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10 things that made us smile this week

uplifting, happy, joy

Need a reason to smile? Here are 10 of them.

Holy moly, it's already almost Christmas, which means it's already almost 2022, which means we're heading into our third year of the COVID-19 pandemic. That's … I don't know, but it's something.

It's easy to get bogged down in the sucky parts of pandemic life, but as we reflect on this year, there's a lot to be grateful for. For instance, it was announced that malaria was officially eliminated in China in June, Europe sold more electric vehicles than diesel for the first time ever in August and we found out that cheese isn't actually bad for us in February (seriously, science says).


As always, we can find reasons to smile—we just need to know where to look. And right now, you can look straight down this page to find 10 delightful things to bring joy to your heart and a smile to your face as you head into the holiday.

Never thought about how many birds are in the 12 days of Christmas song. LOL.

Six geese a-laying, no less. So, in protective mama mode. Not exactly the best gift, to be honest.

Seriously, though, what is with all the birds in that song? Is that all people had to give in the olden days?

Ms. Fitz makes a wicked 3-point shot on the playground and the kids go wild. 

She did promise them hot cocoa if she made the shot, but knowing how much kids love teachers like this, I'm sure their reaction was much more about celebrating her awesome skills. Go, Ms. Fitz, go!

Watching dogs pick out their presents on Santa Paws Day is too much joy to handle. 

Come on now. Is this the best or what?

This baby blissing out on her first bite of pizza is all of us. 

@oh_shoot_girl

Same girl, same. 🍕 #firstbite #fyp #pizzababy

We've all been to pizza heaven, little one. And yep, it's just like that.

This dog races a human on a sled and goes soooo hard. 

@chuckledaily

#fyp #funny #dogs #dogsvideo #dogsofttiktok #funnyvideos

This is a serious race, folks. Look how he speeds up as the sled starts to overtake him! Amazing.

Halftime dancer lives a 20-second nightmare, which then becomes a dream come true.

She got so lost! The vicarious embarrassment was too real! But then it turned into such a sweet moment and all of that anxiety vanished. Phew! Read the full story here.

Soon-to-be-uncle thinks the baby onesie is a gift for the cat, totally missing the hint. 

This would be an adorable reaction even if the onesie were for the cat. The fact that he doesn't catch that there's a baby on the way just adds a layer of hilarity to it.

Baby elephants can't control their trunks and it is hilarioussssss.

It's true. They start gaining some control around 6 to 8 months, but don't gain full control until about year. Learn more and watch other baby elephants trying to figure out that long, dangly thing on their faces here.

Speaking of elephants … watch (and listen to) these gorgeous giants come running when their caretaker calls.

Definitely want the sound on for this one. (This video comes from the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand, where elephants are rescued from abusive elephant tourism and rehabilitated with plenty of space to roam.)

Uber driver left her full-time job to become a caregiver for her 88-year-old passenger.

Jenni Tekletsion first picked up Paul Webb for an Uber ride in March 2020. The two got to talking and she realized how lonely he was. They enjoyed one another's company and began sharing a meal together each day. As Webb's health began to decline, Tekletsion graciously took on the role of caregiver for him. Read the full story here.

Hope that brought some light and happiness to your day! Have a lovely holiday weekend!

Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

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Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson in 2006.

A startling number of professional athletes face financial hardships after they retire. The big reason is that even though they make a lot of money, the average sports career is relatively short: 3.3 years in the NFL; 4.6 years in the NBA; and 5.6 years in MLB. During that time, athletes often dole out money to friends and family members who helped them along the way and can fall victim to living lavish, unsustainable lifestyles.

After the athlete retires they are likely to earn a lot less money, and if they don’t adjust their spending, they’re in for some serious trouble.

In a candid interview with NFL Hall of Famer and TV personality Shannon Sharpe, Chad Ochocinco (legally Chad Johnson) revealed that he saved 80 to 83% of the $48 million he made in the NFL by faking his lavish lifestyle because it made no sense to him.

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Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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Family

American mom living in Germany lists postpartum support and women are gobsmacked

“Every video you make gets me closer to actually moving to Germany.”

U.S. mom living in Germany shares postpartum support she received.

Having a baby is not an easy feat no matter which way they come out. The pregnant person is either laboring for hours and then pushing for what feels like even more hours, or they're getting cut from hip to hip to bring about their bundle of joy. (Unless you're one of those lucky—or rather not-so-lucky—folks who get to labor for hours only to still end up in surgery.)

Giving birth is hard and healing afterward can feel dang near impossible, especially given that most states in the U.S. only offer six weeks of maternity leave and it's typically unpaid. But did you know that not everyone has that experience?

A mom who had her first child in the U.S. before meeting her current husband and relocating to Germany is shedding light on postpartum care in her new country. The stark contrast is beyond shocking to women living in the U.S. and she's got a few considering crossing the ocean for a better quality of life.

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Meghan Elinor chimes in on the Starbucks tipping debate.

Tipping culture is rapidly changing in America, so understandably a lot of people aren’t sure what to do when they buy a coffee and the debit card reader asks for a tip. It used to be that people only tipped bartenders, drivers, servers and hairdressers.

Now people are being asked to tip just about any time they encounter a point-of-sale system. There is a big difference between tipping a server who lugged around hot plates of food for an hour-long meal and someone who simply handed you an ice cream cone.

"We're living in an era of inflation, but on top of that, we've got tipping everywhere—tipflation. I take it a step further and call it a tipping invasion. Because that's really what I think it is," etiquette expert Thomas Farley (aka Mister Manners) told CBS 8.

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Pop Culture

One moment in history shot Tracy Chapman to music stardom. Watch it now.

She captivated millions with nothing but her guitar and an iconic voice.

Imagine being in the crowd and hearing "Fast Car" for the first time

While a catchy hook might make a song go viral, very few songs create such a unifying impact that they achieve timeless resonance. Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” is one of those songs.

So much courage and raw honesty is packed into the lyrics, only to be elevated by Chapman’s signature androgynous and soulful voice. Imagine being in the crowd and seeing her as a relatively unknown talent and hearing that song for the first time. Would you instantly recognize that you were witnessing a pivotal moment in musical history?

For concert goers at Wembley Stadium in the late 80s, this was the scenario.

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