War in Palestine. Torture in Iraq. Ebola in West Africa. Seems like the news has been a real downer lately, eh?
That’s why I have beaten the bushes to find you the happiest stories from around the world. Get ready to pop the champagne and celebrate…
1. Free Legos for Beachcombers
Are you the sort of kid who yearns to have the most toys? Then get thee to Cornwall beach, where free Lego pieces are washing up every day. BBC News shared the story last week, about a shipment of nearly five million Lego pieces that washed off a container ship in 1997. Cornish beaches are still finding this joyful wreckage, quite literally in waves. As extra evidence that the crate in question was providentially destined for a decades-long beach scavenger hunt, many of the Legos are nautically themed. Find an octopus or dragon and you’ll be the hero of the local Cornish pub.
2. Continued Late-night Parties at the London Zoo
London’s Friday-night “Zoo Lates” are a good way to combine conservation and summer fun. Who doesn’t want to sip their Bordeaux while chilling with the camels? Well, apparently some don’t. A recent incident involving beer and tigers has put the wheels in motion to stop the popular annual fund raisers. But for now, at least, the zoo isn’t backing down. Between free Legos and continued Zoo Lates, I’m starting to wish I were British.
3. Cheap Mexican Pork
Then again, on the home front, there is this exciting news. I found it while desperately combing the newsfeeds for some indication that bacon prices may drop. Those hopes were mostly dashed, but at least this proposed relaxation of pork restrictions may enable us to get some sort of pig-meat fix at lower cost. I see pork chop breakfasts in my future.
4. Thriving Asiatic Black Bears
In the forests of Vietnam, an ambitious conservation project is underway to protect the natural habitats of these adorable bears. The species was in serious danger of extinction, but seems to be making a come-back. So if other news stories seem too gloomy, try to focus on the fact that the world your kids inherit, however bleak in other respects, will not be devoid of Vietnamese bears.
5. Properly Chastened Thai Monks
Are you plagued by misbehaving Thai monks? If so, you now have recourse. The junta has set up a hotline allowing people to report undisciplined monkish behavior, following reports that monks were drinking and using drugs, as well as angering people with their lavish, opulent lifestyles. Thus fair, the main complaint seems to involve monks re-selling donated food to street vendors (the perfect crime!), but more dastardly allegations may be on the way.
6. Video Game Therapy Proven
Today’s “sure, I always knew that” study comes from the medical journal Pediatrics, which reports that kids are better off with video games. As compared to game-free kids, those who play in moderation (averaging less than one hour per day) are more likely to be well-adjusted, happy, and helpful to their parents. The junkies (those who played more than three hours per day) were moodier and less happy, but even then, the effects weren’t that drastic. Play on, kids.
7. Russia’s International Insignificance
Are you worrying about Russia? Stop. As President Obama recently explained in his interview with The Economist, it doesn’t matter that Russia has played him like a fiddle because, after all, Russia “doesn’t make anything.” I’m not sure that will make the Georgians or Ukrainians or Azeris or Kazakhs or any other satellite states feel better, but at least we Americans can rest easily knowing that, apart from a possible interruption in nesting-doll imports, we have nothing to fear from the East.
Not feeling better yet? Then check out these latest tips in how to be happy, coming to you from an authority no less than Pope Francis. Just kiss those doldrums goodbye.