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In memory of 'Pippa'; photo by Wonkette Operative 'Mancityfooty'

It's Sunday, so it's time to take a moment to decompress and enjoy some nice things for a moment before we dive back into the day to day madness of this, the darkest timeline. We've got a fine mix of miscellany today, with happy cows, some longreads, and assorted oddments! There will be puppies.


The Cows Are All Right

Just another reminder that not everything on Reddit is toxic. In fact, a lot of it is kind of wonderful, like for instance the awesome Trucker Cats forum, which we profiled early on in Nice Things. Yr Wonkette's Dominic Gwinn brought another fine subreddit to our attention this week: r/happycowgifs/ which is exactly that: gifs and videos of cows that appear to be quite happy indeed. Like this cattle cuddle!

Also this!

Doggo with a cowlick! (Fine, fine, a ... a bulllick?)

Calvin lurves his ball. Completely allowed in the Calvinball rules.

Are there scritches? Yes there are scritches.

Also there are cows and a puppy booping every cow's nose. Caution: serious d'awwing may occur.

And we'll close out with a little springtime vid of cows encountering grass for the first time after months indoors, according to the page description. We are shocked, shocked, to learn there is gamboling in this establishment!

There are many, many, more, and if you find yourself addicted to cute cows, you may need bovine intervention. We should all try to be the Freedom Cow we want to see in the world. And remember the advice of Kurt Vonnegut: God damn it, you've got to be kine.

Here, Have Some Extra Credit Reading!

Here's some stuff I've enjoyed reading lately. Keep in mind, of course, that it's possible to really enjoy reading something that isn't necessarily delightful, but is well written or provocative or just plain takes you somewhere you weren't quite expecting, so some of these may not be "nice" the way a puppy booping a cow's nose is. But I think they're worth reading! (A couple of them are just plain neato, though.)

In March, New York magazine did a series on marriage, asking several couples ("and a throuple") what makes a marriage work, or not. Yr Editrix suggested I open a tab and read one of the features, and so this weekend, I finally did! It's an interview with Robert Christgau and Carola Dibbel, who have been married 46 years, and it's very sweet, which maybe you wouldn't expect considering their relationship has included, as the headline notes, "Infidelity, Infertility, and Cancer." But it also involved a first date at a Bette Midler concert in the early '70s, a shared love of writing and music, and a lot of punk rock. Good stuff!

We have no idea why we ended up with this essay by Sarah Miller in an open tab (someone recommended it on Twitter, though darned if we recall why!) But we sure are glad we read it, because it's a smart, funny meditation on whether things matter. Conclusion: Probably not, but a bit of nihilism doesn't necessarily translate to "Nothing matters, fuck everything, let's get wasted and shoot frogs." And yes, climate change and Trump enter into it in a very big way, but this is a surprisingly non-depressing essay.

We finally got around to reading that Washingtonian essay by an anonymous parent, "What Happened After My 13-Year-Old Son Joined the Alt-Right." The good news: the kid is smart and eventually extracted himself from the toxic online stew of racism and hatred he got involved with, and weirdly enough, the thing that helped him escape was going (with his mom) to the big alt-right slob picnic in DC last summer and actually talking to some of the alt-right protesters, who didn't impress him in person. It's sobering and thoughtful and ultimately even hopeful, and the anonymous mom writes movingly about the intersection of adolescence, social media, and feeling helpless as a parent. It's a terrific, honest look at a family having a terrible time and getting through it.

Another recommendation from Twitter, and darned if I remember what prompted someone to link it, but wow, it's a good read. From The Baffler in November of last year, John Ganz's "The Year the Clock Broke," a look at how Patrick Buchanan's 1992 presidential campaign moved the Republican party to where it is today -- with the rest of us being dragged along. It's not a pretty sight, but it's incredibly good writing and smart analysis of how the paleoconservative movement devoured the Rs after the end of the Cold War.

Also too, let me recommend for at least the third time this week the brilliantly sad short story "A Full Life" in the MIT Technology Review. Written by Paulo Bacigalupi, it's a science-fictiony tale of the very near future, in which Rue, a 15-year-old girl, and her family are hit again and again by the crises we've done nothing about -- primarily climate, but also the cascading failures of infrastructure and the financial system that are likely to collapse if large chunks of the USA become uninhabitable in a changing world. It's depressing, yes, but in the way that I dare to hope will move Americans to prevent the worst from happening. It's terrifyingly plausible, but a reminder the worst is not yet inevitable.

And finally, how about a terrific Wired article about "The Curious History of Crap—From Space Junk to Actual Poop." Among other tidbits, we learn that the moon is littered with "96 bags of urine and vomit" as well as "old boots, towels, backpacks, and wet wipes. With no garbage cans at hand, the astronauts also littered the landing site with magazines, cameras, blankets, and shovels." It's an excerpt from Ziya Tong's just-published book The Reality Bubble, and includes some really fascinating science about poop, garbage, and crap like that. An excellent read, although maybe not right before lunch.

Random Niceness!

Here, have a little video of a Corgi puppy baffled by a ball.

We're just going to copy-paste the set-up for this next video from Cleveland Scene, if you don't mind.

The principal of Lander Elementary in Mayfield Heights last week posted a video showing all the sweet kiddos enjoying "Old Town Road," which caught the attention of Lil Nas, who then asked if they wanted a free show. About a week later, logistics were set, and here's just one clip of the action yesterday. Priceless.

Whole gym full of kids going nuts, and it's wonderful, even the tiny guy in the front row (sort of to the right) just standing kind of puzzled by it all. Maybe he doesn't know the words, or maybe he just doesn't dance, but I love him too.

And how's this for a neat way to celebrate your birthday?

And yes, there are 31 of 'em. Talk about sweet!

Now go have brunch or hug a cow (with consent!) or do whatever it is you do to recharge your batteries. I'm going to read some of my other open tabs and maybe get ingredients to make a green chile stew. Also, too, welcome to Earth to Frances, the new great-niece of noted political pundit Our Girlfriend. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter, etc. Francis arrived just a tiny bit early (two weeks is all), and though she be but little, she is fierce.

[r/happycowgifs / New York / Popula / Washingtonian / Baffler / MIT Technology Review / Wired / Cleveland Scene]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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