The Unbearable Niceness Of Things
Dexter Oscar-Peterson by Wonkette Operative 'Jeffocaster'

Now that Yr Wonkette's staff are on a four-day work week (it's great, DO EET!), this will probably be the last edition of Yr Sunday Nice Things — but DON'T PANIC, as the large friendly letters on the front of the Book say: now it's just going to become Yr Saturday Nice Things. Yr Editrix was very clear that Dok will not be working any more Sundays, at least under normal circumstances. So expect Nice Things on a Saturday, except 1) when Some other project, like a Senate profile or book review takes up my Friday-afternoon writing time; or B) on weekends when Saturday is so full of hell madness that Robyn decides to hold Nice Things for Sunday (which is what we did this weekend! — R)

I think I could get used to this actually-restful three-day weekend thing! That programming note out of the way, let's get to the nice stuff!

Neato of the Comet

"Night sky, just before dawn from @Space_Station. Stars, cities, spaceships, and a comet!"Astronaut Bob Behnken on Twitter

Nobody told me we had a comet, but we do! It was only discovered in March, by NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft, whose mission is to keep a lens out for asteroids, particularly any that might get uncomfortably close to our pale blue dot. The comet is officially named Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE, but its friends just call it NEOWISE, and as far as we know, the NASA satellite doesn't mind having a namesake.

"In the discovery images, it immediately was obvious that something was up," Amy Mainzer, the principal investigator for NEOWISE at the University of Arizona, tells The Verge. "Instead of [appearing] as a point-like dot, it looked distinctly fuzzy. And that's a good sign that this is a comet as opposed to an asteroid."

Photo by Hypatia Alexandria, Creative Commons license 2.0

The dirty snowball has already passed around the sun, and is getting closer to Earth on its way out of our solar system. But only close enough for spectacular photos, not any danger that would require Bruce Willis to go on scientifically-impossible adventures.

On July 3rd, NEOWISE came closer to the Sun than the orbit of Mercury, and that flyby caused much of the icy material to cook, erupting as gas and dust. NEOWISE is a pretty sizable comet, too, measuring about 3 miles (or 5 kilometers) across, which is why we can get this great view of it from Earth. "You take something that's a really big hunk of ice and rock all mixed together, and you park it very close to the Sun, it's gonna set off some fireworks," says Mainzer. "Not enough to destroy it, we don't think, but enough to really make the surface sizzle and throw off a lot of material."

Photo by Jeff Sullivan, Creative Commons license 2.0

For the last week or so, you had to get up very early, an hour or two before sunrise, to see NEOWISE, but starting tonight, it should be visible shortly after sunset in the Northern Hemisphere. You'll probably want binoculars and a location away from city lights to spot it:

It'll be in the northwestern sky, below the Big Dipper constellation (or Ursa Major). Mainzer expects the comet to be visible for at least another week, maybe even longer. But it all depends on how the comet behaves. "Comets are very funny, fickle creatures, and it really depends on what this comet decides to do or what it does in reaction to this close passage by the Sun," says Mainzer. "If we're really lucky, it's going to stay nice and active, and it should stay very bright for us."

Photo by György Soponyai, Creative Commons license 2.0

Also, just lookie at this: Time-lapse images from the international Space Station, converted to video (longer video here):

If you can get the chance to go out and see NEOWISE, you'll be among a very small portion of humanity that's had the chance: the comet takes 7,000 years to complete a single orbit of the sun, and that's longer than all of recorded history so far.

Here's hoping there are humans around to greet it the next time it drops by.

Photo by Giuseppe Donatiello, Public Domain

And finally, feast your eyes on this gorgeous time-lapse from Northern Lights Graffiti (Creative Commons license 2.0)

Reddit Has Purritos!

Cat + towel, rolled up = "Purrito." Truly, Cat Reddit is best Reddit, as you can see in these selections from r/Purrito.

How do you make a Purrito? Easy! Or hard, depending on the filling.

Video By Littlemunchiepooky GIF by awkwardtheturtle |

Purring Purrito

Fell asleep all wrapped up after getting a bath

Red purrito

We adopted a purrito.

(So tiny!)

A purrito moments before assembly.

Also, the Cute/Fun Twitter Stuff!

Thornton the solar cat in his charging station.

Sarah Cooper is a national treasure.

From Michael Collado on Twitter (Spoiler: if you love JD Salinger, this may mess with your head. If you do not love Salinger, I'm with you.) It appears the original post has been removed by the moderators, sadly, though comments remain. Text converted from screenshot in the tweet.

r/books • Posted by u/whoturnedtheclock
I've started to read The Catcher In The Rye (because it's a classic blablabla) and cannot help but read it in Donald Trump's voice

Example (from page 40): ...he was about fifty times as intelligent. He was terrifically intelligent.... But it wasn't just that he was the most intelligent member in the family. He was also the nicest, in lots of ways. He never got mad at anybody. People with red hair are supposed to get mad very easily, but Allie never did, and he had very red hair. I'll tell you what kind of red hair he had. I started playing golf when I was only ten years old...

Is it just me or does this actually sound like something Trump would say? Anyway, since that paragraph I cannot turn off imagining him / his voice when reading. I'm now half way through and it is starting to get annoying.

Edit: He just ordered a hooker to his hotel room (page 99). This is getting interesting.

That may actually be an improvement?

Antifa umbrella repeatedly slaps Donald Trump upside the head:

Important Yoshi and Lulu updates:

Good writing advice. But what is this "first draft" you speak of, not-a-blogger-on-deadline person?

Factcheck true:

My Spotify randomly tossed this delight at me last week: Behold, Sam Gendel's cover of "Pure Imagination," built around Brian Eno's Windows 95 startup sound.

Sam Gendel | Pure Imagination (Lo-Fi)

Capybaras. That is all.

OK, that's all, it is now your open thread!


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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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