. 

Live-Action Mulan was also under scrutiny for shooting in the Xinjiang, the region of China where Uighur Muslims were detained and imprisoned in concentration camps. This sparked outrage over the entire social media, where Muslims worldwide protested against the Chinese government’s actions. Disney+ did not state an official apology on their platform, nor did they acknowledge their wrongdoings, probably to stay clear of the Chinese government’s atrocity. 

Meanwhile, even within China, Mulan failed to impact the Chinese audience as they have a much better take and approach to recreating any Chinese epic or myths. Their cinema is far more advanced in portraying their culture with local actors and a local production house. As we all know, China has a strict censorship policy on international content, and they have an alternate of their own. It applies here as well. 

Lastly, the ill-natured tweet of the lead actress Liu Yifei, openly supporting the Hong Kong Police’s atrocities when China was implementing new security policies on Hong Kong, claiming it as a part of the Chinese government. The Hong Kong police came under fire for mistreating peaceful protestors and using harsh means to disperse the crowd. This tweet leads to #boycottmulan across the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand. 

Liu Yifei made no outright apology. 

Despite so much anticipation, live-action Mulan came under alot of controversy and failed to make a solid impression on the audience, despite holding a strong message for its feminist audience. Wrong timing and a few wrong decisions cost Disney millions of dollars and somewhat tarnished the reputation of their remake sagas. 

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5 Underrated Shows on Netflix USA You Must Watch Right Now!

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American Netflix is home to hundreds of TV shows across multiple genres. Still, it could be hard at times to find something binge-worthy on it. Now we all have that one friend that’s perfectly content with re-watching their favorite TV series, but the rest of us normies find it a tad boring. We’re on a never-ending hunt for the next big show hoping to inject some excitement into our otherwise mundane existence. However, with so much to choose from, it’s only natural that a few gems go unnoticed when scrolling through the recommendations. 

Don’t sweat it! After spending endless hours of research, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 underrated shows on Netflix USA that are definitely worth your time.

Can’t access US Netflix in your home country? There is an easy way around. Just download a Netflix VPN, connect to a US server, and start streaming. 

  1. 1994

Genre: Documentary

Season(s): 1 season; 5 episodes

Year of release: 2019

1994 is a modest 5-episode docu-series offering the perfect guilt-free, binge-watching experience. The show revolves around a promising presidential candidate in Mexico who stands to threaten the status quo. Seen as a threat by the powerful elite, he gets shot during one of his televised political rallies. If the events of the first episode seem unusual, then what follows is downright bizarre. 

Viewers are in store for surreal events backed by actual interviews and real-life footage that ups the ante with each passing episode. 1994 is a fascinating, informative, and rich account of one of the most turbulent times in Mexico. It not only gives viewers a glimpse of the past but also a story that follows a narrative very close to what we’re seeing in our present political climate.

  1. Rise of Empires: Ottoman

Genre: Drama

Season(s): 1 season; 6 episodes

Year of release: 2020

Following the wildly popular show Ertugrul—at least in the eastern part of the world—Rise of Empires: Ottoman features a historic mix of immaculate production value and dramatic re-enactment of the 1453 fall of Constantinople. A Turkish production, the show is entirely in English and revolves around the life of a young Ottoman Sultan named Mehmet. It shows how the 21-year old leader risks everything to conquer a city his father and so many others failed to take before him.

This point marked a crucial juncture in history: The fall of the Roman Empire and the transition of a local regional entity to that of a global superpower. While the show does have its set of drawbacks (such as the frequent History Channel-type flashbacks), the appeal of our protagonist is sure to have viewers in for a memorable ride. 

  1. Wild Wild Country

Genre: Documentary

Season(s): 1 season; 6 episodes

Year of release: 2018

The mere mention of Wild Wild Country in front of veteran Netflix viewers is sure to garner you some respect points. Based on a true story, Wild Wild Country tells the tale of an Indian cult that’s decided to relocate to Oregon. What ensues is a series of unusual events as the locals struggle to come to terms with the new inhabits and in particular, the eccentric leader of this cult: Bhagwan. This mini-series manages to capture and re-tell a significant—albeit unusual—event in American history and media and retell it in a way that’s sure to leave some viewers scratching their heads!

  1. Lenox Hill

Genre: Documentary

Season(s): 1 season; 9 episodes

Year of release: 2020

For those looking to embark on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, look no further than Lenox Hill. While we do recommend this docu-series especially if you’re a fan of Grey’s Anatomy or ER, Lenox Hill is not your average watch. It’s a far cry from what you’d call a feel-good series as it reveals the brutal reality associated with people diagnosed with really bad things.

Set in New York, the show follows the story of an ER physician, an OB-GYN, and two brain surgeons that are part of a small-time hospital competing with bigger establishments. It lifts the curtain from the otherwise romanticized emergency-ward that we’ve grown accustomed to and accurately depicts the struggles of both patients and doctors.

This highly emotional series might not sit well with everyone but if you want to watch a story about individuals that sacrifice everything to save others then this one’s for you.

  1. Borderline

Genre: Comedy

Season(s): 2 seasons; 12 episodes

Year of release: 2016

The Office is the most viewed show on Netflix according to Chicago Tribune which is a pity because its contract is set to expire on January 1, 2021. Enter Borderline, a British comedy series and ‘mockumentary’ of sorts that follows a similar pattern and humor as The Office. Set in the fictional Northend Airport instead of an office, viewers are quickly introduced to a slew of funny and ridiculous personalities.

The best part of the series is that it has its own version of Pam, Dwight, Jim, and a Michael type-boss. It also doesn’t try too hard to resemble its more popular counterpart and a few episodes are enough to make you wonder why more people aren’t watching it!

Agree with our list? Know of some underrated shows that need more love? Let us know in the comments section below!

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The Advantages of Online Casino Welcome Bonuses

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When it comes to online gambling, the industry is thriving in 2020. Although casinos are banned in many countries, people still find ways to enjoy their favorite games of chance. However, considering the level of competition on the market, it may be difficult for a beginner to find a good online platform and take advantage of all offers. In this article, you will learn the benefits of casinos’ welcome bonuses.

What Is a Sign-Up Bonus?

As we have already established, the industry is growing rapidly and companies are desperately looking for new ways to attract customers. A welcome bonus is often used by online casinos to get new leads and players in the future. However, the best casino bonuses can be easily used to the player’s advantage. Here are the main reasons you should not neglect this offer.

  1. It saves your money

Quite obvious, right? Well, this is the main reason why you should always use welcome bonuses in online gambling: it is always better to not risk your own money. It is especially true for beginners. Since they have no experience, it is fairly common for beginners to lose their initial investment and be done with gambling for good. However, if you use your welcome bonus as a way of getting the basics skills, the chances of success will rise significantly.

  1. It allows you to try several games

Another common issue beginners face is a lack of understanding of which types of games they want to try: slots, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, etc. If you use your sign-up bonus, you will be able to play several games and choose the ones you like better. Moreover, you can take advantage of a welcome bonus on several online gambling platforms. That way you will try out even more options.

  1. It will make future gambling more profitable

Besides beneficial sign-up bonuses, good online casinos usually have great loyalty programs. For instance, the company may double up to five first deposits on the platform. If you invest 100 USD, you will get 200 USD to your account. More money — more games — more chances of winning.

Although a welcome bonus is a great way of upping your gambling game, there are a few things you should pay attention to. Firstly, a good bonus does not equal a good platform. Before choosing a casino, make sure that the company is legal and trustworthy. Since there are many scams right now, it is essential if you want to save your money. Moreover, check the available deposit/withdrawal methods and their terms.

We hope that this article has shown the true power of online casinos’ welcome bonuses and how you can use them to your own advantage. Follow our tips while choosing a platform and enjoy the best gambling experience.

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