Joy

Watch this spooky smart cat figure out how to unjam and open a door all by itself

The logical calculations are impressive to witness.

Photo by kitsanoo on Unsplash

Some cats are scary smart.

As someone who has had cats as pets all my life, I can attest to the range of intelligence our feline friends possess. Some cats have pebbles for brains, while others can wow you with their abilities.

Then there are the spooky smart cats. The ones you can see calculating in real time. The ones who convince you they could plot your demise if you don't bend to their whims and they'd probably leave no evidence.

Ones like the cat in a viral video (shared by @catshouldnt on X) who not only knew how to open a door but who figured out how to remove the door jam inserted at the top of the door first so it could successfully get out.

Even knowing the outcome, it's impressive to watch:

I've watched my cat calculate how to jump from the nightstand to the top cabinet of our closet, and that's always fun. The understanding of geometry and physics cats seem to intuitively possess is wild to witness, and the fact that my cat almost always makes seemingly impossible jumps perfectly never fails to impress me.

But this cat? This cat is on a whole other level. When you think about the thought process here, how any steps it requires in a specific order to open the door, it's pretty incredible that a cat could figure it out.

Commenters weighed in on Reddit with how their own cats handle doors:

"We had a cat like that when I was a kid. He would usually grab the knob and then swing his chonk ass back and forth to open it."

"My cat either rams it open with her head, pulls it open from the bottom, or jumps for the handle. She WILL get in eventually."

"Meanwhile one of my cats is completely defeated by a door that's open a inch."

"Meanwhile i have a cat door taped open because my cat is too dumb to push it."

"I met a cat that tried to claw through the hinge side of a door that was half open, then meow for help."

Seriously, cats' brains range from boxes of rocks to Einstein. It's incredible.

People like to compare cat and dog intelligence to human children and determine an age equivalent, but veterinarian Dr. Cathy Barnette shared on Cats.com that those comparisons aren't really accurate. A 2016 study did show that cats have about twice as many neurons as dogs, which could indicate that cats are smarter than dogs at the very least, but studies are mixed and intelligence in animals is notoriously difficult to measure.

There's no question about the smarts on this cat, though. If I were that owner, I think I'd be sleeping with one eye open.

Community

Facebook group brings people together IRL to make meaningful friendships

True

Making new friends as an adult is challenging. While people crave meaningful IRL connections, it can be hard to know where to find them. But thanks to one Facebook Group, meeting your new best friends is easier than ever.

Founded in 2018, NYC Brunch Squad brings together hundreds of people who come as strangers and leave as friends through its in-person events.

“Witnessing the transformative impact our community has on the lives of our members is truly remarkable. We provide the essential support and connections needed to thrive amid the city's chaos,” shares Liza Rubin, the group’s founder.

Despite its name, the group doesn’t just do brunch. They also have book clubs, seasonal parties, and picnics, among other activities.

NYC Brunch Squad curates up to 10 monthly events tailored to the specific interests of its members. Liza handles all the details, taking into account different budgets and event sizes – all people have to do is show up.

“We have members who met at our events and became friends and went on to embark on international journeys to celebrate birthdays together. We have had members get married with bridesmaids by their sides who were women they first connected with at our events. We’ve had members decide to live together and become roommates,” Liza says.

Members also bond over their passion for giving back to their community. The group has hosted many impact-driven events, including a “Picnic with Purpose” to create self-care packages for homeless shelters and recently participated in the #SquadSpreadsJoy challenge. Each day, the 100 members participating receive random acts of kindness to complete. They can also share their stories on the group page to earn extra points. The member with the most points at the end wins a free seat at the group's Friendsgiving event.

If you want to meet the group in person, NYC Brunch Squad, along with many other locally-based New York groups, is participating in the upcoming Facebook IRL event on December 2. This pop-up experience in New York City’s West Village will provide a space to discover new hobbies, find new friends, and connect with others around the things they love.

Not in the New York area but still want to get involved? As a result of NYC Brunch Squad’s popularity, the group is expanding across the country.

“With a robust community established in NYC, we're now excited to announce our expansion with pop-up events in the works in 15 additional cities. What's more, we're launching a travel club, extending our mission to foster connections beyond the city limits and to help people build life-changing friendships in new and exciting places,” Liza says.

If you’re ready to make new meaningful connections, join NYC Brunch Squad! You might just meet your new best friends.

Democracy

This Map Reveals The True Value Of \$100 In Each State

Image by Tax Foundation.

Map represents the value of 100 dollars.

As the cost of living in large cities continues to rise, more and more people are realizing that the value of a dollar in the United States is a very relative concept. For decades, cost of living indices have sought to address and benchmark the inconsistencies in what money will buy, but they are often so specific as to prevent a holistic picture or the ability to "browse" the data based on geographic location.

The Tax Foundation addressed many of these shortcomings using the most recent (2015) Bureau of Economic Analysis data to provide a familiar map of the United States overlaid with the relative value of what \$100 is "worth" in each state. Granted, going state-by-state still introduces a fair amount of "smoothing" into the process — \$100 will go farther in Los Angeles than in Fresno, for instance — but it does provide insight into where the value lies.

The map may not subvert one's intuitive assumptions, but it nonetheless quantities and presents the cost of living by geography in a brilliantly simple way. For instance, if you're looking for a beach lifestyle but don't want to pay California prices, try Florida, which is about as close to "average" — in terms of purchasing power, anyway — as any state in the Union. If you happen to find yourself in a "Brewster's Millions"-type situation, head to Hawaii, D.C., or New York. You'll burn through your money in no time.

The Relative Value of \$100 in a state.

Image by Tax Foundation.

If you're quite fond of your cash and would prefer to keep it, get to Mississippi, which boasts a 16.1% premium on your cash from the national average.

The Tax Foundation notes that if you're using this map for a practical purpose, bear in mind that incomes also tend to rise in similar fashion, so one could safely assume that wages in these states are roughly inverse to the purchasing power \$100 represents.

Family

Woman bakes cheeky curse word pies for her grandma and it becomes a quirky holiday tradition

2023's pie is an homage to her favorite word to use while stuck in traffic.

Canva

You never know where a holiday tradition will come from.

Tried-and-true holiday traditions certainly have their merit, but there’s something quite special, magical even, about discovering personal rituals that commemorate one’s unique life. In my household, for instance, nothing quite rings in the Christmas spirit like sipping my partner’s delicious coquito and putting up a cardboard gingerbread house for my cats.

The beauty of creating customized holiday traditions is that they can be as festive, sentimental, or as silly as you want them to be. And you never know how one small moment can become the catalyst for a tradition that sparks joy year after year.

For Jess Lydon, that tradition is baking expletive-laden pies for Thanksgiving. (This is your profanity warning—the images below contain swear words.)

“What started as a means to get a rise out of my Grammy has snowballed into a weird family tradition. I bake one pie a year,” Lydon shared to the subreddit r/Baking.

For 2023, Lydon chose the word “D---wad,” an homage to her favorite word to hurl in a fit of road rage, topped onto a decadent rosette-filled apple pie.

A pie with with word “D---wad" placed on top

preview.redd.it

“Asshat,” apparently her second favorite word, was used in 2016.

Lydon also added a litany of pies from former years— “F---wit,” “Penis,”“B----,” “F--- Off”…you get the idea.

Gotta say, watching Lydon’s baking skills progress over the years (thanks in large part to using the correct tools, she notes) to something worthy of a Paul Hollywood handshake on “British Bake-off” makes this even more enjoyable.

Pie with "F–wit' written in dough on top

Folks on Reddit seemed to enjoy it too. If for nothing else, to add their own profanity-themed jokes.

“A culinary and visual delight! This is the best thing I've seen all day,” one person wrote.

Meanwhile, another quipped, “Your growth in pastry work is quite touching, c---,” to which Lydon replied, “Thank you, t---. I’m pretty proud of the progress. And grateful to my family for putting up with The Early Years. The first few pies were rough looking.”

Others had suggestions for next year’s pies, including “prick,” “nimrod,” “bollocks,” and “bastard.” All solid choices.

As Lydon explained to TODAY.com, the tradition came about from trying to get a “giggle” out of her “sweet little Japanese” grandma. After seeing that first pie, which read “F--- Off,” Lydon recalled that her grandmother gave a lighthearted “double edged compliment” by saying, “Oh my, well, I can see that you’ve tried really hard. And you put a lot of effort into it.”

Sadly, Lydon’s grandmother passed away a few years after the first pie, but the cheeky tradition lived on. And in its own quirky way, it brings Lydon’s family together.

As for her Reddit popularity, Lydon told TODAY.com that she’s thrilled others shared her love of vulgar pastry making, and is happy to see that some folks might start their own version of the tradition.

“If we can make a few more people laugh because of rude words looking pretty, then I’m all for it.”

Whether it’s curse-word pies, funny sweaters, DIY decorations, or something else altogether, maybe this is a sign to create your own unique holiday tradition, however big or small.
Family

Grandma got a secret DNA test after noticing her granddaughter didn't look like her siblings

People think she was right to do it, too.

The grandmother was suspicious.

A grandmother always felt her middle granddaughter Lindsay, 15, looked slightly different from the rest of the family because she had blonde, curly hair, while the rest of her siblings’ hair was dark “I thought genetics was being weird and I love her,” she wrote on Reddit’s AITA forum.

But things became serious after Linday’s parents “banned” her from taking things a step further and getting a DNA test. If the family was sure their daughter was theirs, why would they forbid her from seeking clarity in the situation? After the parents laid down the law, the situation started to seem a little suspicious.

“I told my son and [daughter-in-law] that there was something fishy around her birth she needed to know. They denied it and told me to leave it alone,” the grandma wrote.

Lindsay wouldn’t give up her quest. She approached her biology teacher, who admitted that it was “odd” for her to have such different traits. This confusion was too much for Lindsay, so she went to her grandmother for help. “She came to me distressed, asking me to buy a DNA test since she needs to know,” the grandmother wrote.

She had blonde, curly hair. But her siblings all had black hair.

The grandmother purchased a DNA test and it proved their suspicions. “Long story short, she is not her mother's kid,” the grandmother wrote. “My son got someone else pregnant and her bio mom gave her up.”

The interesting thing was that Lindsay was a middle child. So, the dad had a baby with another woman while he was with his wife. This revelation begs the question: How did the family suddenly have a baby out of nowhere without people being suspicious?

“They were on the other side of the country when she was born, and I met Lindsey when she was about 6 months old. Really not hard to hide the whole thing,” the grandmother wrote. “Our family has a history of miscarriages, so it’s common to drop news about a baby late in the pregnancy. They did the same with their oldest and didn't think anything about it.”

The big revelation has caused friction in the family. The family no longer talks to the grandmother, which makes Lindsay even more furious about the situation.

Should the grandmother have taken such drastic steps if she knew what could happen if her suspicions were true? The commenters on Reddit overwhelmingly supported the grandmother’s decision. The big reason was that Lindsay needed to know her family history for medical reasons.

"Your son and his wife suck for lying to her until she is 15 about something so important and trying to keep lying to her even after she obviously started to question things. There are medical reasons a person might need to know what their genetics are/are not, and if you hadn’t helped her, she would have found out some other way," Shake_Speare423 wrote.

Another commenter noted that protecting the parents’ lie wasn’t nearly as important as Lindsay’s mental health.

"People have a right to know their genetic heritage. Lying about adoption is linked to increased suicidal ideation, anxiety, and depression. You put her safety and comfort ahead of your son’s preferences. Parental rights do not have greater value than a child’s right to access comprehensive medical care, and hiding an adoption does precisely that. Maybe some things, like a child staying healthy, should matter more than a parent's right to lie, gaslight and manipulate their child as they see fit," RemembrancerLirael added.

The commenters overwhelmingly supported the grandma for putting herself into an uncomfortable situation to protect her granddaughter’s mental and physical health. However, one commenter noted that she could have gone about it in a less polarizing way.

“Bit out of the norm for the responses here, but you should have gone through your son [and daughter-in-law] and convinced them. Told them that the biology teacher had highlighted that she had traits that didn't make sense, etc. and convinced them that Lindsey would find out either way,” PhilMcGraw wrote. “It would have allowed them to find a way to tell her without it being forced on them angrily. A DNA test is the absolute worst way to be told. I'm sure they would have much rather told her than let her find out by a DNA test if that is what was coming.”

Pop Culture

Pianist uses every part of the instrument in this joyous performance of Toto's 'Africa'

"Not sure I can comprehend what just happened! Unbelievable."

Peter Bence's piano cover of "Africa" by Toto

Peter Bence’s performance of “Africa” by Toto has over 17 million views on YouTube because of his creative reimagining of the song and, well, just about everyone loves “Africa.”

Bence is a Hungarian composer and producer who has become a viral sensation for his Michael Jackson, Queen, Sia, and Beatles covers. He has over 1.1 million followers on YouTube and has toured the globe, playing in more than 40 countries across four continents.

His performance of “Africa'' is unique because it opens with him creating a rhythm track and looping it by strategically tapping the piano and rubbing its strings to create the sound of shakers and congo drums.

The video eventually becomes rapturous, with Benace making the piano sound like an entire orchestra.

AFRICA - Toto x Peter Bence

Released in 1982, “Africa” was Toto’s biggest hit, reaching number one 1 in the U.S., number 3 in the UK, and the top 10 globally. It’s a stirring piece of music that’s beautifully arranged with an anthemic chorus. However, the lyrics aren’t that accurate.

The song’s author, Toto keyboardist Jeff Pocaro, describes it as: “A white boy is trying to write a song on Africa, but since he's never been there, he can only tell what he's seen on TV or remembers in the past.”

Nevertheless, the song is an iconic tune that captures a specific spirit of the early ‘80s when the world turned its focus to Africa. Over 40 years later, the song’s wholesome sincerity has made it a piece of music that every few years captures the hearts of a new generation.

Joy

Family posts a very chill note to neighbors explaining why their dog is on the roof

“We appreciate your concern but please do not knock on our door.."

via Reddit

Meet Huckleberry the dog.

If you were taking a stroll through a quiet neighborhood and happened to catch a glance of this majestic sight, you might bat an eye. You might do a double take. If you were (somewhat understandably) concerned about this surprising roof-dog's welfare, you might even approach the homeowners to tell them, "Uh, I'm not sure if you know...but there's a...dog...on your ROOF."

Well, the family inside is aware that there's often a dog on their roof. It's their pet Golden, Huckleberry, and he just sorta likes it up there.

To put passersby at ease and ebb the parade of concerned parties knocking on their door, Huckleberry's human put up a note explaining the whole weird scenario to those interested:

There’s a dog on the wooof!

via Reddit

"Huckleberry is living up to his name and learned how to jump onto our roof from the backyard. We never leave him in the backyard without someone being at home. He will not jump off unless you entice him with food or a ball!""

We appreciate your concern but please do not knock on our door... we know he's up there! But please feel free to take pictures of him and share with the world! #hucktheroofdog."

Of course, they ended it with a hashtag for photos shared on social media. Also, it seems a little strange that the owners mention that Huck is willing to jump 10 feet off a roof to chase food or a ball, but do nothing to suggest that people refrain from urging their dog to make that (seemingly dangerous) leap. Maybe Huck's got the whole process down to the point it's just not a concern.

This may seem like a pretty odd phenomenon, but not so odd that there isn't a whole corner of Reddit devoted to dogs who just seem to really, really enjoy roofs. It's called r/dogsonroofs, and boy does it ever deliver on that name.

Family

12 hilariously relatable comics about life as a new mom.

Embarrassing stains on your T-shirt, sniffing someone's bum to check if they have pooped, the first time having sex post-giving birth — as a new mom, your life turns upside-down.

All illustrations by Ingebritt ter Veld. Reprinted here with permission.

Some good not so good moments with babies.

Embarrassing stains on your T-shirt, sniffing someone's bum to check if they have pooped, the first time having sex post-giving birth — as a new mom, your life turns upside-down.

Illustrator Ingebritt ter Veld and Corinne de Vries, who works for Hippe-Birth Cards, a webshop for birth announcements, had babies shortly after one another.

In the series "#ThingsOnlyMomsKnow" Ingebritt and Corinne depict the reality of motherhood — with all the painful, funny, and loving moments not always talked about.

1. Pee-regnant.

Expectant moms plan for the bathroom.

All illustrations by Ingebritt ter Veld. Reprinted here with permission.

2. How (not) to sleep.

Learning how to go with the flow.

All illustrations by Ingebritt ter Veld. Reprinted here with permission.

3. Cry baby.

Moms can be emotional... and dads too.

All illustrations by Ingebritt ter Veld. Reprinted here with permission.

4. The new things that scare you...

Falling in love with the necessary conveniences.

All illustrations by Ingebritt ter Veld. Reprinted here with permission.

5. ...and the new things that give you the creeps.

People have the ability to make normal situations feel weird.

All illustrations by Ingebritt ter Veld. Reprinted here with permission.

6. Being a new mom can get a little ... disgusting.

The convenience of a pregnancy tests is also peeing on a stick.

All illustrations by Ingebritt ter Veld. Reprinted here with permission.

7. And every mom has experienced these postpartum horror stories.

Taking advantage of two bodily functions at one time.

All illustrations by Ingebritt ter Veld. Reprinted here with permission.

8. There are many, many memorable firsts.

Walking into a house with babies... yep.

All illustrations by Ingebritt ter Veld. Reprinted here with permission.

Have a spare shirt ready to go.

All illustrations by Ingebritt ter Veld. Reprinted here with permission.

10. Pumping ain't for wimps.

Looking behind the magic of a breast pump.

All illustrations by Ingebritt ter Veld. Reprinted here with permission.

11. You become very comfortable with spit-up. Very comfortable.

No need to duck.

All illustrations by Ingebritt ter Veld. Reprinted here with permission.

12. Your body, mind, and most importantly, heart, will expand in ways you didn't know possible.

There are going to be changes.

All illustrations by Ingebritt ter Veld. Reprinted here with permission.

This story first appeared on Hippe Birth Cards and is reprinted here with permission.