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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy

person holding a smiling balloon in front of their face

We've got 10 smile-worthy finds to lift your spirits.

One of the most classically "Upworthy" stories of the past decade is the story of Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench. In a twist of fate, Wanda texted her grandson about Thanksgiving plans in 2015, or so she thought. The number she texted belonged to a young man named Jamal, who said she wasn't his grandma but could he have a plate anyway? It was a joke, but she invited him to join her family's dinner—and he came.

Jamal and Wanda became fast friends, and they have gotten together for Thanksgiving nearly every year since. They've seen a lot of life changes together—Jamal finding love, Wanda losing her husband, a global pandemic. And Jamal is still getting random texts from random numbers on occasion, which is just a reminder of the story that has delighted millions over the past eight years.

Jamal and Wanda made this week's list along with some other delights, both old and new. May these tidbits of joy lift your spirit and bring a smile—or 10—to your face.


1. Three cheers for the greatest college trick-or-treaters ever

Swipe to see the whole thing. Reason #739 to not put an age limit on trick-or-treating.

2. Woman who worked as a housekeeper for 30 years to help fund her son's pilot education gets the best surprise

There's nothing like a mother's love. Nothing.

3. 4-year-old Emi is out here making eternal optimists out of all of us

"Everything that changes has a sweet to it." Wise words, little one.

4. It's year 8 of the greatest Thanksgiving story ever told and we are here for it

It never gets old. (Scroll through for the whole story.)

5. Baby girl repeatedly pranks her parents by pretending to have her arm stuck in a bottle

The acting chops, though. So adorable. Read the full story here.

6. The way this mama cat introduces her baby to her doggo friend

It looks like she's teaching him how to be gentle with her baby. So sweet.

7. Backpacks of school supplies in lieu of flowers? We don't deserve teachers.

"A teacher to the end" indeed.

8. Ever seen two cellists rock an AC/DC song? It's amazing how well it works.

This isn't new, but it's new to some people and definitely worth revisiting for those of us who have seen it. Read more about 2Cellos here.

9. Hummingbird gets stuck inside, but lets a gentle human help

Here's to helping the gorgeous little birdy find its freedom.

10. Ginormous dog sounds like Chewbacca while getting a bath

First of all, how is that dog real? Secondly, what on Earth is he going on about? Does he like the bath or hate it? Or maybe he's just trying to make conversation with the hairdresser like the rest of us.

Hope this roundup brought a few smiles to your face! If you enjoyed this post and want to see more like it in your inbox, subscribe to our free email newsletter, The Upworthiest, here.

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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