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10 things that made us smile this week

happiness, joy, delight, uplifting

Looking for a reason to smile? Here are 10 of them.

I know, y'all. This week has been rough. We've got the omicron thing coming around the corner, schools telling parents that today is apparently School Shooting Day on TikTok (but don't panic, even though we don't really know how to gauge if there's any real risk) and this on top of normal holiday season stress. It's … well, it's a lot.

All the more reason we need to look for small joys and reasons to smile today. It's easy to get bogged down in cynicism and negativity, but such things don't serve anyone, and if we're going to make it through these unprecedented times (oh, how I miss precedented times!) we need to maintain some hopeful energy.

While these 10 things won't solve the world's problems, they can help you smile, laugh and delight your way through the weekend.

Here goes:


Doggo loses it when it recognizes its human at the airport.

You can just see the instant of recognition, right? And then that tail wag. And that sweet squeaking. Puppy love at its best.

UPS driver goes the extra mile to congratulate a new mom on his route.

Dallen Harrell noticed he was delivering a lot of baby items to a particular house and decided to leave a message on Jessica Kitchel's doorbell camera. He said he was a new dad himself and wished the family luck with their newborn.

“I just hope everything is going good,” he tells the camera. “God bless, Happy Holidays.”

Kitchel was so touched she shared his message on her Instagram, which resulted in a flood of goodwill and all-around awesomeness. Kitchel's friends and family are buying out Harrell's baby registry and a diaper company is supplying both families with diapers for six months—proof that a little human connection and kindness can go a long way. Read the full story here.

Guinea pigs racing down a ramp. Why is this so delightful? 

I honestly don't know why this video made me grin from ear to ear, but it did. It's like perfectly coordinated chaos. Where are they coming from? Where are they going? Are they on their way to a guinea pig party? Who knows, but so fun.

This Lord of the Rings rap battle with the original cast is unexpected and hilarious.

A rap battle about why The Lord of the Rings is the best trilogy of them all on Stephen Colbert? Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Hugo Weaving, Andy Serkis, Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen, Method Man, Killer Mike and Anna Kendrick all together in one video? Yes, please.

The epic saga of workplace cats, Jean and Jorts, and their overly concerned coworker, Pam. 

Jorts the dumb orange cat and Jean the smart torty.

@throwawayorangeccat/reddit/imgur

Once upon a time there were two cats, Jean and Jorts, who lived in a workplace with a bunch of humans. Jean was smart and Jorts was kind of a dolt, and the drama created around this fact resulted in the most hilarious coworker shenanigans ever told on Reddit. Jorts locks Jean in closets and Pam smears margarine on Jorts, and seriously, you just have to read this one in full. Trust me. Find it here.

This dog really, really, really wanted this very specific stick.

Poor snowman vs. perseverant doggy. Not sure who to root for here, but this is hilarious.

The 'Ted Lasso and The Missing Christmas Mustache' short is pure 'Ted Lasso' delight.

Some of us are missing Ted Lasso's wholesome wisdom, and this Christmas claymation short voiced by the original cast is helping fill that void.

Kind man packed up his grill and a truckload of food to feed tornado-leveled Mayfield, Kentucky.

After a tornado destroyed the town of Mayfield, Kentucky last weekend, Jim Finch decided to do what he could do: "feed the people." Humans helping humans. Love to see it. Read the story here.

Throwback to this hilarious hugging a stranger at the gas station Christmas spirit video.

Mary Katherine Backstrom loves humanity and loves Christmas, and her story about sharing that spirit with random people at the Wawa was a delightful viral sensation. Watch and you'll see why. Her laughter is contagious and the story is hilarious.

When one cockatoo is rocking out and the other thinks it's totally extra.

You simply have to watch this video in its entirety. It's like you can hear exactly what each bird is thinking. Totally different personalities. I laughed out loud like five times.

I hope that made you laugh a little or a lot and brought some much-needed delight to your day. Hang in there and share the joy, friends!

Family

Dad takes 7-week paternity leave after his second child is born and is stunned by the results

"These past seven weeks really opened up my eyes on how the household has actually ran, and 110% of that is because of my wife."

@ustheremingtons/TikTok

There's a lot to be gleaned from this.

Participating in paternity leave offers fathers so much more than an opportunity to bond with their new kids. It also allows them to help around the house and take on domestic responsibilities that many new mothers have to face alone…while also tending to a newborn.

All in all, it enables couples to handle the daunting new chapter as a team, making it less stressful on both parties. Or at least equally stressful on both parties. Democracy!

TikTok creator and dad Caleb Remington, from the popular account @ustheremingtons, confesses that for baby number one, he wasn’t able to take a “single day of paternity leave.”

This time around, for baby number two, Remington had the privilege of taking seven weeks off (to be clear—his employer offered four weeks, and he used an additional three weeks of PTO).

The time off changed Remington’s entire outlook on parenting, and his insights are something all parents could probably use.

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Millenial names are now "old" names.

You can’t turn back the hands of time and so it’s impossible to avoid being labeled “old” by younger generations, no matter how hard you try. For many of us, our names are tied to the times when we were born and can start to sound really dated, no matter how fashionable they were at one point.

TikTokker Amber Cimotti found this out the hard way when her daughter noted that she has an “old” person's name.

“My daughter told me the name Ashley or Amanda — or my name is Amber — are like old people names and I never thought about it this way,” Amber explained in a video with over 3 million views.

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Christine Kesteloo has one big problem living on a cruise ship.

A lot of folks would love to trade lives with Christine Kesteloo. Her husband is the Chief Engineer on a cruise ship, so she gets to live on the boat pretty much for free as the “wife on board.” For Christine, life is a lot like living on a permanent vacation.

“I live on a cruise ship for half the year with my husband, and it's often as glamorous as it sounds,” she told Insider. “After all, I don't cook, clean, make my bed, do laundry or pay for food.“

Living an all-inclusive lifestyle seems like paradise, but it has some drawbacks. Having access to all-you-can-eat food all day long can really have an effect on one’s waistline. Kesteloo admits that living on a cruise ship takes a lot of self-discipline because the temptation is always right under her nose.

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Woman shows her misbehaving cat to 'the trenches'

You always hear about a "bad dog," giving the furry goofballs a reputation for getting into mischief, but what about bad cats. Not all cats are angels just lounging around the house until someone gives them food while fanning them with a giant palm leaf. Some cats have a sketchy "catigree" and every once in a while they let that wild streak show. When that happens, what is a cat owner to do?

A cat mom that goes by the user name Lambo Licia on Instagram posted a video showing exactly how she gets her cat in line when he's misbehaving. No, it's not with a spray bottle. She shows him what life is like in "the trenches." You know, the area of town where homeless cats roam and cat burglars have real whiskers and thumbs that don't work, leaving a strange fish smell wherever they lurk.

If Scared Straight: Cat Edition was an actual thing, Mega, the orange tabby would be the first to turn his life around. He looks absolutely petrified from all of the unruly cat behavior he sees out the window and his mom's commentary.

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Science

College students use AI to decode ancient scroll burned in Mount Vesuvius

“Some of these texts could completely rewrite the history of key periods of the ancient world."

When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 C.E., it buried entire cities in volcanic materials. While Pompeii is the most famous site affected by the natural disaster, the nearby villa of Herculaneum was also laid to waste—including over 800 precious scrolls found inside Herculaneum’s library, which were carbonized by the heat, making them impossible to open and recover their contents.

Which brings us to the Vesuvius challenge, started by computer scientist Brent Seales and entrepreneurs Nat Friedman and Daniel Gross in March 2023. The contest would award $1 million in prizes to whoever could use machine learning to successfully read from the scrolls without damaging them.

On February 5, the prize-winning team was announced.
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Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons

Shaquille O'Neal retired from pro basketball in 2011, but he's still one of the most famous players ever.

Fame comes with a lot of challenges, but it also comes with some pretty obvious perks. There's the money that frequently follows fame, of course, but there's also the special treatment people automatically offer you.

Some famous folks might revel in that special treatment and some might even express gratitude for it. But occasionally, you find a celebrity who refuses it altogether.

Take basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal, for instance.

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