If you can't watch this sweet and extremely cool video from AARP's rad new studio right now, it's OK — we have some highlights for you below to tide you over until you can.

Ricky was tired of doing skilled labor work. He decided to focus on what he loves to do, which is creating magic with marionettes.


The first week he was out in the park bringing his show to the public, he met Doris. She's a retired columnist, and she later came back and brought him some of her articles she thought he'd like.

DORIS: "So the next time he saw me, he said 'Oh, I have something for you.' I sat down next to him, and he pulled out the little Doris puppet."

Yes, you read that right. He made her a puppet. That looked like her. Just because.

RICKY: "I decided to make a marionette of her, as to wow her, like 'Oh alright, you want to be nice to me, well here we go.'"

He makes his puppets himself, out of things like wood, eyelets, rubber hose, and Glade air freshener covers.

As they unveiled their new act as a duo, Doris got pretty popular.

RICKY: "People would come by and take pictures of her with the puppet, and she just felt like a queen. And her friends are telling me 'Since this puppet, man, you know it's like she's getting younger!'"

And Ricky's career began to take off. In the way that a humble street puppeteer's career can.

RICKY: "And I went from having to play gigs and pour concrete and all that to I'm doing this and people are putting money in my hat and people feel like this. I was just overwhelmed. All these years I had been a laborer trying to be an artist or a steelworker trying to be an artist, but I was an artist trying to be all those other things. So that's who I really am."


This is just too wonderful not to share, and if you can check out the video, it's fascinating to see Ricky explain his process for creating characters with the marionettes.

Cheers to precious friendships and to finding a way to do the things our souls long to do.

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy asked his Senate colleagues the questions millions of Americans have after a mass shooting.

Another school shooting. Another mass murder of innocent children. They were elementary school kids this time. There were 18 children killed—so far—this time.

The fact that I can say "this time" is enraging, but that's the routine nature of mass shootings in the U.S. It happened in Texas this time. At least three adults were killed this time. The shooter was a teenager this time.

The details this time may be different than the last time and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. But there's one thing all mass shootings have in common. No, it's not mental illness. It's not racism or misogyny or religious extremism. It's not bad parenting or violent video games or lack of religion.

Some of those things have been factors in some shootings, but the single common denominator in every mass shooting is guns. That's not a secret. It's not controversial. It's fact. The only thing all mass shootings have in common is guns.

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Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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